Pay attention. I am not kidding. Really.

Tag: appropriate behavior

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. (Part 3)

photo of young woman and a desk full of bills

Probably not enough Should I? questions.

Can, Should, &
“Oh well, you only live once.”

Nowhere is this trend of doing what we can – just because we can – of greater concern to me than in the way we spend money. As you’ve noticed in previous blog posts, I think a great many of my compatriots have checked their brains at the door when it comes to making appropriate decisions about spending money.

Before making any buying decisions, ask Should I? And do try to be honest with yourself when you formulate your answer. You well know you’re playing head games with yourself if you quickly answer with a head full of rationalizations, especially if you’ve been doing a whole lot of everything, just because you can.

When I find myself playing this head game, I ask more questions. Why right now? Why should I buy this very minute? The answer almost always is, I don’t have to. Ah. A little breathing time, a little thinking time, so that my second answer to the Should I? question has a slightly better chance for a little more honesty. Sometimes not. If you’re like me, you may have to ask the Should I? question five or six times before Ms. Honesty shows her face.

Not asking and honestly answering the Should I? question means getting yourself in hot water with:

  • a spouse,
  • parents,
  • credit card companies,
  • your bank,
  • adult children who may have to bail you out,
  • and a host of others.

Need I point out here that getting into hot water is not exactly greasing the wheels of our relationships? Okay. Just wanted to be sure.

I could literally fill a book with more examples of people doing really stupid stuff – just because they can. So could you. In fact, maybe you should. Okay, not a book’s worth; a page might suffice. Key a whole page of things others do – just because they can – that irritate the heck out of you. And then make a note to yourself not to do those things yourself. You can’t stop there, though.

Here’s the pay-attention advice
you knew was coming.

There are boatloads of irritating scenarios you won’t think of. Here’s my humble and simple remedy: repeat the maxim just because I can doesn’t mean I should – over and over this week and next week and the week after. Make it an ingrained and instinctual habit before you:

  • dress for an occasion,
  • answer that vibrating cell,
  • slide your credit card,
  • open your wallet
  • speak, or
  • make a decision about anything.

Analytical types like to call it “intentional living.” Regardless of what you call it, adopting the habit of making conscious, thoughtful, appropriate decisions about can and should will endear you to others, continually greasing the wheels of your relationships and making your life far less stressful. It’s mind-magic that leads to relationship-magic.

Whew, this series could easily turn into another Russian-doll set of blog posts like the Odd Series. Really: I could go on till Russian Doll #864, but then you’d all be nodding off. Best to call this post the end of just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

red box of white text: "Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?" – Proverbs 17:16, NIV Bible

Wisdom = asking and answering Should I?

The next blog post is already done, as I posted it prematurely. 😒 It’s a bit of a sticky wicket, if you must know, because it’s about that thing plenty of us avoid: making decisions.

©2015, Teresa Bennett

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. (Part 2)

photo of guy on cell phone with woman beside him forced to listen – and not very happy about it

Appropriate behavior? NO!

Can, Should, &
Blah, Blah, Blah

After reading Part 1 of this can-and-should series, your mind’s probably racing. All kinds of examples of people NOT asking Should I? are popping into your head, aren’t they? Chief among them must be this one.

Just because we can swipe our finger and talk on our cell – regardless of where we are – doesn’t mean we should. I’m quite sure you’ve heard others rant about this but, apparently, some of us aren’t paying attention. Hence, the need for this post.

  • Maybe other diners don’t really want to hear our chewing-gum-for-the-mind conversation with Colleen.
  • Maybe people passing us on the street really won’t be impressed with our trying-to-sound-important business conversation, sprinkled with annoying corporate buzzwords. (That one’s pretty much guaranteed!)
  • Maybe other commuters just want a little peace and quiet at the end of an exhausting work day.

The should question
of these scenarios
is oh-so-easy:
“Will I annoy others
if I talk here?”

If the answer’s yes, then the appropriate behavior is to take yourself and your cell somewhere private and carry on your conversation there. Trust me, the other diners will not be annoyed that they don’t get to eavesdrop on your conversation. Quite the opposite. Like the other commuters and passersby, they will think more kindly of you.

Doing what you should instead of what you can ensures your fellow diners, fellow commuters, fellow workers, etc., will not send nasty looks, negative vibes, and sarcastic remarks your way. Pay attention: life is harsh enough. Wouldn’t a little less harshness be preferable to creating supplemental harshness? Yes, well, as you can tell, that’s what I think, too.

I’d planned to be done right about here, but Hubby insisted I pass on this unsavory gem from his recent experience. He witnessed an elderly woman who had not silenced her cell phone for A FUNERAL. Yes, a funeral. When her chirping phone went off, she ANSWERED IT FROM HER SEAT WHILE THE PRIEST WAS GIVING THE EULOGY AND KEPT ON TALKING – FROM HER SEAT – THROUGH THE EULOGY. I am not making this up. Neither is my husband. Usually a laid-back, live-and-let-live kind of guy, he was still frothing about it several hours later when he relayed the story to me.

If she had paid attention to where she was and asked herself Should I?, hubby would’ve had a lower BP and no dramatic story to tell. But more importantly, she could’ve spared herself the boatload of nasty vibes sent her way and the priest’s after-the-fact reprimand. As I’ll keep saying, 

doing what’s appropriate
greases the wheels
of ALL our relationships.

Next up is my third and final example of can-versus-should (not that I couldn’t give you HUNDREDS more, you understand). It’s the one that causes an astounding percentage of our population the most painful of problems. It’s also the one which could so easily be avoided by simply asking Should I? I’ve touched on it in an earlier blog post. It’s a prevalent problem that, more than almost any other, most definitely should be run through the filter of Should I? So please pay attention when, for one last time, I harp on just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

©2015, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: "Do nothing without purpose." – Augustine

An ancient Christian’s way of saying Should I?

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