How many times have you walked into a situation with a set of expectations only to be let down? We all do this: whether it is a work or personal relationship; we all have expectations. But do they help or hurt? Typically, the expectations we have for others hurt us and the ones we have for ourselves can help. In other words, if you expect to get a raise when called in to a meeting with your boss but instead he tells you they are cutting back and he had to let you go; you understandably are going to be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you go into his office without any expectations but instead a curious mindset, you will be disappointed but not devastated.
How do expectations help you? When you have them of yourself and they are realistic, expectations can fold nicely into your personal goals. For example, “Bill” want to lose weight this year and has a set goal of losing 2 pounds per week. Given his change in exercise and diet, and his expectation that his weight loss will make him feel better about himself, he is more motivated to stay on target. If he tries to diet without expecting to lose the weight, he is setting himself up to fail.
So often times we have an idea or many ideas about how we think life should happen; and then it happens completely different! William Shakespeare once said, “expectations are the root of all heartache.” If we keep our expectations minimal and realistic, we have a better chance of being at peace. But how do you do this?? Follow these 3 steps and your life and relationships will be significantly easier…
- Think in terms of statistics. You have a 50/50 chance of getting what you want so you might as well no stress yourself out going into a new situation with all these expectations; and you just might get what you want anyway, you have a 50/50 shot!
- Write down 3 different possible scenarios before you enter this new situation (whether it is having a baby, a new job, a new relationship, or even getting a puppy!) Let the 3 scenarios represent one where the desired outcome occurs, another scenario where you don’t get what you desire, and the last where you get some of what you desire. Once you realize there are options, you will not be as disappointed.
- Remember it is okay and even healthy to have HOPE! Hope and expectations are different; you can hope for something to happen (I hope to win the lottery but I don’t expect to.) Again, so if you do win the lottery, you are pleasantly surprised but not devastated when you don’t win.
If you’d like to learn more about how to use your expectations to work for you instead of against you.
We must accept infinite disappointment, but never lose finite hope,” as per Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And remember , if you’re going to expect anything at all, expect the unexpected…”