Shoulding on Yourself

Shoulding on Yourself

Social Studies | Posted by - June 20, 2014 at 1:00 am

Are you shoulding on yourself?

No, I didn’t misspell anything and, yes, this is a sincere question.

You see, if you use the word ”should” as much as most people do, you really are shoulding on yourself.

“Should” is one of the most negative and detrimental words in the English language because it expresses duty or obligation. But who created the requirement? “Should” is a word of societal norms and doesn’t reflect personal power or choice. And it is certainly not a word used by those who create positive results in their lives, particularly entrepreneurs who feel in control of their destinies.

If entrepreneurs listen to all the shoulds put in their path, nothing innovative, disruptive or game-changing can ever happen in business!

If entrepreneurs listen to all the shoulds put in their path, nothing innovative, disruptive or game-changing can ever happen in business!

Here are ways that make the word “should” detrimental to our success:

I should do this better.

You should do what I say.

They should behave properly.

We shouldn’t have voted him in.

They shouldn’t expect any more than this.

I have yet to find an instance where “should” creates positive action. Yes, people might respond to shoulds, but that response is fear-based and unsustainable.

How often do you should on yourself each day? How do you normally respond to your own shoulds?

A while ago, I had a client who was financially successful but often overwhelmed. Over the course of about four days, he created a list of over 130 shoulds he had built up in his life, from “I should call my mother more often,” to “I should be able to handle this situation better.” So while he managed to get through his day creating some results, many were mediocre and most were painful.

After 3 months of getting rid of almost all the shoulds – by either doing them or dumping them – he was more decisive, directed and confident. Not unsurprisingly, the success of his business went up while his daily frustration went down.

So make a list of all the shoulds in your life and commit to removing at least one of them, permanently.

Do this not because you should but because you choose to.

Tags: choice, motivation, obligation, should, shoulding, profiles

Nancy Morris
Nancy Morris is an internationally recognized specialist in business psychology with a unique perspective on what creates success in life and business. She can be contacted through
Jim Townsend
June 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm
Great article Nancy.

Nancy knows how the choice of a person’s words can positively or negatively affect the listener. In the same way she also knows they listen to themselves. The choice of words really can impact how someone feels about themselves. I agree the word “should” has negative results and words like “choose” are more empowering and positive.

I have been to Nancy’s WEBB site where I have found a lot of good information, not only for work but for everyday life. I highly recommend everyone should check it out.

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