How ‘Should’ Makes Us Stupid — And How to Get Smart Again

Jane Elliott PhD
Published in
6 min readFeb 26

As soon as we tell ourselves we should be doing something, we turn off the part of our brains that can help us actually do it. Here’s why it happens, and what to do instead.

Egg frying in pan with smoke emerging.
This is your brain on ‘should’. Image credit: SuratWin, iStock

If you’re not sure if you tend toward a deficit mindset, all you have to do is pay attention to how often you tell yourself you should have already met some external standard of behaviour.