A should is simply an expectation imposed (emphasis on imposed) by us on another person or circumstance. The worst kind of shoulds are those imposed on ourselves. The reason they are so bad for you and your family and work is that they are usually irrational or worse. Now before you go getting all uptight because I am supporting an amoral lifestyle, hear
me out.

If you live your life with shoulds, you will usually find yourself more frustrated and less productive. That person should perform better, that person should drive better, that person should be nicer, I should have done this, I shouldn’t have done that, and on and on it goes! These shoulds cause us to create unrealistic or irrational expectations of ourselves and those around us. Who says they should perform better? What rule is written that that guy should drive better? This month it is a simple shift in the words we use. The brain can only use what it is fed. We feed ourselves words. So I want you to change the words you use so that the results you get are better. The simplest changes in our behavior often lead to the most significant results.

Simply challenge every should you come across. The easiest way to do that is to replace your shoulds with other more rational and appropriate words, such as “It would be better if that person performed at a higher level,” “I prefer for that person to drive better,” or “It would be easier if that person were nicer.” Gas prices are up and the country is at war; there is no reason to allow yourself to be involved in any more bad news. SHOULDS ALWAYS LEAD TO AN UNNECESSARY EXPENDITURE OF ENERGY!

Steps to eliminate the shoulds:
1. Pay attention to where and when you most often use shoulds.
2. Challenge yourself to eliminate them by stopping yourself and changing the pattern.
3. Replace your shoulds with I prefer, It would be better if, or I would like it if — anything but a should or a must.