Stop Doing Things Because You Should

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Growing up the phrase 'I can't' got a lot of hate. I think "There is no such thing as can't" was the never-ending refrain of my primary school teachers. I'm not saying they were wrong, especially when faced with a pouty seven-year old who just doesn't want to figure out her fractions and lumps it into the category of Can't. By the time I reached the end of my secondary school education, their words had evolved to more philosophical phrases such as "Where there is a will, there's a way" or "the only obstacle to success is the one in your mind" but the gist of it was the same: stop saying you can't and just do your bloody work. 

I wish the concept of "should" would have gotten the same hate.

I've already taken issues with the concept of "try" in a previous Thoughts on Sunday where I agreed with Master Yoda (despite never having seen Star Wars): do or do not, there is no try.  Similarly, you want to or you don't - there is no should. Should is some weird in-between concept that is often ladened with guilt, loaded with expectations and doesn't actually do anyone any good. 

If you should be doing it, why aren't you doing it?

More often than not, when you start thinking that you "should" be doing something, it's because someone other than yourself thinks it's a good idea, but deep down you don't actually really agree and you don't want to do it. Sitting for hours contemplating that thing you should be doing, or doing the things you feel you should be doing whilst remaining unsatisfied (and usually unhappy) seems like an odd way to live. Yet we all do it.

Yes, there are things that we technically "should" be doing like paying the bills, keeping our surroundings clean, gaining some sort of education or life experience to prepare us for life within our respective societies and being decent human beings, but my argument is that all these things? Wanting to do them feels so much better.


Do it because you want to do it.

Over the past year, I've been delving deeper into personal development, and one of the common consensus amongst the authors I've come across is that life is better when you are proactive. Carpe diem isn't all about living a typically adventurous life, backpacking across Europe and jumping from buildings or what have you - it's also about making a conscious decision about the little things you do throughout the day.

You wake up early because there are tasks that you want to get done during the day. You exercise regularly because you want to feel healthier from within, and you change your eating habits to help with that. You study because you want to learn more about a subject or because you want to work in a field that requires that knowledge. You pay the bills because you want to live in a house that has electricity and running water. You vote because you want a say in which politicians make seemingly terrible decisions. You are a decent human being because you want the world to be filled with decent human beings so you're going to start by being the change in the world.

And all of that feels much better because you're doing it because you want to, not because you should. Wanting to do all those things gives you control over your life, gives you power over how you experience your life. You're doing things because you want to do them, and you know why you want to do them. You're not doing them because someone or some standard somewhere has decided you should.

Should is just one massive guilt-trip. Let's stop saying it.


Should implies so many things, and none of them, to me, seem positive. Should implies that there is something out there that other people who are clearly better than you are doing but you aren't doing it. Should implies that you aren't living up to some standard. Should implies that what you do or don't want to do is not as valid as whatever what you "should" be doing. Should places the responsibility elsewhere and allows you to never stop and seriously contemplate why you do things because hey - you're doing what you should be doing so you must be doing it right...right? Should is not pro-active. Should is not the key to carpe diem-ing the crap out of your life.

I think it'd be beneficial to erase "should" from our daily vocabulary just as much as "I can't" and "I'll try". Do things because you want to do them and acknowledge when you simply don't want to do something. Interrogate yourself on the why behind your actions. Don't do things simply because you feel you "should". Do things because you want to.

What do you think of the concept of should?

28 comments:

  1. Aww, I absolutely love this post! It's great that you're being so honest and opinionated! Not a lot of bloggers want to be. Don't try or should, just do. <3

    xx Bash | Bash Says Hey | bloglovin'

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    1. Thank you! I'm really glad you liked it. And that should definitely be a slogan on a t-shirt :) x

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  2. Thought provoking, I like it!
    It definitely gives you something to think about:)

    KLAUDIA CLARA

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    1. Thank you! That's my aim with my Thoughts on Sundays, so I'm glad that I'm reaching my goal :) x

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  3. Your posts are always so different and definitely out of the box. I love how you brave to say what you think :D

    Pam Scalfi♥

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    1. Oh, thank you! I was actually quite scared to post this, and thought twice about hitting publish, but I'm really glad it's out there :) x

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  4. Haha, gave me a kick in the butt. I should -- no I want to change my ways. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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    1. Haha, glad I could be of service ;) You go be proactive, Carmen! x

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  5. Let me first just say you're an absolutely amazing writer! :-) You have such a way with words, and I feel like this topic is especially relatable to many of us (whether or not we like to admit it or not)

    It's interesting because I've never really thought about "should" in a negative connotation. But now that I look at it, "should" usually stems from other people's expectations, not ours. I personally can relate because I often find myself saying, "I should be doing ______", purely because I'm comparing myself to what others are doing. You make an excellent point on getting rid of "should"; we should do whatever we want to do purely because it is what WE want, not others.

    This is such an enlightening post! :-)

    RUNAWAY IN LA

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    1. Thank you so much - it means so much to me to hear that you enjoy my writing style and liked the topic as well!

      Writing this post I realised that getting rid of the word "should" would make saying some sentences difficult (I almost titled the post "Why We Should Stop Saying Should" haha) but it's really the negative connotation I wish didn't exist, the sense of relying on it so we don't really make decisions, or feeling like we aren't living up to something. I'm really happy you found it enlightening! x

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  6. This is a really interesting article.
    I've thought about the idea of should recently especially the guilt part. I really hate that sometimes we do things we really don't want to do (and I'm not talking about bills) that aren't necessary but where we feel pressure to do them because of one reason or another…
    Thanks for your article =)

    Feathers and Brushes | Swiss | Beauty & Lifestyle

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I'm glad you found it inspiring :) x

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  7. Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing this :)

    VioletDaffodils
    xx

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you think so :) x

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  9. Such an inspiring post, thanks for posting this!

    Yousra | Mystic Tales

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you liked it :) x

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  10. Hiya babe, what an amazing and inspiring post hun i totally agree with you

    thanks for sharing this with us.

    Visit me whenever u can;
    www.its-dominica.blogspot.co.uk

    Have a lovely week!
    Stay in touch.
    Kisses!

    Dominica S.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it :) Thank you for stopping by x

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  11. Brilliant post. I find myself surrounded by 'shoulds' at the moment. I'm naturally pretty proactive and always quite busy but lately I've had a sort of string of bad things. And the result is that instead of giving myself time, I beat myself up about the stuff I should be doing.


    Hannah xx
    Raspberry Kitsch | UK Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Thank you :) I hope things pick up soon for you and you're able to give yourself time to go back to your naturally proactive self. I wish I was naturally proactive, but I've been learning to slowly get there! x

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  12. You are the cutest. Your blog is the cutest. And I am just obsessed!!!! hahhaah

    www.moosielove.com

    Jill xo

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