“Diminish your expectations if you really don’t want to end up greatly disappointed and frustrated. You needn’t decrease your enjoyment.” This is what I’ve been told way too often. Then and again its got me thinking; is expecting anything really that bad? If I know I studied for an exam pretty well and nailed it in that examination room, shouldn’t I expect my effort to bear any fruit? If I aggressively elbow my way to head the decision-making table, shouldn’t I anticipate any success at all? If I push myself over the safety edge of life’s cliff, shouldn’t I expect to get the things I thought I couldn’t get done, done?
Dear good readers you’ll agree with me that nowadays we seldom expect. We live life on a short leash of false safety with regard to finding our strength. The fear of trodding on the ‘expectations path’ is instilled in us by default. We’ve been told stuff like:
¤expectation is the mother of all frustration.
¤learn early to have little expectation so that you protect yourself from ever feeling greatly disappointed.
¤do not expect rewards after carrying out random acts of kindness.
But what if you want to expect? What if you want to enter where much is anticipated? What if you can measure up to excessive expectations? What if you don’t see it as a misfortune? What if you don’t believe that your happiness grows in inverse proportion to your expectations but believe in the viseversa? Of course nothing comes easy, we work for it. And I think the worst feeling is having to put all your sweat and blood into a project and then just sit on the side lines like everyone else watching whether it’ll all pay up. If you believe you put your all why wish? Why hope? Why not just have a strong belief that it’ll turn out just fine in the end? Don’t you want to dare that? If you don’t then you’re scared.
I know our default thinking is that something bad might happen. I mean it is the best explanation as to why they came up with the phrase ‘ shit happens’. I don’t however think its our fault that we think that way. This is because this is the message we’ve received not once, not twice, but again and again until it sounds like gospel truth to us. So we step away from the boundary between hope and expectation. We’d rather remain at the side of hope a billion times than get close to expectation. And as time goes by we make mental notes never to get close to it.
Why do I have this feeling that you already have an impression of easier said than done? True? Oh yeah to think is easy but to embody is most difficult. However, it will seem hard and I won’t lie that its not scary, but then you’ll realize its not as bad as you’ve always thought. I’ve always believed the fruit is superior to its appetite. And if you believe the end result (fruit) will match your effort, then expectation (appetite) shouldn’t scare you. Taking this path might leave you alone. “Who wants to be with a person that invites disappointment and frustration with open arms? Hey, see you around pal but I ain’t gonna be the shoulder you cry on every night.” You’ll get that a lot. Therefore, only a few brave ones will go down this road. The few that know how it feels to stand out and understand that it pays to take the path less travelled. They don’t conform to what others will think or say or how they’ll react. They don’t exhibit that kind of cowardice.
When we’re told not to expect, we wrongfully imprison ourselves to a jail. A jail that has no locks on its doors. No one ever asks you not to leave. It’s a decision you have to make on your own. If you decide to leave I’ll encourage you to reach the boundary that I talked of earlier and even cross the line if you should. There’s nothing in life that isn’t motivation and that boundary isn’t any different. In an article I read recently written by Seraphine Ruligirwa-Kamara, it stated that;
This power is hiding at the boundary…we must spend tremendous amounts of time at this boundary. Yes, the very boundary that we are taught to fear. And yes again; it is scary because we could fall off…or get embarrassed. Another possibility is that we could tread carefully, weather the treacherous areas and move on to enjoy the happiness, luxury and success that is on the other side.
That other side is expectation.
I really don’t believe that expecting is so wicked a belief. It helps us raise our level of performance in the struggle to meet it by expecting the best of oneself and then do what it takes to make it a reality and never letting it waver. You will always make better exit when the actual transcends the imagined and is more than was expected. This is my favourite quote of all time.