What the voice of should often seems like – but hear him out, he could be making a good point
Nobody likes to be told what they should do. In fact, the word is often condemned as unfair to use at best, or downright harmful at worst. “Should” stifles more natural or personally beneficial inspiration, replacing it with the judgment of the “shoud”er. Kinda harsh, right? Who says who gets to judge people? Who says who gets to judge you?
“Should” in this sense can be a dangerous word to try and grapple with. While we could take this off in a debate on moral relativism, I’d rather focus more on the duality of “shoulds” that I’ve been thinking about in recent weeks. One “should” is indeed harmful, but the other I’ve actually found very helpful to keep in mind.
Passion and Work have long been thorny issues for me. As in, passion for your work – where to get it, and how necessary it is. Even while fully employed this was a big question for me, and certainly it’s all the more so now that I’m unemployed and spending vast sums of time looking for new work. Work and passion are two things I rarely feel like I have at the same time.
I suppose that’s to be expected – when I’m passionate about my work, it shouldn’t feel like work. But how on earth do you search for passion in a job search engine? There’s no checkbox for that. You have to guess. You have to leap.
Today, before setting out on a walk to collect some thoughts, I read the latest article on MMM. It’s a retrospective from a person named Ethan who’d been in a rough financial position, got himself together and worked hard, and was rewarded with lots of promotions and money. Taking nothing away from his accomplishment, I found myself wishing he’d written a long post right in the middle of things, right when he got his first good job and “forced himself to believe” he was going to succeed if he worked hard. Sometimes stories like that seem to take on a classic rags-to-riches theme, with the lead character changing his or her life by sheer will power and determination. I love reading them, but there’s an emotional struggle that is left out of the narrative. In my experience anyway, sheer will power, while vital, often won’t get me through an emotional block by itself.