15 March 2009

The Word Should

One of the constant struggles that we face in our lives as humans--let alone spirit workers--is the challenging hurdle of the word should.

There are a thousand things in any given moment that one should be doing. I should be cleaning, I should be doing laundry, I should be exercising more, I should be researching the stock market, I should be practicing hapkido, playing a game of Go, or studying for an exam, or reading the sagas, or reading at all, or founding an LLP, or writing software, practicing energy work, or working harder at my job.

It is true, I should be doing all of these things, and a thousand other things besides. I should be doing a lot of things, and at any given moment those shoulds can come around to bite me, with two predictable consequences:

  • I cannot focus on an activity that I am working on, for knowledge of what I should be doing

  • Given multiple possibilities in a given moment, I can become paralyzed and fall into loops.

This advice has shown up in a variety of formats through the years, and it basically comes down to this: live in the moment. If you are going to goof off today, goof off. If you are going to work, then get things done. If you have set your mind to do something, then do it and don't keep putting it off.

Should is not a very useful word. It implies a judgement of myself that I have no reason to make, it implies outside expectations of me which are not necessarily there, and it implies goals in my life that I do not necessarily have.

Rather than saying I should do something, it is much more useful to say what I will do as distinct from what I am doing. Anything that I will do later can wait until what I am doing is finished. There is no sense worrying about it. By the same token, if I need to do something, then there is no sense postponing it.

No comments:

Post a Comment