The word drives everything you do. It motivates nearly all of your emotional response to almost every encounter you have. In fact, the word dictates your life. Whether you know it or not, how you deal with your “expectations” of life tends to define precisely who you are.
Whether it is a movie that you are about to see, an awards show that you are about to view, or a date that you are about to go one, what your expectations are causes you to place value over top of what you have just experienced. If the movie you are about to see has exceeded your expectations, then you would deem that movie as a good one, or even a great one. If the awards show you are watching is too long, or the “wrong” people win, then your expectations have NOT been met, and that show is what you might consider a “bad” one.
Expectation tends to define your mood at the moment, and it also explains, quite easily, why you feel the way you do right now. As an athlete, if you expect to win and do not, you become angry. As a fan, if your team loses and you expected them to win, you may become sad, or even inconsolable. Think back. Why is the “Miracle on Ice” so amazingly awesome? Because the US hockey team did not expect to win (in fact, the US team might have even expected to lose), and THAT win was so improbable that it defies logic. Conversely, historic losses usually revolve around the enormous expectation of victory that somehow went awry. The Patriots in 2007 are notorious for having an 18-1 record, with the “1” being a loss in Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants.
So why does any of this matter? Because without even knowing it, what your expectations are for nearly every part of your life defines your attitude, behavior, emotion, and desire. Knowing disappointment is knowing what it is to be human, but knowing joy is also knowing what it is to be human. How you react to the disappointment of life defines who you are, just as how you react to joyful moments defines you as well. The question is: How do you wish to be defined? As someone who takes what life dishes out and knows it isn’t all days of wine and roses? Or as a petulant child who thinks the world MUST always work out in your favor?
In today’s world it seems all too easy to wallow in self-pity, take the low road, and be filled with hatred and pessimism. Do you know why? Because it’s easy. It’s much more difficult to see the forest for the trees as you understand that life occasionally sucks, but is also much more rewarding when you understand that you have power here.
And that power revolves around the fact that having high and noble expectations is a fantastic and wonderful aspect of existence, and is worth fighting for. And when those expectations are met or exceeded, it makes life worth living. But when they are not, do not fall further into the abyss, rather climb your way out, dust yourself off, and expect to be able to start all over again.