Do you ever get sick of seeing social media posts from people who are trying to tell you how you SHOULD lead your life?
The internet seems to be overloaded with experts advising you what you SHOULD eat, how much you SHOULD exercise, what you SHOULD think, what you SHOULD feel, how you SHOULD behave and so on. The ones who are not doing that are usually posting pictures of their pets, what they made for dinner, telling you about their latest health issues, whingeing about political issues or simply posting selfies.
But wait a minute – ask yourself if you have ever done any of these things? I have to admit that I have. So, why do we feel the need to tell people how they SHOULD live their lives?
One of my ‘SHOULDS’ is a belief that those people who invest the time and energy to figure out their life’s purpose, to follow their dreams, to set goals and achieve them, will lead happier and more fulfilling lives. I espouse that because it’s a driving philosophy in my life. It’s something I value so it has become part of my identity.
I also seek to balance that belief with taking time out to think, making time to appreciate nature and to simply feel grateful for the life I am blessed to live and the opportunities that the Universe has put in my path, for me to either ignore or act upon.
The selfies I post or the pictures of our adventures support that value of making life fun. I also know that my friends are often inspired, or at least interested, in seeing what we’re up to and why, where we’re off to and who we’re with. We share these things with each other to inspire each other.
As a business and life coach, it’s in my nature and has become my mission to want to influence and inspire others to lead the best and happiest lives that they can, to be successful doing that and it is my hope that ultimately people will be kinder towards each other and look for, and add to, the goodness in the world.
Despite that belief, however, I try not to ‘SHOULD’ people because all of us have a choice about how and why we want live our lives. If someone wants to sit on a couch and watch TV day in, day out, that’s their choice. After all, I enjoy good movies, documentaries that educate me and series that entertain me. I like programs that evoke emotions, that make me feel alive and most of all that make me think, but I’m selective about what I watch.
This week I had meetings with wonderful people who inspired me. Funnily enough that happens to me a lot because these are the kinds of people I’m drawn to – the Law of Attraction takes care of that for me. I met people who run a not-for-profit organisation that supports people with drug and alcohol problems, family breakdowns and domestic violence issues. I met someone who gives up many valuable hours of his precious time serving on boards of charitable organisations. I met a mobile banker whose bank reinvests 80% of its profits back into the community. I listened to a webinar with a young lady who is inspiring thousands by sharing her vision for the world and who encourages them to do the same. I had breakfasts with owners of small businesses who are working relentlessly to provide products and services that solve people’s problems. All of these amazing people could have complained about what people ‘SHOULD’ be doing to help, but instead they just focused on doing what they could do.
Throughout this week, which has been a fairly typical one, I’ve seen people who are ‘overweight’ and people who are ‘under-weight’. I’ve seen people whom social trends would depict as beautiful and people who would be regarded as ugly. I’ve heard people speak eloquently and I’ve heard people with limited vocabulary. Most of the people would fall somewhere in the middle of all of those polarities.
Some people try to convince you that their cause is the one you SHOULD be focused on. If they are trying to lose weight with the latest revolutionary new multi-level marketing product, you SHOULD be too. If they are attending a seminar about how they can make millions through the latest ‘get rich quick’ scheme, you SHOULD be too, and so it goes on.
The big question that all of these ‘You SHOULD’ campaigners seem to miss asking though is ‘Why’.
Why would you want to live your life that way? Why would that choice be important to you? Why would buying this product or service make a difference to your life or the lives of your family or friends? Why would helping people less fortunate than ourselves be worth doing?
The next time you find yourself guilty of advising people what they ‘SHOULD’ be doing, perhaps you might consider asking yourself, ‘SHOULD I be SHOULDING?’ or even ‘Why am I SHOULDING other people?’ Who is it that you are really trying to convince and why?