Words to live by.

October 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

For many years I have been teaching, talking, training and writing about language, words and how the choices you make with them can affect your life. I have developed a model for the cycle we go through when we reach out to each other with words, and I’ll explain it here in detail over the next while.

For now it is enough to know that there are words you can live quite happily without. In fact, there are words you will live much happier without. Words like “should” and “but” are the first to be gleefully excised from a visionary vocabulary.

First, let’s deal with should.

I saw a sign years ago that read:

I will not should myself today.

My first response? “I love that! I should remember that.” And therein lies lesson number one. Should can be a difficult habit to break. But, it can be done.

In order to alleviate the guilt that goes along with the shoulds, I decided to define the word in a more real-world way. I decided that Should means “I will not do it, (because I really don’t want to) and I will feel bad or guilty about it.” Now with all the other worthwhile things to do with my time, why would I ever choose to feel bad about something I obviously didn’t really want to do in the first place? After all, if I really wanted to do it, I would have found some way.

It’s like saying you’ll try to do something, instead of saying you’ll do it.

In the wise words of Master Yoda of Star Wars fame, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

And so I adapted that wisdom to include “Choose to do, or choose to do not. There is no should.” When there is an invitation, event or task I simply make my choice to do, or not. Then I accept my choice and move on.

No guilt, no bad feelings.

I’ll be honest, it took me a while to get used to the change. And while I did, I found it more and more liberating. I was free of the self-induced guilt shackles and you can be too!

So repeat after me:

I Will Not Should Myself Today!

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