Has anyone ever let you down? Have you ever hoped for something to happen, only to have it not work out like you had expected? Have the results of some personal quest not met up with the vision that you had?
These types of situations are common for most people, and they can be nothing less than discouraging. Fortunately, we can minimize the negative effect on our lives by simply preparing ourselves in advance.
I’m not talking about running around expecting the worst-case scenarios that life can throw at us, but rather about releasing our need for things to always work out in the way that we expect them to. It is the expectation of – and the attachment to – an expected outcome that causes negativity when things don’t go our way. The outcome itself is merely a set of facts that we can choose how to respond to.
Managing your Expectations when it comes to People
People are not going to do what you want them to do. It’s just that simple.
Each person is an individual and they are ultimately going to do what they want to do – regardless of how you feel about it.
Each of us has friends, family members, or co-workers that we care about or depend upon, and they often do things that are in alignment with what we want. When that happens, we feel good, and all is well in the world. However, eventually – maybe sooner, maybe later – that same person is going to do something that is different than your preconceived expectations.
In that instance, since you are the one who is now experiencing negativity as a result of their actions, whether the other person feels bad about the situation or not is irrelevant. The only person whose feelings you can control are your own.
The trick to keeping yourself from having to experience negative emotions as a result of someone else’s actions is to not have any expectation either way about what that person is going to do.
You must release yourself from your attachment to any outcome that is based on someone else’s actions or inactions!
As long as you expect other people to always do what you want them to do, you will forever be setting yourself up for possible disappointment. Not because people are always going to let you down, but simply because eventually someone else’s decision will not marry up with what you think is best.
As long as you have prepared for that moment in advance by releasing your attachment to any given outcome, then you will not have a negative reaction when the time comes.
Depending on how closely the people in your circle of influence are in alignment with your own desires, this trick may be something that you need to do on a daily basis, or it may be something that you only need to do once in a great while.
The takeaway point here is that although depending on other people is an integral part of most social networks, being attached to outcomes that are based on other people’s actions is a strictly personal decision that only you can make.
Managing your Expectations when it comes to situations that involve more than one Person
Okay, so you’ve figured out how to deal with the friend, family member, or co-worker who has been causing angst in your life. However, what happens whenever there are several people involved?
A good example of this is a job interview. If you go to a job interview and meet with one, two, or even half a dozen people, then you will either leave that interview feeling good about your chances, or feeling like you didn’t get the job. However, in a situation like that, those 6 or less people may not even be the people who make the hiring decisions.
Regardless of how you feel the interview went, you won’t know if you got the job until they call and tell you that it’s yours. That being the case, how do you manage your expectations about that situation, especially if you very much want that position?
You release yourself from your attachment to the outcome.
If you expect to get the job, but then you don’t, you’ll be disappointed. However, if you take a “whatever happens, happens” attitude, then you will not be upset if the job offer never comes through.
I’m not saying that you should just go through life not wanting any given result, but rather that you should not be attached to that result. If the job offer comes through, then great. However, since you are not emotionally attached to whether or not you get that job, you will not experience negativity if it doesn’t happen.
There are countless similar situations that involve interacting with groups of people, and you may or may not be able to influence the outcome. In such cases, managing your expectations will shield you from any potential negativity that is caused by the other group members not taking the action that you want them to take.
Managing your Expectations when it comes to your own Results
Being able to handle the ins and outs of dealing with other people is a great skill to have, but what happens when you are the only person who can control the outcome of a given situation? What if your success or failure is 100% in your own control, and you are working towards something that you desire very strongly?
In order to manage your expectations when it comes to your own efforts, you can safeguard yourself against negativity by:
- Being realistic about the potential outcome of your efforts
- Leaving a buffer for unexpected circumstances
As far as being realistic, this is a critical first step whenever you begin a new endeavor. If you set up unrealistic expectations for yourself, then you will potentially set yourself up for a let down whenever you are unable to live up to those expectations.
If you decide that you want to lose 30 pounds before your high school reunion, it is just not realistic that you are going to do it in 30 days – I don’t care what the infomercials say. By pinning your expected level of self-confidence (not to mention your dress size) on the unrealistic expectation of losing 30 lbs in 30 days, your self-confidence will instead take a brutal beating when you show up to the reunion dejected because you didn’t hit your weight loss goal.
Financially, the same thing applies. If you want to become a top blogger and make thousands of dollars per month, but you only give yourself 90 days to pull it off, you will have set an unrealistic expectation for yourself, and you’ll have to face that music when your 90 days are up and you aren’t rolling in the money yet.
As far as allowing yourself a buffer for unexpected circumstances, this is another great way to keep yourself from becoming the victim of expectations that were not met.
Using the above example of weight loss, what happens if you get sick or injured during that 30 days? There are many weight loss roadblocks that can be hurdled, but getting sick or injured is bound to put you behind schedule.
The same thing applies to a financial goal. Even if you do manage to start bringing in a lot of cash with your new blogging business, what happens when your car breaks down, your roof starts leaking, or you get laid off from your job? Obviously any of those things would seriously slow down any financial headway that you had gained with your blogging business.
In each of the situations described above, there is one common denominator, and that is to be mentally prepared for unexpected circumstances in order to keep those circumstances from causing negativity in your life.
That does not mean that you should focus on a potential negative set of circumstances, however! Us conscious creation junkies are aware that what we focus on will eventually manifest into our lives.
However, there is a big difference between focusing on a negative outcome, and being prepared for a negative outcome. By learning to differentiate between those two concepts, and by learning to let go of your attachment to any given outcome, you will find that your life is full of more positive moments than negative moments.
That is an expectation that you can enjoy managing!