#1: Could Do vs. Choose To Do
The Game has changed
In a world of limited opportunities and resources, a “could do” stimulus triggers a “must do“ reaction. In Uzbekistan, I never had free stuff offered to me the way I do at Vanderbilt: neither candy nor offers to join different organizations. So the few times someone offered me something, I read the cue as “must take as much as possible”.
When I came to Vanderbilt from Uzbekistan, I took up every opportunity to do something until I figured out I am playing the wrong game. In a world of plentitude and access to resources, the “could do” can no longer be taken as a cue for action. It would leave me depleted and directionless. “Could do” is a cue for thought, consideration, and сareful decision-making. Virtually everyone “could be“ doing a set of other things. The crucial skill is judgment. It is not about what I could do but rather the one or a few things I choose to do.