Curiosity and The Shoulds

I live with a lot of shoulds. Maybe you do too. I should practice more. I should have a better website. I should make more money. I should stay in touch with all the people I know, all the time. I should eat healthy food every day, all day. I should exercise more.

All of these have good intentions at the root of them. Eating healthy and exercising make me feel good in my body. Practicing more leads to more satisfying performances. Being connected to people is one of my core values.

But a lot of times the should aspect changes the goodness of the intention and burdens it, and can even change the goodness of the result.

What happens if you connect with what inspires you without the should?

What would it be like to get curious about practicing? Do you want to practice today? How would it feel to sit down for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, to play with enjoyment and passion?

What happens if you reach out to one friend or colleague, not with the burden of obligation? What if connecting could happen in a curious way?

What if you could choose food with compassion? Even choosing pizza and ice cream with compassion!

Of course, there are many things we are obligated to do in life (did you file your taxes on time?).

However, a lot of time we have a choice in how we approach many of the activities and work tasks.

Choosing a framework of curiosity instead of ‘the shoulds’, compassion instead of berating ourselves, connecting with delight instead of pressure. These will increase the joy in your work and life.

And these mental frameworks also help us live and work in a sustainable fashion, preventing burn-out in a field where rejection, low wages, and anxiety can reign supreme.

So, I’m curious – can you shift your mental framework for any one task today? Can you add in more compassion for yourself over something that is challenging you? What are you curious about today?