Sometimes, it’s hard to know who – or what – to believe in. We expect that a ticket at the lottery machine will grant us an immense amount of luck. As well, we presume that our lives will primarily be filled with positive opportunities to seize, loving partnerships to admire, and grand challenges to conquer. And because we set our bar so high – in people, prospects, and possibilities – our plans and expectations generally get the best of us, especially when they fall through.
The truth is that everyone expects to win at something. Most of us expect to succeed at our job. Few of us expect to fail at our marriage. We live in a competitive society, yet success makes us lonely, and failure makes us frustrated. Somehow, though, it fails to dawn on us that competition is futile and facile. And once we’re convinced that we’ve encountered a resemblance of success, it goes to the head like some intoxicating liquor, while failure hits the heart like some powerful anesthetic. Both conditions wear off quickly, though, naturally, we try to maintain the more enjoyable state. Albeit, if we hang on too long to a false sense of triumph, we get overconfident; and if we dwell on disappointment, we become foolish. We should, of course, if we wish to be sensible, avoid setting such high expectations that depend on such remote possibilities for their success.
The most profound thing I’ve learned about expectations is that rarely are they successful. By human nature (and error), we tend to expect a lot from other people, our partners, employers, friends, family, and so forth. And what’s worse is that most of the time, we set these great expectations without any aim to grow – nor desire to change. In the end, we discover that change is inevitable, but growth is a choice. Though, there are limits to how we can ultimately grow. One cannot be blamed for inherent limitations. However, the relentless recurring resistance to change is what ultimately holds us back, stunts our growth, and insults those great expectations, after all.
There is a difference between a standard and an expectation. A standard is a level of quality that allows one to be accountable and judged by how they navigate in and throughout the world. An expectation is a strong belief that something is going to happen – in the present or in the future – or a feeling of entitlement, ownership, or influence. Most people do not live up to the expectations placed on them by others, and therefore, marriages go awry, friendships are lost, and anticipations adrift.
In many cases, we knowingly develop feelings and attitudes of expectation and entitlement. When we are denied – or deprived – of what we expected to emerge, this experience, and the way in which we experience it, causes us a great deal of misery. Having a good thing we believe belongs to us taken away (such as a partnership, job, or opportunity) come what may, bears us considerable feelings of loss. And if we allow feelings of entitlement to overpower us, we obviously lose sight of all else that’s good and divinely ordered.
Setting standards – opposed to expectations – is a blessing. Standards help us to distinguish fact from fiction and realize that there are other options in all areas of our life. We can grow to accept only those things that are advantageous to our spirit, mind, heart, and soul. Settling for less is a habit, a cycle, and a pattern that can be broken. If you want to raise your bar, take charge of your standards, not your expectations. After all, standards are empowering. Expectations are simply disappointing.
Staying committed to yourself – and your standards – takes a lot of work. Building on your strengths and actions in an effort to establish an awesome standard of living is, by no means, an easy task. No such cosmic process ever truly informs us of how things are supposed to be, present-day or in the future. All such visions and expectations that stem from them are, indeed, created by our own imagination. Tomorrow is never supposed to have a particular shape. It becomes whatever it needs to become on the basis of what we do today. The only thing that prevents today from being positively predictable is a loss of confidence and lack of faith.
It is possible to have great faith in those things that we hope for, long for, and work for, without adding such weight, as if we’ve already accomplished them. The key to success is to trust that you can acquire those things that meet your standards. Yes, you can. And what is the key to freedom? Well, simply resign from expectations. If you truly want to win in the game of life, rid of any expectations you may have of people, prospects, and possibilities. Be more accepting of things as and where they are; not where you expect them to be.
Now that a new season has arrived, what exactly are you expecting? Looking for? Waiting for? Hoping for? Yes, life can be challenging, but with a better understanding of it, we get to choose how we want our outcomes to look. You now have the opportunity to change your predictions by living through introspection – not expectation.
As the seasons change, so shall your perspective. Nothing ever stays the same. By ridding of great expectations, you may see how some old apparent losses were actually gains. Have confidence in what you know about the world…and about yourself. Then reach deep within and prepare to succeed. Above all, trust the process of change. The sky has a gift in store for you.