Are expectations a good thing to have? I believe they are. I believe that it is expectation that separates us from the norm – the 97 percent of Americans who remain jailed in their comfort zone. My mentor, Myron Golden, has an excellent presentation on the constant fight between desire and expectation. I’ve seen it several times and each time I learn something new from it.
Happiness is a result of our expectations. Happiness is the difference between our expectations and our reality. If expectations exceed reality, then we are happy. If not, then we are unhappy. That is a pretty simplistic formula, but relatively accurate.
So, where does desire fit into this equation? Desire is related to the present, not the future. Desire is more representative of our reality – what we live in every day. If we have it pretty good, then our desires are satisfied and our future expectations are lowered. If our current reality is lacking, then our desire is for better and our expectations are increased. Our desires and expectations today are dynamic; they change as our reality changes.
Recently I had a desire to go to Corpus Christi, Texas. I had certain things that I wanted to do – they could only be done in that city. If I had that desire today, I would have an expectation to carry out the trip as quickly as possible. If something happens, which causes me to cancel the trip, my desire and expectation still remain. We live in a world in which desires and expectations are unfulfilled on a regular basis – in many cases caused by things outside of our control.
Let’s assume that I have a medium-high expectation to go to Corpus Christi tomorrow. If I complete the trip, I will be happy. If I do not complete the trip, my emotional response will range anywhere from disappointed to unhappy, dependent on the cause. If I had control over the reason I couldn’t go, then I would be unhappier than disappointed. We control our happiness to a degree. Lower expectations fulfilled means happiness achieved – like the Danes (see yesterday’s blog).
I believe we condition ourselves to be consoled and assured in our comfort zones, that we don’t dare want to step outside and risk failure, disappointment or catastrophe. Our reality muscles our desires to accept what we have because it is what we think we deserve – what we’ve ‘earned’ over our lifetime. We set ourselves up unconsciously for accepting failure that has yet to be proved. We accept the risk of failure as 100 percent and go into avoidance mode for greater expectations –– all caused by our comfort zone’s safety and security.