Alter your perception by focusing on one word

You guys have been doing a great job of giving me a lot to think about lately. Keep it up.

Today it came from my good blogging buddy El Guapo, who was kind enough to drop by to share his wisdom.

He left a really interesting comment on the results from the adventure poll we took the other day.

“In a wider sense, I’d also add misperception to the list. I have a perception of what life should be, where Alex just goes out and makes it what it could be.”

Guapo was referring to Alex Autin’s approach to life. She’s experienced a lot of cool things, such as living on a yacht off the Great Barrier Reef for a week. For free. Does Alex think in terms of “could” more often than “should”?

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a difference between “should” and “could.”

But once you really start contemplating your own misperceptions in life, you might realize the difference between “should” and “could” is enormous.

“Should” is restrictive. It will hold you back. If a situation or an opportunity doesn’t fit within the parameters of a carefully defined perception, someone with a “should” mentality might pass it by.

“Could” is ultimate freedom. Imagine the endless possibilities. If a situation or an opportunity doesn’t fit within the parameters of a carefully defined perception, someone with a “could” mentality might approach it with curiosity and excitement.

Try it out for yourself next time an adventurous opportunity presents itself. Instead of saying something like “I’m too old for whitewater rafting and I should probably sit this one out,” say “I only live once and I could experience what this wild river has to offer.”



  1. As a counselor I try to get people to eliminate the word, “Should.” This is a great motivational post, Eric. Sometimes something as insignificant as what we tell ourselves can make all the difference in the world. “Should” has a negative connotation and takes the hope and spontaneity out of life. We’re already so bogged down — do we really need to pressure ourselves further, especially for something as important as adventure?

    1. It’s pretty amazing how one word changes everything! Now I’m curious how many other “should vs. could” type words or phrases are out there.

      What kind of counseling do you do?

  2. Another great post Eric. ‘Should’ equals obligation, it’s want we think we ought to do. Could is good, only when it isn’t followed by ‘but’ or ‘if’.

    Some other ‘Should vs Could’ words/phrases:

    ‘Want’ vs ‘Need’ – Often the ‘things’ we think we NEED stand in the way of getting what we really WANT.

    ‘Life’ vs ‘Adventure’ – Is ‘life’ that thing we do everyday and ‘adventure’ that thing we do only as an exception?

    ‘Freedom’ vs ‘Security’ – Being free, really free…not just the flag waving kind of freedom, but true freedom is scary. There are no safety nets. It’s very cliche to say ‘live for today, live like it was your last day’, it’s cliche because most of the people who say these things…don’t actually do it. In fact, if they thought about what they’re really saying it would scare the piss out of them.

    Oh oh…I feel a rant coming on, I’d better shut up now! : )

    1. Rant on, Alex, rant on!

      I suppose there are all sorts of “should vs. could” phrases. You picked out some good ones! I particularly like “life vs. adventure.”

      You really start to understand how deeply impacted we are by simple words when you start thinking like this.

      1. Seriously…you DO NOT want me to start ranting here. ; )

        These recent posts of yours have really made me do a lot of thinking….thinking about thinking, if that makes any sense.

  3. I agree with Alex. Your recent posts gave a me a lot to think too, especially on that adventure poll result where EXCUSES does look like the only reason we have for more adventures. I chewed it and that made all the difference.

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