Expectations vs Reality

When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.

Stephen Hawking

I have said before that I personally believe Expectations to be a measure of failure, not success. They establish a virtual line-in-the-sand where one side is disappointment, the other enjoyment. Another way to look at it is as rigid, immovable goal markers, a little like most sporting events, and maths. You can work your guts out, make some really clever moves, but if you don’t get the right answer, or kick that goal, you still lose. Our world feels like it is driven by expectations.

It wasn’t always like this. I am sure that there was a time where the term “expectations” had a more general, and non-specific feel, but this has been passed on to the socially less appealing terms, ambitions and dreams. I say socially less appealing because generally speaking, these terms are considered too vague and idealistic to be useful. They are great to have, but they need to come with a schedule, a plan, or so I often hear.

Hey, that may work for some people, and I applaud them. I am not saying that this concept is wrong. I am saying it isn’t the only one, and that it may not be right for everyone.

We are living in a world that seems to be slowly waking up to itself, and its potential. People are looking past the expectations that society place on us, and they are discovering new potentials, new possibilities. I see it happening all around me everyday. Possibly because I am doing so myself.

I believe that hopes and dreams are things you can strive for, but they don’t need the extra baggage of a conditional clause. You don’t need the planned schedule, or any plan as such, yet you can still strive and make it up as you go along.

Life has a way of changing. New opportunities, new obstacles, new understandings. Life is evolving. Structured plans are often frustrated by day-to-day events, so plans are often changed. The corporate world, so dependant on Project Management principles, incorporate slippage to account for changes, delays, and the unexpected. Having a plan is useful. Expecting to be able to keep to it may not be as helpful.

Let’s put it another way. In your hands, you have a bow and arrow. Just one arrow. In the distance is a target.

  • Expectations of society: Society stands to one side and tells you to hit the bulls-eye. They also tell you that you aren’t allowed to get any closer than the line at your feet, and you have to do it now.
  • Expectations of the self: If you accept the rules and feel obliged to comply, then you are placing the same expectations on yourself. You are giving yourself the real risk of not hitting the mark, and you only have on arrow.
  • Achieve your dreams: Or you could choose to ignore society, do a little exercise, and walk, run, skip, meander, take your time, soak in the atmosphere, see the sights, have a drink with friends, make some more arrows, build a better bow… Your dreams will always be there, and you can find what ever pathway you want, until you are close enough that firing your arrow will always hit the mark.

It’s your choice.

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