Sunday, November 29, 2009

Should-less Holidays!

It’s that time of the year again. The weather is cold, the days are short, and the advertising industry is directly and subliminally usingevery “should” in their billion dollar budget to make you feel as guilty and ashamed as possible. What are these “shoulds”? They may include:

I should give my loved ones everything they want for Christmas.

You should give me the perfect gift that I want.

Love and affection should be proven through the exchange of gifts.

I should be happier.

I shouldn’t eat too much food and gain weight.

My parents shouldn’t judge me when I go home.

I should be able to spend the money I used to have.

Families should be together.

I shouldn’t have lost my job this year.

I should be good at this stuff like other people.  

So what’s the alternative?

First,understand that you had to learn every "should" causing you stress or sadness at this moment. Not one of us popped out of our mother's womb saying, “I shouldn't have that extra cookie” or “I should be making more money.” If you learned your should, it means you can unlearn it.Try asking:

How did I learn this should? Your parents, your children, your friends, the billion dollar advertising industry?

Is this should true for everyone everywhere 24/7? Are there some who can be happy and fulfilled by not giving or receiving store bought gifts? If it’s possible for them, isn’t it possible for you?

Who is profiting off your should? Anytime,and I mean ANYTIME you feel guilty or sad there is a cash register somewhere singing. The media can make billions of dollars from making everyone feel insecure and fearful. You don’t have to give in to it.

How do you feel when you think this should?Does it bring you happiness? Peace? Hope? Or does it make you feel afraid, angry, frustrated, or depressed? You can change the way you feel by changing the way you see the holidays. If nothing else remember this: It is not the holiday that is making you feel upset, it is your“should” about the holiday that is making you feel upset.

Change It:You can try saying, “I prefer to be with my loved ones this year,” or“I can choose to make the holidays better by simply changing my mind”or “I wish I could gifts but I am a good person no matter what.”

By changing your thinking and talking about it with others you can have the very best “should-less” holiday ever.

Click here to purchase your own copy of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret To Living The Stress-Free Life You Deserve." 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Adam Mayfield's "Shoulds"

Adam Mayfield is one of the most talented and sensitive young performers on daytime television today.  In my interview with him over at We Love Soaps, he shared with much about his role of Scott Chandler on All My Children and his struggles with insecurity and self-doubt.  Later in the interview, he discussed with me how reading, "Absolutely Should-less" has helped him to cope with these issues.

Damon L. Jacobs:  Looking back at this wild past year, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?

Adam Mayfield:  Relax.  And enjoy it.  Because you’ve earned it.  Relax, you’re right where you need to be. 

Damon L. Jacobs:   When you think about that, do you really feel stressed about the material?

Adam Mayfield:  It helps tremendously.  And I don’t think I realized that until right now so I’m glad you asked me that. 

Damon L. Jacobs:   I sincerely believe our thoughts are so powerful in determining our emotional experience.

Adam Mayfield:  I agree and I wanted to touch on that.  I think what I got most out of your book was the idea of Core Beliefs.  I think if you can change you Core Beliefs, or at least identify Core Beliefs, then you can take that anywhere.  You can see that none of these thought patterns and these emotions are real, they are just mistaken beliefs that you’ve learned.  It’s that simple.  All this is is rewiring the brain, and then you can change your life.  If you can identify your Core Beliefs then you are more than half way there. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Productive Shoulds

"I should be getting more work done"

How many of you have sat at your desk and told yourself, "I should be getting more work done"? On the surface, there doesn't seem to be anything problematic with that idea, right?  After all, if you have goals to accomplish and responsibilities to uphold then of course you'll want to fulfill your duties.

The question comes back to, "How do you feel when you think that 'should'"?  If the feeling behind it is peaceful and joyful, then that's a beautiful thing.  But the more common feeling behind that type of "should" tends to be frustration, anxiety, stress, disappointment, and often self-anger.  How much work can you reasonably get done when you are experiencing any one of these feelings? And even if you do get the work done, what kind of shape are you going to be in by time it's completed?

There is an easier way to be more at ease and more productive.  It simply has to do with being willing to question this should, "I should be getting more work done.":

Introducing D'Ken!

It is my sincere honor (and my great luck) to introduce D'Ken Domondon as an administrator to this blog.  D'ken is generously sharing his artistic talents and aesthetic sensibilities to make this blog more fun to read, and pleasing to the eye.  As a Northern California art student, and winner of several awards on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus, it brings me great pleasure to welcome him aboard the "should-less" team.

Please take a look at his website to view his varied talents and unique vision.

Welcome D'ken! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So What's The Big Deal About "Shoulds"?

In the years that I have been talking with friends, family, and clients about "shoulds," I can't tell you how many times the idea of eliminating shoulds has been mocked and challenged.  And that's all great, I have a wonderful capacity for finding the humor in things, and I do encourage serious questions.  But what is often behind these comments is the thought, "Shoulds are insignificant, they have nothing to do with how I feel."  And here is where we disagree. 

What is missing in that argument is the recognition of how language shapes reality.  The words we use play a significant role in our perceptions, how we see ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we approach the world.

For example, let's say I don't get a job I've applied for.  I can use my words to tell myself and others, "I'm no good, I'm inadequate, I'll never get what I want."  And if I'm using those words to describe that situation, then I'm mostly likely going to experience depression, hopelessness, regret.  Now let's take the same scenario.  This time I come away from not getting a job by saying, "Although that's disappointing, it is no reflection on me, and it just means something better is waiting for me."  What is the experience that follows from saying that?  I will feel hope, optimism, peace.  And if I go into my next interview with hope, optimism, and peace, how much more likely is it I'll get considered for that job?

The same thing applies when we are broken-hearted.  You can say, "I'll never love again," or "I'll be okay with or without a partner."  It's that easy.  One results in hopelessness, the other results in empowerment.  Which one do your prefer? 

I've had people say to me, "But if I'm getting what I want, what's wrong with saying 'I should be getting what I want'?"  Nothing is inherently "wrong" about that.  If your experience is happy, joyful, fulfilling, and peaceful, and you have found a way to use "should" to get you there, then that is a beautiful thing.  Unfortunately, "shoulds" are usually in conflict with what is truly happening in reality.  The numerous comments people left under the "Give Up Your Should Day" post can attest to that. 

Language does shape human perception, it always has.  If it is your intention to have more happiness and joy in your life, then challenging common "shoulds" is one way to get there.  It may not be the only way, but it's a simple, fast, efficient tool for reducing stress and misery in the here and now.  My hope is that by writing Absolutely Should-less and keeping up this blog that we will all be reminded the power of language, and use that power to help ourselves and others.  

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Day After: Was It Good For You?

I want to first give a huge shout-out and THANK YOU to all those who participated in the 2nd Annual Give Up Your Should Day.

Now, in the days after, I want to hear from you again.  Please let me know how it felt to give up your "should" on this day, and if you decided to pick that "should" back up on Monday, November 2nd, or if you have continued to let it go.  Even if you did not leave a comment yesterday, you are welcome to participate in this part.

Remember by participating you are entered to win a signed copy of "Absolutely Should-less" or a "Should-less" T-shirt.  Good luck! 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2nd Annual Give Up Your "Should" Day!

The Second Annual
Give Up Your "Should" Day
Is Here!

Thank you for coming! It is my deepest hope that by giving up at least one "should" for today that you will realize you have the ability and the right to have more peace and joy in your life anytime you choose. This is especially important to remember with the holiday season quickly approaching.

So for today, please use the comments section here to list at least one "should" you will give up for November 1st. Then of course you are welcome to pick it back up on November 2nd if you choose. If you want to be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of Absolutely Should-less or a "Should-less" T-shirt, then make sure you leave your e-mail address here, or send it to me at

Good Luck! And enjoy your "should-less" day!