How do you manage your expectations? Do you have an expectation now about this blog? Or are you just curious? People tend to be biased all the time. We have opinions ready, even when nobody asks for them. We have high expectations about our new job, our new colleagues, our new car, basically our whole life. But why do we always have expectations? And how do we manage them? Having expectations, is it a bad thing? Or can it be used? In this week’s blog I will share my opinion why I think it's crucial to manage your expectations and give you some tips!
Managing expectations is one of the hardest things to do, if you ask me. I try to tell myself many times before going to an event, work meeting or whatsoever, to not have any expectations. However, I catch myself having certain expectations almost always. “It is going to be great”, “this is going to be the new thing!”. “this is going to be it!”. Especially when my enthusiasm hits, I always tend to have expectations. I do believe that positive expectations are better than negative ones. Let me explain why.
Some people say that it’s better to have negative expectations than positive ones, because the real event can only turn out better than how you expected it to be. However, when you have positive expectations, you will try to make the most of every situation because you expected it to be great. You want it to be great, so you try to make it great. But maybe having negative expectations isn’t too bad after all. What I believe is a true killer? Is having expectations that are too high.
Before I explain why, we have to go back to the problem. Why do people have such high expectations? Is it a trend of the last few years? Well, I believe that there is a huge correlation between nowadays Social Media usage and our level of expectations. We are always striving for the best. Average isn’t enough anymore. Normal isn’t enough anymore. Only the extraordinary talents get the spotlight we all want. We are told that we can achieve anything in life, setting us up for huge achievements. These achievements go hand-in-hand with having high expectations about that internship you have to do. About that first job you are about to start. About that study you choose after overthinking it for months.
All these factors come down to the same thing; we know a lot because of the Internet and Social Media. We are educated on almost every subject because we read, heard or saw it somewhere online. Which leaves us thinking that we know what to expect. If that expectations turns out to be too high, since it might be colored or better put ‘filtered’ by someone on Instagram, it could be a huge slap in the face.
I believe that having expectations doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. It will turn into the devil once it’s out of balance. Once you get disappointed about people, events, opportunities or life in general because it is not living up to your expectations. I believe that no one should ever get unhappy or frustrated by the disappointment caused by having expectations that are too high.
So it’s time for you to reflect for a moment now; when was the last time you felt disappointed in a person, event, opportunity etc. because you expected more? When was the last time your expectations were out of balance?
The next question is how did that make you feel? Were you frustrated? Annoyed? Maybe even angry? Get clear answers for yourself, and write them down preferably.
So why do you have to answers these questions? Because that’s the biggest tip I can give you, always reflect on your own behaviour. Being aware of how you act, feel or do is the first step to changing it for the better. Therefore, it’s important that you are aware of your expectations, and check if they are either too high or too low.
It’s hard to check if your expectations are on the high side, or more on the low one. What I would say, as a general rule of thumb, if you have the feeling that you felt frustrated or annoyed because an event or person didn’t meet your expectations more than 2 times in the last week, you expectation level is on the high side. Try to lower it for the next week. Try to go in with an open mind-set, curious to see how it will unfold. Let go of the expectations and go in to be surprised.
Do you never get frustrated or annoyed by having wrong expectations? Great! Keep it up!
To conclude this blog in general, having expectations is something that is hard not to do. And maybe not even the best thing to do. But what’s important is that your expectations are balanced. That you don’t experience negative energy because you thought an event or person would be greater, better or more worthwhile. Terrell Owens sums it up perfectly;
Have a great week and try to manage your expectations!