Swap Could for Should for More Possibilities

A bottle of Trappist milk

“Should” is not my friend.  This word too often inflames guilty feelings and prompts me to invest precious time and mental capacity doing things and thinking thoughts that I might not choose to do otherwise if it were not for the word “should.”

I have much more affection for the word, “could.”  One letter swapped, “c” for “sh” can free one from guilt and open the door of endless possibilities.  Could you possibly give it a try?

The main difference between choosing the “sh” and the “c” is “should” requires a value judgment.  All too often, I have discovered that the values being used to judge if something “should” be done are someone’s other than my own.  Many of one’s “shoulds” are the world bossing one around and trying to guilt one into doing the world’s bidding and to color in the lines of false responsibilities.

Asking oneself if it is really a “should” situation based on one’s own priorities, goals, responsibilities and values is very effective in unmasking false “shoulds” that are actually only possible “coulds.”  Are we brave enough to challenge each “should” by asking, “According to whom?”

For example: I see that someone in my family has left the milk out on the kitchen counter.  I judge this an undesirable situation because I do not want to take a big swig of potentially spoiled milk nor do I want to have my hard-earned  money wasted by having the milk spoil instead of being able to drink it.  Someone in my family “should not” have left the milk out of the refrigerator.  She (I’m the only male in the family and I didn’t leave the milk out this time.) “should” have been more responsible and “should” have returned the milk to the refrigerator!  I am now faced with a moral dilemma, “should” I forgive this blatant carelessness and put the milk in the refrigerator or “should” I interrogate and find the guilty party and force her to put the milk up after a stern chastisement?  I “could” do that, but “should” I do that?  Not if I desire love and peace and to avoid stupid confrontations, so I choose to think of the milk as a friendly reminder that I live with very busy people who sometimes eat on the run and choose to put the milk back into the refrigerator as an act of love and  service in support of my family.

The challenge with “should” is that once one’s wishes, hopes and preferences move from the mental storehouse of possibilities into the condo of expectations, they pass through judgment’s door and move from a “could” into a “should” and sometimes they become solidified to the point of transforming from a “should” to a “MUST!”  Should’s that hang around too long in our condo of expectations become “musty.”  When our “shoulds” and “musts” go unfulfilled we mentally slide down the slope of emotional control from disappointment to anger.  We feel like something “should” have happened and so since it “should” happen it “must” happen or else it will be mean, nasty, unfair and wrong.  We don’t like feeling disappointed and wronged so we get angry and mad.

Should we do this to ourselves?  Could we keep this cycle from happening?

Swapping the “sh” of “should’ with a “c” transforms a guilty “should” in to a beautifully possible “could.”  I should wash the hounds transforms into I could wash the hounds if I choose to do so.  If I choose not to do so, then it was my decisions and I am willing to accept the responsibility and consequences of my freedom of choice!

“Coulds” are the antidote to many guilty, disappointed, and angry feelings.  It prevents one from becoming “musty.”

Psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis, PhD., wrote extensively on this subject in his theory of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, (REBT). You can discovery more about REBT at the Albert Ellis Institute. http://albertellis.org.

If you want to be free from guilty feelings for procrastination, then you “SHOULD” visit his site.  See how easy it is to “should” someone.

Try creating new possibilities through letter exchange.  You “COULD” experience an amazing freedom of personal choice. One letter, “c” could make a tremendously positive difference in your life.

It could help you to choose to live, “FIRED UP!”

A Better Way to Tie Your Shoes


Shoes made from real crocodile skin, in a cons...

Shoes made from real crocodile skin, in a conservation exhibit at Bristol Zoo, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terry Moore shares a better way to tie shoes to a TED Conference audience.  You can view the short video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAFcV7zuUDA.

Ever since I viewed this video, I have been using the stronger shoe knot to tie my shoes.  It took some practice.  I felt very frustrated at first.  I often started to tie my shoes on autopilot using the old, weaker knot and would need to untie the knot and remember to retie it with the new stronger knot.  Why bother?  The old weaker knot had served me well for 45 years. Why change now?  I chose to accept new information about shoe tieing as true and helpful and I didn’t want to feel stupid retieing my shoes over and over or possibly tripping on an untied lace just because I was too stubborn and set in my ways to change to a better method.

Its been many months since I stumbled on Mr. Moore’s TED Talk.  I am happy to say that I have now successfully made the stronger knot my established shoe tieing habit.

The reason I share this knotted story with you is to illustrate that there are a lot of new ideas floating around and many of them can be very helpful if we will be open to evaluating  them and then commit to the hard work of learning the new skill and practicing it until it becomes a habit. It’s not easy to change, but it is usually worth the effort.

When was the last time you replaced an old habit with a new and improved one? Are you choosing to stay stuck in a rut of your own making? Is it time to learn something new, just for the fun of learning it? How could your life be different  if you chose to make learning something new each day your new habit?

Each time I tie my shoe using a stronger knot, I can remember that there are plenty of new things for me to learn and that an ever older dog like me can enjoy learning some new tricks.

How about you?  Ready to tie the knot?

How Do You Define Possible?

choice is possible

One’s personal definition of the word “possible” builds the impenetrable walls of the box of one’s limitations.  Once one creates his/her possibility box, one stuffs it with one’s knowledge, creativity, skills, hopes, dreams and judgments about what one thinks is possible.  When one’s box seems comfortably full, one starts rejecting new thoughts and challenges as unable to fit into one’s “possibility” definition. What one rejects one defines as “impossible.”

Is your life’s mission really impossible or is your definition of “possible” too small, narrow and/or incomplete?  Do you have enough evidence to convict something of truly being impossible?  Are you incorrectly defining too many hard, unlikely, difficult, challenging and long-term goals, dreams and hopes as impossible?

Is there possibly some more room in your possibility box? Is it possible that your possibility box doesn’t even exists in the real world?  Are you brave enough to put each possibility to the test? Have you allowed your limitations to define how you are living inside of your possibility box?

Is it possible to break free of your impossibilities by simply choosing to accept a broader, more long-term and open-ended definition of one word?  Possibly.

What is really possible?

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