In the late 80’s, one of the most sought-after toys every kid would love to have was a transformer action figure. Everyone in school has one and I remember this vividly because when I was in grade school, we were allowed to bring toys on Fridays and every single kid in class would bring their own. Others would even bring more than one so if you didn’t own a transformer, you’re not cool!
The original Hasbro transformer toys were a bit pricey back then and coming from an average-income family, I didn’t instantly have one of my own until a bit later so I was initially content with admiring what other kids brought.
The time came for me to have one of my own as a reward for getting high grades in almost all of my subjects. I was expecting an Optimus Prime or a Dinobot for a job well done so I waited patiently for my dad to arrive from work. I finished all my homework early so I can focus on playing with the new transformer I was about to receive and as soon as I heard my dad come through the door, I wasn’t able to contain my excitement and asked for my new transformer. IMMEDIATELY!
I can see in my dad’s face that he wanted to surprise me but after seeing his little boy’s enthusiasm and energy, he simply smiled and told me to open what was inside the plastic bag. I was so excited so I wasted no time in unwrapping what’s inside that white plastic bag my dad was holding and when I was finally done, out came…SIDESWIPE.
Sideswipe was the red Lamborghini who wasn’t as popular as Optimus Prime or Bumblebee was for that matter. He didn’t even have a decent exposure in the cartoon series!
Was I disappointed?
You bet I was!
Optimus Prime was the only character running through my mind the whole day. I’ve imagined transforming him from a truck to a robot and vice versa. My dad might have sensed the look of disappointment in my face so he said:
“Sorry son, the robot you requested for is a bit expensive and out-of-stock.”
We’ve all been through this situation before where we expected something to happen the way we pictured it in our minds only for everything to go the opposite. We were almost sure that what we envisioned will become a reality only for the result to be completely different.
Sometimes, it is our high expectations that cause us unhappiness. It’s what turns our excitement to big disappointment which, unfortunately, others do not handle well which is why it is better to lower our expectations sometimes and here’s why.
Life itself is unexpected
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You’ll never know what you’re gonna get.”
This was the quote made popular by the movie Forrest Gump and it just about sums up the reasons why we shouldn’t expect too much. This is not to say that we all should think negatively. Of course not. What I’m simply saying is that no one knows what life would bring. No one can predict what will happen tomorrow so it would be a big help to lower our expectations so that if life does not agree with the outcome we are hoping for, it wouldn’t be too difficult for us to pick ourselves up from the disappointment.
Isn’t it funny that sometimes we’re so certain of the outcome we have in mind and all of a sudden, life plays a cruel joke on us and everything blows right in our faces? I’m sure you have your own stories to tell because all of us have had our share of failed expectations at one point in our lives.
Peace of Mind
Having lowered expectations also lower the stress that failed expectations bring. Not worrying of what you’re expecting to happen makes you more relaxed instead of being pressured by your preconceived notions of what should or should not happen.
Take for example a pending job application. I would always recommend positive thinking every time but not in a sense that you’re positive that you will get the job for sure. Just keep an open mind and manage your expectations. If you get the job, then that’s great but if you don’t, it’s still great because you were realistic that each applicant had an equal amount of chance of getting that position (at least from your point of view). No one was shoe-in for that job when you all applied for it.
If you were promised the job and didn’t get it, that’s a whole new story.
One of the most common source of disappointments in people is when they react differently to how you were expecting them to. We get disappointed when we expect our loved ones to support us with our dreams for example but then get disappointed when we realize that sometimes, even the person closest to us may not agree with what we want.
I remember joining an MLM (multi-level marketing) which required selling of products. My instinct was to get my family and friends to be my first clients because I was so sure that they won’t let me down and that they will support me in this endeavor.
I got the surprise of my life when not everyone, especially those I really expected to be on board, bought from me. Even if it meant buying out of sympathy.
You’ll find that you will have better relationships if the expectations are kept in check. You should always remember that we cannot control other people’s emotions but we can control ours and this is applicable to our wives and children as well.
I used to be really bummed by failed expectations primarily because I always expected too much. I was the kind of person that if I do something and I thought I did everything by the book, that I will get what I expected to happen and this is simply not true.
To quote Kevin Arnold of the The Wonder Years fame, Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect them to.
Have you ever lowered your expectation on something you initially had high expectations for?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave your comments and feedbacks below.
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