4 Sep 2016

Believe me, it sounded worse than it looks when written. "Excuse me?" I said to the lovely lady who said the offending word, unsure that I was hearing correctly.

"Mustobeytion!" she re-asserted with a grin, and continued, "This is many people's problem!"

The lady who shared what I first thought was an uncomfortable, borderline 'offensive' word, was perhaps the most politically correct and respectful person I'd ever met at the Industrial Society. This word, spoken by her, had added shocking impact because of her impeccable manners and deeply ethical stance on life. She had my attention.

"Tell me more," I invited...

She went on to explain that may people are driven by alien imperatives:

"Must" and "Ought" and "Should"

This inner tyranny drove them to obey other people's values as if they must - hence "Mustobeytion".

My friend emotively highlighted the power of feeling compelled to live by someone else's values. Some believe the pathway to creating an inspired and fulfilling life begins with examining these values.

Now let's agree that these imperatives may actually turn out to be perfectly appropriate and aligned with our own core values. As was reputedly said by Socrates at his trial, accused of impiety and corrupting youth, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

The key is to test everything - to examine all those 'ought' and 'should' and 'must' statements we make to see if they really are a belief or value we truly subscribe to.

Perhaps some examples will help?

"I ought not to swear!"

"I should mind my manners!"

"I must obey the Government!"

Ought and should and must statements are usually logically valuable - hence they usually go unchallenged. However, if you fail to follow the oughts and shoulds and musts that you mentally assent to, it may mean that you've adopted a value that your heart hasn't agreed with. The result is often a bad feeling, self-criticism, even self-condemnation. Time to break free.

Ask yourself, "Is this a value that I really subscribe to from my heart?"

You won't be surprised to hear that "need" is another word in this family of tyrants. "I need to be a better parent." The challenge is simple:

"What would happen if you weren't a good parent?"

or "What would happen if you didn't obey the Government?"

The answer to these kinds of questions will help you decide whether the value you are seeking to follow is one native to your heart or an alien imperative that should be expelled. The result is an "examined life" that will be far more worth living. I find it fascinating that Tony Robbins and, even more so, Richard Bandler (co-developer of NLP) certainly have challenged the alien imperatives not to swear and to mind their manners! As for me and my house, we're happy to mind our manners and watch what we say... from the heart!

Shall we let my friend from, what was The Industrial Society, have the final word? Her parting shot was to declare how she challenged others who tried to force their values on her. She would say, overly loudly, "Did you just 'Should' on me?"

This kind of strong intervention requires a firm relationship, a sense of assertiveness, clarity around one's own values, a twinkle in your eye, and a great deal of rapport! Happy hunting!


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