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If you expect nothing, you’re apt to be surprised.  You’ll get it. Malcolm Forbes

We experience most of our disappointments simply because we have unrealistic expectations. Part of the problem stems from the fact that in an intensively competitive world, every one is hoping to stay on top of the heap and so our mindsets are trained to be competitive but often our skill sets are not honed to match that of the competition. While we may crave to be ahead of the competition, we may find ourselves woefully inadequate on the pitch and then the obvious outcome is failure and disappointment. The just concluded World Cup football tournament proves the point in as much as the fact that there were very high expectations from the African nations to prove themselves and yet almost all of them fell along the way. On the other hand very few people gave the Uruguayans any chance of doing well, and they surprised many including themselves with a masterly performance.

Unrealistic parental expectations are often the bane of a healthy upbringing for impressionable minds. Every parent wants his/ her child to excel in school and later in college and career. What they fail to appreciate is the natural skill sets that the child might have and even more fatal would be the parent’s inability to spot the limitations of the child. A child, very gifted in the fine arts, might often find himself /herself being chided for their ‘frivolous’ passion and at the same time goaded into spending more time on what they least like to do ; perhaps studying the languages or mathematics or social sciences. Reality TV has exposed the reality of parents visualizing their children as prodigies who will set the world ablaze with their talent. The inability of child prodigies to cope with the pressures of expectations are never given a second thought and the numerous horror stories of suicides, drug abuse and depression that plague many a prodigy are unfortunately looked upon as aberrations that happen to others.

It must be also understood that doing ones work without any expectations is not an ideal situation either. The key to motivation, for example, lies in the fact that people have some expectations of rewards commensurate with the effort and the final outcome. Similarly, it is only when one has expectations that one can set norms and targets that help us benchmark our performance. What is important is to be pragmatic about the expectations and then attaining or achieving anything more would be a real bonus that is both unexpected and satisfying. Many a time we are guilty of being underachievers simply because we subconsciously lower our expectations so that we don’t look bombastic or so that we can ‘hedge against even the remotest possibility of failure’ and then exceed our expectations by leaps and bounds and get a sense of great achievement.

In the ultimate analysis, we need to be aware that we have multiple choices in life and we need to carefully exercise our options. Too much of expectations can lead to big disappointments while too little expectations can be counterproductive in harnessing ones full potential. Be passionate, be pragmatic and be content!

Remember: Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality. Ralph Marston

Try this:

  1. Estimate how much time you will take to unscramble the following 5 words and after estimating the time start the exercise. 1.LEOAN  2. COHAV 3.RAZEG 4. LANAS 5.TSAPM  * Answers in the post dated 14th July 2010 in our sister blog  
  2. Attempt to learn 3 new playing card tricks. Practice hard and then try the tricks on friends and colleagues.  Alternatively try to learn some magic tricks and perform it in front of an audience.

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Bobby Jacob

Bobby Jacob

‘ He hopes to have a positive influence on his readers through his blog posts’

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