The quality of our expectations determines the quality of our actions. André Godin
One reason for the frustrations of many is our inability to clearly identify our goals and our expectations. In the absence of clear expectations, we are constantly seeking something which always seems elusive and beyond our grasp. This leads to frustrations and irritation and the temptation to keep comparing with others who seem successful doesn’t help matters either. There are others who undermine their own abilities and are extra modest by nature thereby having minimum expectations and hence achieving far less than their true potential. Of course we also come across quite a few people who are boastful, brash and overconfident and attempt to bite off more than they can chew. The vast majority of us seem to fall in one of these three categories. The successful ones are those who by and large do not fall in the ambit of any of these categories.
It is interesting to study the style of those who are successful by our conventional yardstick of material wealth, social respect and a good family life. The one common observation one can make is that all of them uniformly had some aim and focus in their life. They spelled out their expectations from life after evaluating themselves and the environment around and set themselves challenging and motivating targets to achieve. They have with single minded devotion chased these targets, often making big sacrifices whilst relentlessly pursuing their goal. Another important thing to notice is that, they pace themselves in the pursuit of their goals. This effectively means that they keep setting their own expectations higher and higher as they progress in life.
If we keep our expectations high, we are bound to feel the pressure of it and hence will be more focused on taking the right proactive steps to attain our goals. That explains the success stories of those who join the IIT’s and get into the good B schools both in India and abroad. We will also take on more challenging and efficient means to ensure that we fulfill our expectations as per our plans. We may even invest more in order to ensure that we leave no stone unturned so as to reach our expectations. The numerous coaching classes that abound are proof of the extent to which people go in order to meet their academic expectations. Similarly professionals who take a sabbatical from work in order to pursue some high end academic courses are making a long term investment to fulfill their expectations.
It is said that there is always room at the top. However if one needs to reach there, we must plan for it but keep our expectations realistic and pragmatic. This effectively means that we must make steady progress up the ladder and not try to leapfrog and risk slipping off the slippery slopes of life. At the same time, we must be able to realize our true potential and match our expectations to our inherent potential. It is also said that fortune favors the brave. So if one is brave enough to keep high expectations, then the chances of some lucky break coming ones way are equally high, because the break comes only to the one who is seeking it. One can also keep in mind the saying that ‘ if one aims for the stars, one may reach the tree tops’. Keeping high expectations would ensure that one attains much more than one’s own potential for the winds of our aspirations and the sheer power of our performance will invariably set our sails to those distant shores that we have set our sights on.
Remember: Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations Ralph Charell
- Think of your favorite social cause that you support. Identify an organization or NGO that works for that cause. Assume you want to raise funds for their charity. Think up a target for how much you will raise and the various means of raising it. Go on and try to double your expectations and raise funds for that cause and donate it to them.
- Recount 3 occasions when your expectations failed you and analyze the reasons for that. Also recount 3 instances when events turned out far beyond your expectations. What were the reasons for that and what were your feelings in those moments.
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