What are your expectations?
“The real person you are is revealed in the moments when you’re certain no other person is watching. When no one is watching, you are driven by what you expect of yourself.”
– Ralph S. Marston, Jr.
What do you expect of yourself? What do you believe about you? Do you believe in yourself? Do you expect great things from yourself? How can you achieve any higher than you aim other than by blindest, dumbest luck? How many others will believe if you fail to set a good example if you lack the faith to believe in yourself?
Henry David Thoreau once said, “If a man believes and expects great things of himself, it makes no odds where you put him, or what you show him … he will be surrounded by grandeur. He is in the condition of a healthy and hungry man, who says to himself, How sweet this crust is!”
Believe great and wonderful things about yourself. Expect them to come true and then make yourself manifest these beliefs fully into reality and build solid foundations beneath your castle of dreams in the sky.
John Seymour put it in perspective when he said, “We all have beliefs and expectations from our personal experience; it is impossible to live without them. Since we have to make some assumptions, they might as well be ones that allow us freedom, choice, and fun in the world, rather than ones that limit us. You often get what you expect to get.”
The power of expectation is nothing short of amazing. From our tiniest wishes to our largest dreams, our expectations virtually dictate whether or not we end up getting what we want – perhaps more so than just about anything else. Expectations matter more than the depth of our desire. They matter more than our talent. They matter more than how much we deserve it.
Know a person’s expectations and you know their future. Expectations are derived from a complex combination of beliefs and experiences. As a result, they are often resistant to change.
However, I find it very helpful to become aware of my expectations. Then, I am able to see which of my behaviors are causing my expectations to shape my reality. Once I figure that out, I can modify my behavior. That’s the hardest part.
Sometimes, being aware of how my expectations are influencing my life is all I need to do to modify my expectations. If I become aware of a stagnant expectation, it helps me realize I am doing something that makes this expectation materialize in my life. I then change my behavior. This often reveals to me that my expectation was incorrect and the underlying belief then changes automatically.
Of course, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes our expectations are perfectly aligned with reality in a manner that has little to do with how we act. But being aware of our expectations allows us to actively re-evaluate them. Sometimes, our expectations have more to do with our past than with the present situation.
So if there is something in your life that you’ve wanted for some time, and it just doesn’t seem to come your way, ask yourself the following three questions.
What do I expect to happen? What do I do that causes my expectations to become reality? What can I do to allow for a different outcome?
I will leave you with one final thought. The power of expectation is so prevailing that psychologists have coined a compelling term related to this phenomenon: self-fulfilling prophecy. When we believe a prophecy, it becomes an expectation, which turns on the powerful connection between belief and behavior. This helps the prophecy become true, even if it would not have come to pass had the prophecy not been uttered, or believed.
“Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Brain Tracy
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