What SHOULD I do today?
What COULD I do today?
Which question do you ask yourself?
Do these 2 feel the same or different to you?
They feel different to me and I explored why ‘could’ feels so much better to me than ‘should’.
Join my journey of discovery, to gain insight into a best way forward for yourself too…
Things can work out even better than we could have imagined.
Here’s an example,
John [not his real name] wondered “Where shall I eat lunch today?” A question many of us consider many days.
- go to a café
- sit at his desk
- go for a walk and eat while walking [his usual lunch – combine exercise with food]
- sit in the sun and eat
- have lunch with friends somewhere
- or even not eat and finish whatever he was doing.
How to choose?
Recently, when this daily question arose, John decided to sit in the winter-sunshine, on a seat protected from the wind, where paths from different buildings met. Few people were out and it was peaceful.
As he was finishing his lunch, someone he knew came by [let’s call them ‘A’]. Saw him sitting there and came over to talk about a question they wanted to share with him.
While chatting, another person he knew came by [let’s call them ‘B’], and this person was someone he had wanted to meet person ‘A’.
He smiled at the threads of life joining up as he introduced ‘B’’ to ‘A’ as they all found relevant connections and interests and arranged to meet up again.
‘Could’ might have advantages; ‘Could’ can open other doors.
Wonderful opportunities ‘could’ arise when we follow intuition for what to do, moment by moment. He stood aside from the pressures and expectations of a busy day and, instead, chose based on ‘could’ and choices.
‘Should’ is like a groove.
Don’t have to think so much, just do what is expected.
Limiting options to fewer than ‘Could’ allows.
Sometimes this helps us feel in control of a situation, of life.
When life feels like it’s in a groove.
- Just like a train runs on a track, or a car on a road, there are advantages to running along familiar tracks or roads.
- We think we know how to do it, so there is little anxiety about whether we can actually do it (fear of failure minimized).
- We think we know the outcome. [Past experience tells us: we have done X and got outcome Y before, so it should happen again]
- We think we know how we will feel and other significant people in our world will respond.
- It seems predictable and, in a way, gives a kind of confidence or safety.
For many reasons we use the abbreviation ‘Should’.
We are far more versatile than trains which can only run on rails.
Or even cars which run best on roads with smooth surfaces.
4-wheel drive vehicles can go in other places, sure.
It takes a person to go where even 4-wheel drives cannot – try climbing mountains, or walking through deep water or swinging on a ‘flying fox’ across a deep stream!
Yes, we can!
Opening up to ‘Could’ and possibilities outside the groove of ‘Should’ puts us outside routines we may not even realize we run.
‘Could’ represents a bigger opportunity.
In fact, maybe ‘Should’ is a small subset of ‘Could’.
The rest of ‘Could’ has uncertainty, unpredictability.
- Maybe we can do… or maybe not… and is that failure? Or information for choosing the next experiment?
- Maybe we will enjoy the outcome… or maybe we won’t. More information?
- Maybe there’s a down-side we can’t see? Is it safe? Now this is a much more important question – it is only when we feel safe that we can be open to new possibilities.
We need more awareness of potential consequences and outcomes to ‘Could’ than we use with ‘Should’ if we want to thrive. Yes, it may take more energy and our attention.
How to choose from all the options that ‘Could’ be available at the time?
One way is to run little experiments.
Last post we explored ways we can gain much information and reward with many small experiments – ‘taste-test’ activities.
It’s not wrong to do what we ‘should’ do – it’s just one way of choosing our activities.
Even doing what we think we ‘Should’ do is a choice!
Thinking of going out to an event?
- I could go. Activate your curiosity factor; ‘I wonder what it might be like?’
- I should go. The benefit is relief – that I am ‘fitting in’, doing ‘what’s expected of me’ by others. I will avoid their displeasure by doing what they want. I see it as being not so much about what it’s like for me.
So, for you if you have read this far; your turn – how will you now answer:
“Which question will you ask yourself?”
What SHOULD I do today? or
What COULD I do today?