A lot of our thinking is consumed and driven by two words: ‘should’ and ‘could’.
I’ve always considered ‘could’ a really good word. Better than ‘should’. It seems a lot more positive and full of potential. Less of a duty word, more of an optimistic outlook.
Have you ever been told that you should do something?
Of course you have. But how do you respond? If someone says you should be on the latest social media platform, you should watch this new film, you should eat at a certain restaurant. Do you blindly comply and fill your life with the shoulds of others?
Not all ‘coulds’ are equal or good however.
There are 3 types of could that can have a negative impact on the way we think about ourselves and our lives. In this episode of the podcast I examine them in turn and explore the impact they have on our thinking beneath the surface.
Could (uncertain and scary)
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” – John Allen Paulos
We run worst-case scenarios; predicting the things that could go wrong. This fear of what ‘could go wrong’ can be paralysing.
Could (possible options with potential for success)
Could is also a recipe for overwhelm. It’s a word of endless potential options. Could is an open book that hasn’t been written and it creates fear of choosing. Fear of picking the wrong thing. Fear of commitment. Fear of disappointment.
Could’ve (regret for what might have been)
One of the worst types of could is the one that happens when we look back at our lives. Those paths that could have been. Who we could have become.
Life is a series of compromises. When we say yes to one thing we are saying no to something else. An intrinsic by-product of this is the space for regret.
We must come to terms with these ideas and make peace with our lives so that we can use the time we have in the best possible way.
Over to You
Which of these coulds has the biggest influence on your life? Do you worry about what ‘could’ happen, get overwhelmed by all the things you ‘could’ do or spend time regretting the things you ‘could’ve’ done or been if things were different? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave your response in the comments below.
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