May 29

The Problem with the Word “Should”


Saying “should” can have a negative impact in your life.

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”
― Mark Twain

It’s unbelievable how far social media has come to.  It used to be just a tool for “socializing” but it has become than a mere tool for catching up with friends and classmates you’ve lost touch with.

Social media is now being used for advertising.  You can increase the sales of your products if you know how to use social media to promote them.  Not only that, social media has even become a reference for employers to do a background check on applicants.  That’s how powerful it has become which is why it has also become dangerous too if not used responsibly.

Social media has become part of my daily routine.  My day won’t be complete without getting a glimpse of my Facebook news feed.  I want to be updated with how my family, friends, and relatives are doing.

Who’s dating who?

Who’s working at Accenture?

Who’s now living in the United States?

It has become a running joke here in the Philippines that people used to pray before every meal.  Now, they take a picture of their food and post it on Facebook before eating.

Social media has really changed our lives in so many ways.

One of the things I find difficult to resist when browsing through my news feed is to regret past decisions.  Everytime I see a former classmate or an old friend doing better in life, I can’t help but feel somehow disappointed with how I lived my life.

I can’t help telling myself that “I should have been this…” or “I should have been that…” and even now that I am deeply into personal development, there are times that I still tell myself these things.

The word “should”, as simple and as trivial as it may be, it can have a big impact in our lives and if you don’t stop saying it, or reducing the frequency of saying it, you may find yourself stuck because of bitterness and regret.

Learn to accept who you are and where you are

When it comes to the word “should”, it all boils down to one thing – SELF-ACCEPTANCE.

Saying you should be this or you should be doing that or you should be there all breeds regret.  You are the sum of all your actions up to this point and you’re not happy with where you are and who you are, it will be difficult to move forward.

I believe in second chances and I definitely believe that it’s never too late for everything so whatever it was you were not able to do in the past, you will still be able to get.  But before that can ever happen, you need to be able to accept who you are first and be proud!

You may not be where you want to be now but it’s worth noting that you haven’t reached the end of your journey.  NOT JUST YET!

Thinking you should be doing more or should be someone more will only make you think that you’re not good enough when in reality, you are more than enough.


Learn to accept reality

Saying the word should is like wishing for something not in the present.  You have to learn how to face reality and reality is where you now, at this very moment.

I’ve learned to face reality ever since.  Gone are the days when I used to tell myself I should be like them or I should be where they are every time I see some of my batchmates in my news feed posting pictures of their fancy cars or their expensive vacations.

How did I do it?

I had a change in mindset.  I believe that I am where I am now because I need to be here before I can get to where I want to be.  That this is part of the journey and not a result of past actions.  Cliché as it may sound but this is where the proverbial “everything happens for a reason” comes in.


Accept people for who they are and what they are capable of

Don’t you just hate it when people tell you what you “should” do?

This happens more with people in leadership roles and being a leader myself, I am especially careful of using the word should in a similar way because doing so is like disrespecting that person’s abilities and capacity to make decisions of their own.

We’re all different from one another.  We each have our own strengths and weaknesses and just like we do for our own selves, we should also accept other people for theirs.


Replace SHOULD with COULD

Instead of living in the past and saying should, give it a more positive touch and replace “should” with “could”.

I could be rich

I could be successful

I could be living in Paris soon

It’s a lot more hopeful and motivating isn’t it?  It’s more goal-oriented and not regretful and bitter as saying should.  Just take note though that this will remain a wish without taking action so if you say you could do something, you got to have a plan to make that possibility a reality.


Over to You

Are you struggling to stop saying the word should?  What are you doing to stop this nasty habit?

I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or share your stories below.


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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions


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  1. Sandy Smith

    I have been told recently that I should play this way or that when playing Scrabble. I immediately hated that persons use of the word. I play my game, thank you and can do without such remarks. Needless to say I don’t play with those people anymore.

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      I can definitely identify but I mine has to do with leadership. You should lead like this, you should manage your team like that, etc. It’s annoying when people think they know what’s best for you then try to impose it.

      Thanks for the comment Sandy!

  2. jackfrost0001@gmail.com

    what’s more motivating is to set it in the present time.. we can bee like ‘ i can be rich’ or ‘i can live i can live in paris’ .. ‘i CAN be successful’

  3. PJ Zafra

    Hey Noel, Great blog post here. One of my mentors Jim Rohn taught about this topic. He mentioned what words associate with the word should and how it affects our outcomes. The formula for disaster”Could, Should, Won’t/Don’t”. Instead, we should replace those words from our vocabulary with “Would, Will, Do.”. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      Thanks PJ!

      I love Jim Rohn and I can listen to him over and over and never get tired of it. It is absolutely true that the words we use affects us in a big way that’s why we should be careful with the things that comes out of our mouths.

      Appreciate your comment PJ!