Braden Talbot

"Is This One Word Keeping You a Slave?" by Braden Talbot

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piratepainting_02b
“Pirate” by Sean Covernton


It’s one of the most insidious words in our vocabulary.
It’s stifling, stagnating, and a complete lie.
What’s the word?
“SHOULD”
I complain that I should do something for myself (or others):
  • I should Get that project done.
  • I should write more.
  • I should be more present (heh).
  • I should eat better (I am guilty of saying this one almost every day and my wife is sick of it).
Even worse, we think society should do something about it:
  • They should fire him.
  • They should fix that.
  • There ought to be a law (one of my favorite clever forms of should).
  • Damned Democrats! (Or Republicans, if you prefer.)
Nothing screams “poor, helpless, little me” like a should.
A lot of parents tell their kids, and with good intentions, they
should eliminate can’t from their vocabulary.
What if we taught them and ourselves to bring awareness to all our shoulds?
We might sense an awareness of choosing helplessness. We might notice our selective inability to do nothing about it.
Of course when someone catches us in a futile should, it’s quite embarrassing:
“Someone should clean that up.” “Then grab a broom and do it.”
Should is the language of the hopeless and helpless. Eliminate the should and you leave yourself with a mind that might look for a way to solve a problem, or at least see it in a different light.
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