You Should Replace Should With Could

Some new research hints that you should change how you think about issues and what to do. Often we think about things we should do and what we ought to do is ask what we could do.

Asking yourself, for example, “What should I do with my life?” tacitly implies that there’s a right and a wrong answer to that question. It seems that the word should can cause us to think in black and white, while could reveals the in-between shades of gray. “What initially seems like a problem that involves competing and incompatible principles turned out to be a problem that can be solved when we approach it with a ‘could’ mind-set,” Francesca Gino, one of the paper’s co-authors and author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan, said in an email to Science of Us.

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