In this article we will discuss how expectations are often not reality and how this can keep you from being successful. We’ll look at why this is so and what you can do about it. In the end, you want your reality to meet your expectations in order to succeed.
Expectations about people, things, and events are based on interpretations
We interpret, for example, that people will do what they say they will do. Then they don’t. The stronger our expectations, perhaps based on our belief that “you should trust people”, that people will keep their word, the more those expectations will get us in trouble. Why? People, most people, don’t keep their word, not even to themselves. They promise this and that and don’t deliver. To be successful, you cannot afford to expect and rely on most people keeping their word. Successful people, for example, measure people by their trustworthiness and still draw up clear contracts for doing business. They know that people and things evolve and change unpredictably. They know not to expect constancy of people, things, and events.
There is a difference between what happens and what we expect will happen
Successful people know that interpretations rule reality. They know that they have their own interpretations and so do the people they engage with. Successful people know they cannot control other people’s interpretations and therefore their decisions and actions. And, they know that most of what is happening is not what they intend.
Successful people navigate this unpredictable, ever-changing world by remembering and acting from at these four key principles of living successfully:
- Be responsible for your interpretations. Know you are interpreting 99% of everything. Through what filters are you looking? Those filters determine your expectations. Do you see the world as half full or half empty, as orderly or chaotic, as a place to comply or breakout of? Whatever your view, and you can make a case for any of the views, it shapes your world. So, “know they self”! Dig deep and get to the typically unknown “dark shadows” within yourself that negatively impact your expectations and how you see and experience the world.
- Face what you don’t like, what is hard, and solve the problems. When working and doing business with people, remember, most people choose the status quo if they don’t like the solution to a problem. Don’t be like most people. Physical exercise and weight control are good examples of solutions to overweight conditions and that most people don’t like to address. We can all name many more examples of most people avoiding solutions.
- Learn what is best for you and hold yourself accountable to what is best for you. Most people are not accountable. They are not accountable for their word (what they say and promise), for example. Most people think that if they have a good explanation for why they broke their word (the traffic, the weather, an “emergency”, forgetfulness, you name it), then they are off the hook. They don’t realize that it is their WORD that makes them who they are. When it comes to trust and dependability, your word is the foundation of successful relationships. Most people are not clear on what’s in their best interest and because of that they certainly don’t want to be held accountable to what will help them be successful. Most people will make decisions based mainly on their emotions rather than some good reasoning. If they don’t like something (emotion based), they will avoid it. Hold yourself accountable to what is best for you!
- Deal with the unintended results. Don’t expect that what you intend will happen. Know that life is unpredictable. Be willing to deal with your unintended results. That is life. Get good at being flexible and rolling with what shows up. If something “is,” deal with it. “It is what it is.” Stop wasting time complaining about it, being upset by it, and wishing it to go away. Deal with it. Then move on. Successful people train themselves to expect the unexpected and they deal with it accordingly, as just the way it is. Remember, you can “make lemonade out of lemons”.
To have your reality meet your expectations, expect that things and people will not necessarily turn out the way you expect. Embrace what shows up as the reality. It is reality. Learn to expect the unexpected. Allow for it. Roll with it. Move on from your intended expectations and deal with what is present reality. Let go of what you expected or what “should have been.” The sooner you let go of the past and embrace the present, the sooner you can do what will work now. Successful people know this and practice this. Commit to being unlike most people. Allow for the unexpected. In this way, you are not victimized by the unexpected. “Victims” are not successful.