Should to could to want to would


A post by Beautiful Nothingness got me thinking, this quote in particular stood out:

“The more time you spend thinking about where you should be, what you should be doing and who you should be doing it with, the more disappointed you will be with your life. When you finally start concentrating on what you WANT out of life, and the things that need to change for you to get what you want, the closer you get to true happiness and overcoming your quarterlife crisis.”

I’d like to add a couple more verbs to the equation.

The way I see it, should implies external expectations. Should is negative and disempowering. Should is about what other people expect of you and not what you want for yourself.

The first step forward is to change should to could. Could suggests possibilities, options and freedom. You could follow expectations but you could pick your own alternatives.

Would means starting to think realistically and solidly. But would comes up with excuses (would if…) and would can be vague and lack conviction (would like).

Then comes want – it can be selfish and demanding but it’s authentic and purposeful. Want signifies control. Want is as decisive as could is indecisive.

So when you next find yourself thinking I should make this particular choice, I should already have done this, I should be like this, first say I could make this choice, I could have done this, I could become like this (or I could choose otherwise). Let go of expectations and give yourself options. Then explore your reasoning and sound out your excuses, I would choose this if…, I would already have done this if…, I would become like this if…. But focus on solutions instead of problems. Then, most importantly, ask what do I want? And then you choose. I want to make this choice, I want to do this next time, I want to be like this in future.

Life’s not about shoulds or woulds; it’s about wants and coulds.