Winning the war of expectations


We have needs, wants, and expectations. We seek order in a chaotic world…every day. However, expectations can ensnare us in the trap of disappointment, anger, or defeat. Despite our lifelong experience, we’re actually surprised that things don’t work out sometimes! Really? Yes- I do the same thing. But consider this. Lucius Annaeus Seneca put it this way. “Expectations are the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, we lose today.”

But wait! Shouldn’t we have expectations? 

Certainly, but the right kind of expectations. If we only feel secure, happy, or at peace when our expectations are met we’ve become a slave to outside forces we don’t control. 

Dean Martin sings of happiness that transcends circumstances in the legendary song, You’re no body ’til somebody loves you. Dino croons “The world still is the same, you never change it.” Let that sink in for a moment. 

Most of what happens in the world is outside your control. The second-century philosopher Epictetus is recorded as saying, “Circumstances do not rise to meet our expectations. Events happen as they do. People behave as they are. Embrace what you actually get.” Misery and frustration are born from waiting for things to be a certain way. Freedom is found in wishing for things to be as they are.

Don’t ditch your expectations for yourself, your sales goals, or personal improvement. Instead, be watchful lest you attach your expectations to persons, things, and events outside of your control. Cut the cords of expectation to those things over which you have no control and watch your happiness grow.

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