Expectations Versus Reality
There was a story I read once about a father who always arrived home expecting a hot meal and the whole nine yards. However, that was rarely the case and he became frustrated, only to realize his expectations were too high compared with reality. The reality was his wife was at home cleaning and taken care of a child, which is considerable work. Long story short, he adjusted his expectations to the reality of the situation.
Many times we find ourselves living with high expectations. In our career, it’s healthy to have high expectations and ambitions that are possibly greater than reality. Other aspects of our lives may warrant a reality check, bringing our expectations more in-line.
Google the word expectation and you will find that it means, “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” Reality is defined as, “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.”
Now, these words must be addressed individually, then together. An example is playing baseball for the first time. The expectation would be to hit the ball consistently and make plays. Reality of the situation would be you might not be an effective ball player on the first go around. Another would be a child. We expect them to walk and talk quickly, but the reality is they will grow at their own rate.
With expectations, the definition states that something will happen in the future. This notion means our expectations can become reality. This is where the conflict begins. Not by our own doing, we are exposed to expectation all the time. From elite athletes to successful business owners to actors and actresses, we are shown what the expectation is. However, the reality is not all of us are meant for or able too obtain these levels. Being an entrepreneur takes hours of work and dedication that is hidden because it isn’t glamorous.
In order to erase this conflict between expectation and reality, we must know ourselves. Measure our expectations to the situation at hand. If you choose to start a business, match the expectation levels with reality. We all know one hit wonders are rare at best; so do not begin a business endeavor thinking you are going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Sure that can be an ultimate goal, but instead, put your expectations at the level of you will need stamina for the day-to-day operations. Willpower to persist past long nights and weekend meetings. When expectations meet reality, there is little room for stress due to misunderstanding or disconnections.
Too many times we are discouraged by the simple fact we believe our expectations to be reality. Some exercises to help adjust our thought process are: before entering into a situation, understand the reality; understand what is and what is not. Once you determine that, formulate your expectations to be in-line with reality. Our expectations tend to get us into stressful situations. By making these two factors similar, we can rid ourselves of negative pressures.