So, I am one month into our adult year abroad and before you tune out of this blog post thinking it is going to be all about the places we’ve been, food we’ve eaten or the dodgy airport sandwich I had that led to some less then satisfying visits to the bathroom, I assure you its not.
I still intend to use this blog to share things that I feel others might actually find helpful around mindset, courage, confidence, leadership, and ultimately getting the f*ck out of your own way. Why? Because those are the things that are important to me and I am assuming (and hoping!) that they are the reasons why you started following me in the first place. My adult year abroad is my way of getting the f*ck out of my way and is part of my own personal definition of success for my own life. It doesn’t mean I need to ram it down your throat though.
Instead, what I want to share with you in this post is how much I have decided that I dislike the word “should”. Why, you ask? It seems a relatively harmless word. Not that intense. Largely important for a number of sentences. So why do I now despise it? Well, over the past month, this word has caused me much frustration and personal reflection. The number of times I have caught myself saying “I should do this…”, “I should do that”. “I should eat now”. “I should visit this museum”. “I should go to sleep now”. I have said it to myself so many times over the last month, that I finally decided to dig deeper and ask myself these questions….
Why the f*ck should I?
Who the f*ck said I should?
Who is this mysterious person that makes us feel that we should do things at certain times, or even, do them at all?
Whoever you are, I’ve got a bone to pick with you.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am not talking about things like paying my bills, a daily shower, maintaining general personal hygiene, or drinking water to stay hydrated. These are things you should to do stay alive and basically just function as a member of society.
What I have realised is that what I am experiencing at the moment is freedom. The freedom to actually do what I what, when I want. All of a sudden I don’t have any boundaries, people waiting on me, or places to be. And….. it feels odd. Then I dig deeper again. Have I ever really had to do something at a certain time, or have I just conditioned myself over so long to enjoy the comfort of conformity to mask the fact that I rarely ask myself this question…… “What do I want?”.
What do I want?
What do I want to do today? What do I want to eat? Where do I want to go? What would make me happy? Who do I want to spend my time with?
What do I want?
Not, what should I want.
How often do you ask yourself “What do I want?”. I’m not even talking about deep, life changing considerations around what you want, I just mean something as simple as “What do I want for dinner?”. “What do I want to do today?”. I can now sincerely tell you that I do not do this day to day. Truly do it anyway. The last month has taught me that. Instead, I think about what I should do.
Since this realisation though, I have made a much more conscious effort to ask myself regularly during the day “what do I want?”. Do I actually want to do this activity, eat this food, go to this place, OR do I just think I should?
My challenge to you is this. Reflect over the next 7 days how often during your day you stop to check in with yourself on what you want. Not what you should want, or what you should do, but what you want to do. To eat, to read, to watch, to sleep, to work, to surround yourself with. Do you regularly ask yourself this question and follow the answer, or do you move with the consensus of others without even thinking about it and just doing what you should do?
This has been a key reflection for me over the last 4 weeks being removed from the day to day. It is something I hadn’t realised about myself, and in the spirit of vulnerability and ongoing development that I always promise to give you in this blog, I wanted to share it with you. I am great at the big, blue sky gazing vision of what I want for my life, but it seems I am not as good at the day to day, week to week reflections of what I want. And these, my friends, are ultimately the small things, the small decisions and actions, that get you to the big things!
So, in the spirit of the scene from The Notebook that we all know and love (don’t kid yourself, you know you’ve seen it!)…… WHAT DO YOU WAAANNNNNT???
P.p.s If you’ve found yourself stuck in your own way – NOW is the time to get out of it. I can help you. Just ask me how. That is the first step.