We often learn through patterns. When something goes wrong once, you might write it off. Twice, and you’re a bit perturbed. Three times, and you’re likely to give up ever dealing with that thing again. Whether it’s a relationship, a project, or even something seemingly trivial, expectations can lead us to change our behavior. If you want to win in every aspect of your life, you can’t let this happen.
It all starts out very innocently. Maybe you move in to kiss your sweetie, and he or she doesn’t respond as enthusiastically as you’d like. You instantly take it as rejection, and you make up lots of stories in your mind. A day later, the same thing happens. You feel rejected again, and you make a mental note to expect this reaction henceforth. Every time you move in to kiss your sweetie after this, you expect the worst. Even if it works out thirteen times in a row, a rejection on attempt fourteen drives you over the edge and puts you right back in the state of mind where rejection is the norm. It’s ridiculous.
The funny thing is, there is more than likely no hidden agenda here. A bit of communication could do loads of good, but it’s usually the last thing on your mind. We’re quicker to assign blame and point fingers than we are to take responsibility and fix things. It’s confidence and communication that will instantly quell these qualms. The point is that we make up reasons to feel shot down when no one is shooting us down. This is true of intimate relationships as well as work relationships.
When you let expectation rule you, you look for the worst. You expect the worst. Even when you get many sunny days in a row, one raincloud can send you right back down into a pit of low expectations. The same is true of high expectations. When you expect nothing but the best all the time, you’re bound to be let down. So if you can’t have high or low expectations, what are you to do?
Make Your Own Outcome
Benjamin Linus said, “Destiny is a fickle bitch.” But it doesn’t have to be. When you take the guesswork out of perception, you remove most expectations, and you decide your own outcome. I don’t suggest that you rid yourself of all expectation, but don’t expect things to always work out or always go wrong. If you work your ass off, expect a little praise. You have the right to be upset if you don’t get it. But if you expect love without giving any, you’re gravely misinformed.
You have the power to make decisions every single day. From the moment you wake up to the moment your head hits that pillow, you make decisions. What do I eat for breakfast? How fast do I drive on the freeway? How do I say hello to my friends? How do I interact with my significant other? How do I react to the things people tell me? Life is a constant stream of decisions, and you are at the helm. Don’t let expectations get in your way, as you create your own destiny. Instead of letting the world run you, why not try and make yourself?