How many times have we heard the advice: ‘Don’t ‘should’ on yourself.’?

Yes, we know, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. We have some pretty fierce ‘shoulds’ in our heads that carry the weight of obligation and duty, and a narrow view of choices that are often in conflict with deeper feeling. ‘Shoulds’ can be habits that are hard to break. Until we tried a simple liberating shift.

Daniel Pink explains:

This simple, amazingly effective idea came from a research paper from Harvard Business School:

Our research reveals how a significant set of ethical challenges… benefit from the application of unconventional thinking.

When encountering ethical dilemmas, shifting one’s mindset from “What should I do?” to “What could I do?” generates moral insight: the formulation of solutions that move beyond conceding one moral imperative for another to honor multiple moral imperatives or relieve the tension among them.

Although our natural inclination is to contemplate dilemmas with a should mindset, adopting a could mindset opens a broader range of possibilities.

We tried it on ourselves. Employing a ‘could’ mindset sparks possibility thinking and way more options than ‘should’ allows. It brings air and lightness into the process.

What could I do?

Don’t ‘Should’ Yourself” sign at top from

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