192. A four letter word we must use.

What did you do today?

Did you do what you must do?

Did you do what you should do?

Imagine if you had begun the day with an action filled list with everything to be done. The list contained two columns, one titled Must the other Should.

Now, as you review your list at the end of the day, what did you actually do?

As did you complete all every item listed on your Must list?

Did you complete a few of them?

Did you complete every item listed on your Should list?

Did you complete a few of them?

Let me help you with your answer. Every item you completed belongs on your Must list. As you glance at your list there may well be items checked off from both halves while each half may also contain action items left undone.

Everything you did was a must because were that not the case you would not have done it. And herein lies the great challenge of why personal change and personal growth are not easy.

We all know people whose conversations are sprinkled with:

I really should quit smoking.

I should cut back on my drinking.

I should do something about all this weight I have gained.

I should go back to school and complete my education.

I should spend more time with my family.

I should visit my parents more often.

I should sign up for those dance lessons.

I should go to the gym.

These folks are full of should.

And they will remain that way until they learn the power of Must.

Must is the propellant that moves necessary to essential and boosts important to urgent.

And Must is what we all do.

Look back at your list and ask yourself why you did some of those items listed on your Should list and didn’t do others from the Must list.

And the answer is because those Shoulds became Musts and the Musts became Shoulds

For years now we have been discussing how we only ever do one thing – we do what is most important in the moment. And that, loosely translated, means everything we do, we do because in that moment it is on our Must list.

And that’s why a life without The Habit of Must is, sadly, a life spent “shoulding on oneself.”

And long term shoulding becomes long-term regret.

The Habit of Must reminds us to choose what’s important and then do it with urgency.

A Must list is a list with all choices removed. Nothing that makes the cut and lands on the Must list is optional as opposed to the Should list where everything is.

The Habit of Must is the price we pay for the life we want and is the barrier to entry we must overcome to transform the dreams we have into the life we crave.

Most of us know exactly what it is we need to do to carve out the life we want, but sadly far too many of us relegate those things to the Should list with the true but mistaken belief that, miraculously, we will one day address them.

Henry David Thoreau said it best, when he said “Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

Let’s not be like most. Let’s build Must into every day of our lives so when the time comes we go to our graves with the song loudly sung and the music still blaring.

Living a life of Must will do that for all of uS.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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