The Internet is abuzz over Elle Luna’s call-to-action essay in Medium, “The Crossroads of Should and Must.” In it, she details her journey from software designer for startups and apps to painter and textile designer. Why is everyone turning their heads and taking note? Elle’s thought-provoking essay ultimately gets at the question of whose voice should guide our lives — the “should” of others’ voices or the “must” of our inner voice.
At its most simplistic, the article is a paean to the principle, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” While great in theory, this idea ultimately excludes many who do not have the power to make that choice, those who must live their lives guided by another’s voice. But the real genius of “The Crossroads of Should and Must” is the way in which Elle nuances the relationship between the two and creates a sort of step-by-step plan for moving towards “Must” in whatever way you are able, even if all that looks like is taking one quiet moment with your thoughts each day. Yes, that means getting off Twitter, Insta and FB.
Since its publication, the essay has been reposted and reposted, proving to us that it speaks to a somewhat universal desire. If everyone in the world could live their Must, and meld their life and their work into one authentic experience, we wonder what society would look like. It would be a society full of Picassos, Steve Jobs, and Eames. Because we would all be doing work that had the potential to ripple outwards and affect others. It’s pretty much what Brit did when she left Google, leading to you reading this article today.
But first, we must believe in ourselves enough to choose Must, to take that leap of faith. The challenge, and the gift, of Elle’s vision is that this opportunity, this choice, arises every day. So everyday we have the chance to recommit. And also to start over if yesterday you chose Should.
Hop over to Medium to read the essay in full. It’s interspersed with Elle’s drawings, and the effect of her inspirational message combined with her artwork is almost a Shel Silverstein poem for grown ups. Isn’t taking a leap of faith off a cliff to find your Must the same as asking what happens when the sidewalk ends?
Are you at this crossroads? How do you follow your Must each day? Let us know in the comments!