Early today I was facing a conundrum. I sat down to write another article about friendships, relationships and bringing positive people into your life, and I couldn't write it. Words made their way onto the screen but they were not right. It felt like I was forcing them out when usually they just flow out of me with ease. I thought maybe I just wasn't "on" today, or maybe I was having my first writers block? Then it dawned on me: I was not doing what I wanted to be doing. The concept sounds simple enough - do what you want to be doing - but not many people actually put it into practice. Today I was one of those people. I have a list of article ideas ready for write, and after a week of paleo-centric writing I felt that I should get back to the person development areas that I normally write for. The problem was that nasty s-word: should.
I did not actually want to write. Why? Because I have several other big projects on the go and some ideas floating around in my head that I really wanted to sink my teeth into. But, I had this nasty obligation-like feeling hanging around which ended up ruining my day. When I worked on my projects and ideas I had the feeling that I should be writing that article, but then when I started writing the article I really wanted to be back working on my other projects. In the end I was very unproductive and I wasted a lot of time. And you should know by now that I HATE wasting time.
So I've met in the middle. I'm writing this because it is helping me realise what is important to me and work through my personal issues with focus and concentration. The next time I find myself in this situation I will remember this article and what I learned from today so I do not make the same mistakes again. And the by-product is that I get the article to write (even though it is not the one I "should" be writing) and I get to move on to my other projects.
Should is Nasty Word
Should is evil. I hate the word. In my world I aim to live as if the word does not exist because it has no purpose other than to foster negative feelings, and that is not something I want in my life.
My main beef with "should" is that it is not valid in our individual context. Should is only valid to the third person perspective, and only then because it is valid based on all their past experience and knowledge, not ours.
If someone tells us what we should be doing it is the same as being told them telling us that what we are currently doing is wrong. Now there is no harm in being wrong, and a bit of constructive criticism is a wonderful thing in our personal development, but the problem is that when people use the word should, they are only providing their opinion. It is all based on what they think is the best thing at that time, and what is true for one person is not necessarily true for another. It is subjective and biased. Very biased.
Even when the "should" comes internally, from our wonderful brain, the bias is still there. Think of my example from today. I had tasks that I was excited about, that I really wanted to be working on but my brain kept kept telling me that I should write an article today. I had no proof to believe this - I had not received a specific request for an article today nor had I been receiving comments saying "less paleo, more personal development" but my brain, in all its wisdom and power, somehow concluded this was the right thing to do. And I've mentioned how the brain can make a hash of things like this before.
Solution: Turn Yoda
No I'm not saying you need to turn green, cultivate the hair in your ears, and master the light-saber. Although I'm sure that last skill would certainly impress the ladies.
To quote Yoda (and show my true geek): "Do, or do not. There is no try." Substitute the word "should" for "try" and this phrase explains all that is needed to get past the dreaded s-word.
If you want to do something then do it. If you do not want to do something then don't. It is a simple as that. Remember that it is often the simplest things that work best.
Challenge: Take a Personal Day
With that concept in mind I issue a challenge to my readers. Take a "personal day" off from your work and do something you have always wanted to do. Call in sick and run off to discover your passion. Go rock-climbing, paint a picture, read a book, whatever. Just make the day 100% about you. It is not about anyone else. Before you do anything in the day you must ask yourself "Is this what I really want to be doing?" and only continue if the answer is a resounding "YES!" Do not think ahead, do not worry about consequences, just get out there and do what you want to.
It is your life after all. Do what you want with it.