What You Should Avoid


This title like a lot that I use probably seems rather silly to you, but is it? Let us look at the dictionary definition of the word should first.

“Derived from shall, originally expressing debt or moral obligation, now used with the infinitive of a verb, to form a future tense”

Looked at logically, what you should avoid could mean a multitude of things:

  • Do not fall under a bus or train.
  • If there is gunfire duck.
  • Do not jump in the deep end if you cannot swim.

OK I am being frivolous, but I think that you get the point, we are looking in this article at the more important things in life that you should avoid.

Just What Are Your Shoulds?

When you live on “shoulds” you are doing what you think that you should be doing rather than what you want to be doing.

This can cause a number of problems:

  • You fail to give yourself a chance to explore other avenues of life.
  • Instead of flourishing, you are constantly compensating what you should be doing.
  • The interests that you believe in are constantly being ignored.
  • You constantly fail to prioritize correctly.
  • Believe it or not you actually become a victim of your own thoughts.
  • You begin to show resentment to others

Move to living your own life, by replacing the should one.

It is very difficult to change when you have been so used to following others “shoulds”. This involves getting past the negative self-image which has built up as a result of following the “shoulds” of others around you.

So how do you do this?

  • You need to identify what you really do want.
  • When your inner voice starts to criticize you, learn to overcome it and say NO.
  • Do not let others try to bully you into doing something that you do not wish to do.
  • Only accept opportunities that follow your dreams and ambitions.

Change The Meaning Of Should

It is very difficult to change what you have been told possibly all your life that you should do, to replace it with something that you believe or want to so. The goals and values that you have been led to accept or that have been put on you by circumstance or others are difficult to eradicate.

A good idea is to write down all those shoulds which you would like to get rid of, this will not be easy for some people, what can you live without that you have always been told that you should do. Here I am not talking about:

  • Going to University
  • Getting Married
  • Settling Down
  • Getting a good steady job.

Rather, things, and here some are some of my personal ideas, some also silly one’s.:

  • Always wear a collar and tie on a Sunday, (even if you are not going out)
  • Do not go out unless you have polished your shoes.
  • Shave before breakfast.

This list could go and on, but will leave you to decide, we are all different and have had differing upbringings, which could make the lists very different.

Make a Plan

Here I can hear you say what another plan, the man is plan mad. Maybe but when you do make plans they are a sign that you are serious about not only doing something but about carrying those plans out.

What you need to plan now is how you are going to get rid of those “shoulds” and replace them with positive thoughts, and ideas to improve your and your loved one’s future.

This is the good bit we have mentioned it before, but what do you want, forget the should, it is now the “I am going too time”, so if you like another plan or list, this time for your future enjoyment.

Forget the cost for now, just be sensible, but dream if you wish.

This is where you can plan you your new home, new car, luxury holiday, the shackles are off, no more you should do this or you should do that, now do want you want, within reason of course.

Now Is The Time For Integrity

What has integrity got to do with “Shoulds” you may well ask, quite a lot is my reply. Just because you have stood up to the past and decided to bin all those shoulds that you were bought up with, this does not mean that you can now go totally off the rails, starting to rob banks and other such pursuits.

No matter what you do from now, whilst you are free of the “shoulds” you must act with the utmost integrity in both your beliefs and your actions.

To start this new journey you must be clear in your own mind just what you do believe and what you want out of life from now. What items, things, actions or beliefs are non-negotiable, these you will carry out no matter what else comes along or that little voice tells you not too.

The obvious one’s here are those people that are close to you and therefore matter a great deal, they of course remain in your plans and life.

If you are not clear about what goals you want out of life, what your beliefs are it will be very difficult to plan your future with any sense of certainty or integrity.

Whatever your values are, they help to decide what you believe are the rights and wrongs of the world. This can also help you to understand why you are unhappy about certain things.

Once you are totally clear about the values and beliefs that you have, you can then plan for the future with a clear mind and your integrity intact.


Hope that you enjoyed this article regarding the old-fashioned “should” word, if you do have any comments please leave them in the box below, all feedback is valued as is the time that you take to make them.

The next article will be on “Develop your personality”

Be Happy, Healthy and Wealthy

Stuart (aka Edwin)


12 thoughts on “What You Should Avoid”

  1. Stuart/Edwin,

    I love this post.  It’s so great to see your philosophical and wellness based mindset.  This is such a positive article and I love the take on integrity relating it to challenging dysfunctional thinking.

    By trade I am a therapist, and I rely heavily on Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive processing models that heavily explore the “shoulds” we tell ourselves, as well as where they come from.  

    To see this taken into more than a mental health standpoint and related to motivation into being successful in other paradigms is refreshing.  

    It really shows me just how much our mental health plays a role in all facets of our lives.  

    I appreciate the article and hope for more of the wisdom!

    1. Thanks Ken,

      It is so nice to have a professional comment on my content, will see what I can do regarding “more of the wisdom”.


  2. I came on here thinking what this post is all about and I really did have a nice surprise when I saw that it was about life in general which made me think about the decisions that I have made along the way

    You really do promote self-esteem here and I think that the simple points that you have put across will help so many people, including myself

    This article has been the best pep talk that I have ever had and I have subscribed to your website to keep up to date with everything that you have to share

    Thanks so much for this, it really has given me something to think about and gave me the idea of writing a list of things I need to achieve

    1. Matthew thanks you so very much for your very kind comments, getting comments like this makes writing content so worthwhile.


  3. Hello Stuart,

    This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot, and you’ve got a fun way of putting a spin to it. 

    I’ve gone through your train of thoughts, and I feel good that I’ve been able over the years to free myself from a lot of my shoulds. Actually, maybe I’ve done too much of a good job at it that I don’t have any meaningful shoulds and I think I should have some! 

    My problem I guess is that I’m too idealistic, not very sensible, too much of a free spirit.  

    And even without shoulds, I find that I’m confused about what I really want, and no closer to having a plan. So it’s not easy! Any help welcome! 

    1. Hi Phil,

      First of all many thanks for your valued comments, they are so much appreciated.

      This is a difficult question for me to answer, suggest that you write down what is confusing you about what you really want, then try to look into a little deeper, this should help you to clarify a few items that you really do want, then make a plan to get them.  

      Hope this helps.


  4. Edwin,

    A very cleverly written article. I enjoyed the humor that you laced throughout and the unique way that you told the story. Great job, my friend.  Now a bit about the subject matter.  I totally agree that there is a mentality change that needs to take place in order to be successful in this business.

    If I understood your article correctly we can change “This should work?”  into “I will make this work”.  I think I might get the hang of this faily quickly.  For the next week I will determine what my most pressing “Should” is and I will transform it into an “I will”, let’s see how that works.

    I’m exceitd about this, Thanks Glenn

    1. Hi Glenn,

      You are correct my friend we do need to change our mental attitude or approach to being successful, and changing your “should” into an “I will” is the correct way to start.


  5. Hi Edwin, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. It’s great I stumbled upon this article as it is nice to learn something new which will improve our life for the better. It is most important to decide what you want to do with your life. In my case, I should avoid my parents as they want me to become something I won’t and there is where the conflict begins.

    1. First of all Daniel thank you for commenting, it is very much appreciated.  Have you tried talking to your parents and explaining not only what you want but why!  The approach that I would use is something like ” I do appreciate that you would like me to do this, and that you are only thinking of me, but what I really would like to do is.. because!!”

      Hope this helps,


  6. Jeff Marshall

    Hi there, Stuart.

    I loved your post on what we should we do versus what we should do if we want to make our lives better.

    This is one of the biggest hurdles people can face and some “shoulds” are very hard to get rid off.

    I always have a problem with people saying you should go out and get a full-time job.

    But with not many of these type jobs available now, can you suggest a few good directions I should take?

    Thanks, Jeff.

  7. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for commenting, and what a good question. Am assuming that as you are a member at WA that you are making a real effort to make money on line? Suggest that you continue to do this and if possible get a part time job to give you some cash, you will then be able to really apply yourself getting established on line, and yes I know it is very hard work. In a few months if all goes well, in reply to get a full time job, you will be able to say why I get more money working from home.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *