crossroads of should and must

Review: The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

I’ve sort of loosely decided to read more “personal growth” books this year – and yes, I know that’s a fancy way of saying self-help. Truth be told, most of them don’t have a ton of earth shattering information in them, but a good self-help book often gives a hefty dose of motivation to do whatever it is you’ve been trying to convince yourself to do. On that reasoning, when I saw The Crossroads of Should and Must available through Overdrive, I figured I’d go ahead and get started on that goal.

The Crossroads of Should and Must is one of the most aesthetically pleasing books I believe I’ve ever read. Elle Luna is an artist, and her (very short) book is full of artsy quotes and graphics. She makes the argument that each of us has things we MUST do, things that make us feel alive. And of course, all the things we think we SHOULD do…which may or may not coincide with our musts. Her idea is that we shouldn’t (hehe) sacrifice our musts in favor of our shoulds.

I know that description sounds a little murky, rest assured Luna did a better job in her book.

That said, The Crossroads of Should and Must fell a little flat for me. Part of that might have been the length – Luna alludes to the blog post that preceded the book, and I kept thinking she’d just revised that, thrown in some pictures, and called it a book. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, and didn’t feel the need to find out. The information she shares is…..basic. Not bad, not at all….but not exactly inspiring or compelling or, really, even all that helpful. Interesting, sure. Motivating? No.

All that to say – if you find yourself in an airport, or on a bus, or otherwise unoccupied for an hour or so – give The Crossroads of Should and Must a go. If you like pretty pictures, give it a go. If you’re looking for a kick in the pants….give it a go, but then follow it up with How to Be Everything.

Hardcover: 161 pages    Published: April 2017 by Workman Publishing    Source: Library via Overdrive

Buy it on Amazon for $12

The Crossroads of Should and Must on Goodreads

Who hasn’t asked the question “How can I find and follow my true calling?” Elle Luna frames this moment as “standing at the crossroads of Should and Must.” “Should” is what we feel we ought to be doing, or what is expected of us. “Must” is the thing we dream of doing, our heart’s desire. And it was her own personal journey that inspired Elle Luna to write a brief online manifesto that, in a few short months, has touched hundreds of thousands of people who’ve read it or heard Elle speak on the topic. Now Ms. Luna expands her ideas into an inspirational, highly visual gift book for every recent graduate, every artist, every seeker, every career changer.

The Crossroads of Should and Must has a universal message—we get to choose the path between Should and Must. And it gives every reader permission to embrace this message. It’s about the difference between jobs, careers, and callings. The difference between going to work and becoming one with your work. Why knowing what you want is often the hardest part. It gives eye-opening techniques for reconnecting with one’s inner voice, like writing your own obituary (talk about putting life in perspective). It talks about the most common fears of choosing Must over Should—money, time, space, and the ultimate fear: total vulnerability—and shores up our hesitation with inspiring stories of and quotes from the artists and writers and thinkers who’ve faced their own crossroads of Should and Must and taken the leap. It explains the importance of mistakes, of “unlearning,” of solitude, of keeping moving, of following a soul path.

Presented in four chapters—The Crossroads, The Origin of Should, Must, and The Return—inspired by the hero’s journey outlined by Joseph Campbell, The Crossroads of Should and Must guides us from the small moment, discovering our Must, to the big moment—actually doing something about it, and returning to share our new gifts with the world.