I used to watch a comedy skit show, back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. It wasn’t Saturday Night Live but it was something similar to that. They had this skit they ran called “Lowered Expectations” about a dating sight for folks who had basically given up and would date anybody. I found it funny back then, even during times when I was single, myself. But I can imagine the scene wouldn’t play out too well in today’s demographic, given everyone’s sensitivity to every little thing under the sun. But I digress…
The topic of today’s post isn’t about comedy or that particular show, which I still can’t recall and can’t be bothered to Google. The focus is expectation, as it relates to daily life. Funny things, expectations. Everyone has them, everyone focuses their efforts on them but very rarely do they pan out. And why is that? Perhaps it’s because anything worth having in this life needs to be worked for and CAN’T be expected. But hey, what do I know? I’ve expected things in life, just like everyone else.
When I was younger, I was FULL of expectations. I expected to graduate high school. I expected to complete a college or university education, get married, get a black belt, open a karate school, be debt-free and live out all of my dreams before calmly and peacefully moving on to the next life. Of course, I also expected to see a cure for Type-1 Diabetes in this lifetime. The jury’s out on whether that one will happen or not.
Granted, I accomplished some of the things listed above. None of it was without difficulty and some augury of suffering, but most things in life are difficult. Life isn’t meant to be easy. The big piece is being able to tell the difference between a goal and an expectation. A goal is defined as the object of a person’s ambition or effort, a desired result of something that one strives to achieve. An expectation is the belief that something will happen.
There is a correlation between goals and expectation. After all, if you put your maximum effort behind accomplishing a goal, you can likely expect that you’ll be successful. But what if you aren’t? Should you EVER expect the end results of your goals to be positive? It raises an important philosophical question about one’s ability to think positively and eliminate suffering in one’s life. After all, why WOULDN’T I be succesful if I set goals and work hard at them, right?
The problem is, and I seem to utter this thought in almost every post I write, that life doesn’t care about one’s plans. Life happens REGARDLESS of one’s plans and is often counterintuitive to one’s efforts. this makes expecting a particular outcome to be as efficient as using the concept of winning the lottery as your retirement plan. It’ll work, should you ever win the lottery. But the odds of that happening are ridiculously unlikely.
My point here is that I couldn’t sit back and expect that any of the goals I described in the third paragraph to happen on their own. I had to work at them and fight to accomplish those goals. If I expected to complete a post-secondary education as opposed to putting in the hard work, there would be empty spaces on my walls as opposed to where my certifications are displayed. If I expected to achieve a certain degree of skill in the martial arts without all the blood, sweat and tears I put in, I never would have reached my previous goals and continue to work towards the ones I’ve set for the future.
Don’t sit back. Don’t expect things to happen. You need to step out into the light and MAKE them happen. I see an unfortunately high number of articles I’ve read where the concept of no longer working hard and going through struggle to achieve one’s goals is becoming a thing. What kind of new-age, snowflake crap is that? Life doesn’t happen to those who sit back and wait for it. Although it’s important to find peace within one’s own life, if you sit back and wait for the float with your expectations to arrive, the whole parade will pass you by. Food for thought… ☯️