February 09, 2004
Esther Derby writes:
From Jerry Weinberg on his SHAPE forum:

Don Gause taught me the wonderful substitution algorithm:
Whenever you see “should” in a requirement, change it to “probably won't.”

When the new year started, and I had an entire month booked to be in my office. An incredible luxury of time to reflect and write!

Every day I headed for my office and said “I should write today.” And then I didn't.

I replied with this comment:
Interesting post.

In a counseling environment, ‘should’ is usually an indicator of what some call ‘toxic shame’ -- an emotion reflecting beliefs about myself that are not true or exaggerated and hateful. “I should be more organized.” “I should have thought about that before.” --> “I'm a slob.” “I'm an idiot.”

Sometimes it's proper shame/humility (“I need to be more responsible with my stuff” “I need to be more careful before I make decisions”), but sometimes it's not.

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