Posts Tagged ‘should’

   This morning I went to a networking meeting and one of the lovely women there suddenly interrupted all conversation to say, “Right ladies, I’ve got a question for you – what is the opposite of procrastination?”  Well, we made our individual and varied replies which she acknowledged as being good, but not right – “close, but no cigar” as my brother would say.  And then she announced “The opposite of procrastination is discipline.”

This came as a surprise to me, especially being delivered in such an “and that’s the end to it” kind of a way.  I think it came as a surprise to other people too as a discussion then ensued as to what discipline is.  Despite the many Smart Phones around the table, no-one managed to summon up definitions for anything before it was time to go and, being the kind of person who likes to have loose ends all tied up, I looked things up when I got home.

In case you are interested, the Chambers Dictionary (9th edition) definition of procrastination is “to defer action; to put off what should (we don’t like that word) be done immediately.” and the Chambers Thesaurus (3rd edition) has, as the opposite to procrastination “advance, proceed”. Discipline simply doesn’t come into it.

Discipline is defined in Chambers as “training designed to engender self-control and an ordered way of life.”

So rather than being the  opposite of procrastination, discipline could be a means out of procrastination and into action … for some people.

For other people, it may be useful to consider that everything we do, we do for a reason.  Even not-doing.  Which is what procrastination is.  And it may be helpful to simply accept that we are not-doing, at the moment, for a reason.

For myself, sometimes, when I finally get around to doing something that I have been deferring, I realise that whilst I was not-doing, my wonderful brain was working out the best way to do it.  Quietly, in the background, unbeknownst to me.


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  In my opinion, should is a word that could usefully be removed from the English language.  Why?  I hear you ask.  Well, to me should is one of those guilt words that implies that I have either done something wrong or not done something right.  (Should know better, should have got that finished by now …)  It implies judgement … in the negative.  The should word is simply not helpful.

Louise Hay has a should exercise in her book “You Can Heal your Life” that I have found really helpful for myself and for passing on to others.  Here’s what to do.

Get a blank sheet of paper and at the top write “I should …” then underneath that write as many ways to finish that sentence as come into your mind.

When you have finished, read the first item to yourself starting “I should” and then what you have written.  Then, very gently, just say to yourself “why should I?” and see what happens.  Then go on to the next item on your list and repeat until you have covered your whole list.

When you have completed that part of the exercise, put the “I should” list to one side and take a fresh piece of paper.  At the top write “If I really wanted to I could …” and then finish that sentence as many times as feels right for you.

And then, if you really wanted to … you could just burn the “I should” list …

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