Unmet expectations lead to stress and disappointment. We all have expectations of ourselves, of others, and of life. Other people have expectations of you. How these various expectations play out impact your quality of life.
What are your expectations of yourself? Do you consider your expectations doable or unrealistic? Do you have a plan to meet your expectations?
Expectations are typically unrealistic when they don’t allow for enough time or don’t have a plan. If one’s expectation to lose 20 pounds in four months is not accompanied by changes in behavior, then it is unrealistic. It’s unrealistic for someone to expect to pass a school course without studying.
An expectation that you can have a new home built and ready to move into in one week is unrealistic. Expecting to get in shape over a long weekend is unrealistic.
All of the above mentioned expectations are doable with enough time and a workable plan. You have the ability to meet expectations of yourself. It’s the external expectations that lead to emotional strife because they are based on things outside of your control.
You may have expectations of another person but it is up to them whether or not they are fulfilled. You can’t force someone to meet your expectations. Just because you expect something doesn’t mean the other person will act accordingly.
There are a number of reasons for this. If there is miscommunication or no communication, the other person will not understand your expectations. The other person may not agree with your expectations. The other person may not have the time, ability, or knowledge to fulfill your expectations.
Your expectations of other people may lead to disappointment. When someone has no desire to meet your expectations, there is nothing you can do about it.
One strategy for reducing stress is separating internal and external expectations. By formulating a plan and then taking action you have the ability to meet your internal expectations. Although you can’t control the fulfillment of external expectations, you can influence them.
What are your expectations of life? Do you expect that things work out for the best or do you constantly expect difficulties? Do you expect to find the solution for a problem or do you expect to find a problem in every situation?
Positive expectations tend to attract positive situations and results. Positive expectations improve your frame of mind which in turn makes you a more pleasant person. This has a positive influence over the effectiveness of your communication. It also improves your patience and understanding.
Negative expectations have the exact opposite consequences. They attract the very things you want to avoid. They hamper communication and put you into a foul mood. Problems are created where none existed. Solutions are overlooked.
Solid relationships are built on mutual expectations that all agree to and are willing to fulfill. Don’t expect other people to meet your expectations of them without reciprocating. In any relationship, effective communication of expectations is essential.
In a healthy personal relationship, each individual expects to be treated well and is willing to reciprocate. In a business relationship, an employer expects competence from an employee and the employee expects to be paid.
You have a lot of control over your journey through life. You set your expectations. Keep them positive. Expect good things. Expect that all will work out. Expect that you will find solutions. Expect a lot from yourself. Set high standards.
When you stumble and fall, expect to get back up. Expect to recover from setbacks. Expect to learn, grow, and improve. Expect your dreams to come true.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2013 Bryan Golden