Have Tos, Shoulds, and Musts


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“Dear Mike, I heard you speak recently, you talked about getting rid of have to, shoulds, and musts, can you speak to that on the Mondays with Mike?”

Well, guess what? This is the Mondays with Mike, so I’m going to speak to it. Crazy, isn’t it?

I’ve heard you speak recently. You talked about getting rid of have to, shoulds, and musts. Can you speak to that on Mondays with Mike? Yes. Shoulds, have tos, and musts are psychological or behavioral imperatives. “You really should go to the gym, you really should call your mom, you really should eat healthier, you really shouldn’t eat fried food.” “I must get up and go to work, I have to go visit my friends.”

All of these things are psychological or emotional imperatives that cause resistance. This resistance causes you to either become resentful, causes you to have lack of motivation, or decreased energy. “I have to go to work.” What you are asking and what I want our viewers to understand is there is a shift in the language that we use.

If you shift the language, it actually creates better energy for you. It actually lifts you more. We’re going to change have to, shoulds, and musts to get tos, choose tos, and prefer tos. “I get to go to work, I choose to go to work, I prefer to go to work, I get to call my mom, I choose to call my mom, I prefer to call my mom.” If you don’t, “I prefer not to call my mom, I choose not to call my mom, and I get to not call my mom.” Here’s why this is important. It returns a power center to you. You see, shoulds generally create guilt and there’re generally built around some kind of expectation, either moral expectation, behavioral expectations, something like that. I want you to shift to get tos, choose tos, prefers tos, allow tos, working towards, those kinds of things because they return the center to you.

Listen to this very carefully. Language matters. Language matters and it matters so much that the language that you use affects the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you act. No more shoulds, no more have tos, no more must. Hope that was helpful, everybody. As you know this is Mondays with Mike so I address it. I hope you got to see this, whoever sent this in.

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