Friday, October 22, 2010

Shoulds and Coulds - Time to Revisit

Last year, I wrote a post about shoulds and coulds - I think it is a good time of year to visit it again.  

Are you failing to listen to the should and the could's in your life? By transforming our shoulds into "do's" and "will"s we may accomplish many things.  However, sometimes our should and coulds are things we might want to avoid doing entirely.

1. Take a look at your shoulds and coulds

Spend some time over the next few days listening to your inner talk and your external communications. Take note of the number of times you express or think the word "Should" or "Could". If you have a high frequency of shoulds or coulds, (Perhaps 5+ a day) you may want to spend some "thinking, development and planning" time around them.

2. Delve into the shoulds and coulds

After you have listened to yourself over the last few days, you may find some frequent shoulds and coulds. Take time to jot them down in sentence form.

I should get more sleep at night
I wish I could keep my desk clear
We could buy a new car

3. Analyze your should and could's for future work and change.

Let's say you want to get more sleep. How can you go about making it come to fruition? By brainstorming you may come to some possilble solutions.

For example:  

I should get more sleep -  To get more sleep, go to bed earlier or stay in bed longer. The should becomes a will when you decide to go to sleep earlier or set your alarm for a later morning wake up.

We could buy a new car - Deciding to buy a new or different car, is a process and project. You may choose to get a new car when your current car reaches a certain mileage, or if maintenance fees exceed the cost of a monthly payment. Your new car might be more advantageous when you have to start driving to your new company's office (which is further away) to keep fuel costs down. A new car might make more sense after you have paid off other debts or saved a certain dollar amount. The could becomes more of a strategy and plan development when you look at the when and why components.

4. Transform your should and could's to wills, when's, why's or later decisions. If you formalize and bring these shoulds and coulds  to the next phase you will allow more space for things to happen.

5. Erase your negative should and could's from your mental and verbal vocabulary.  Sometimes we have stuck should and could's which can not be easily transformed into action or do not warrant further thought about.

For Example:

I should have said  ..... instead of ......
I could have read the directions three times and caught my mistake (after improperly assembling a complex piece of furniture)

Spend some time working on your should and could's and you will likely transform your life.

1 comment:

Fred said...

Terry has a most valuable commentary on could's and should's. This is something I have struggled with all my life. Perhaps without realizing, Terry has restated the Serenity Prayer, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (item #5), courage to change the things that I can (item#4) and wisdom to know the difference (items 1 to 3). Item #5, erasing negative should's and could's, is accepting our situation in reality as it is now (easier said than done but most vital). Item #4, transforming would's to wills, corresponds us changing the things that we can. Items #1 to #3, of looking, delving and analyzing, correspond to our wisdom to know the difference. Terry described the serenity prayer in reverse order!

Sometimes, the solution is not so simple, as with not getting enough sleep. In my case, it was due to sleep apnea (a medical condition where you stop breathing during sleep), and I had to see an MD, undergo a sleep test, and get a special machine called CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) to correct the sleeping problem!

These concepts are most critical to our happiness and well-being!