Expectations… yes, good to have them
Living without expectations sounds as a good idea.
Mindfulness. Transcending. Being at peace.
For myself, however, as much as I found these ideas attractive and noble, I would have been bored if my life was ideal.
I find it attractive if I am in the flow, actively exploring. I enjoy swings of a pendulum to both sides to re-define where my balance is, even though I may hate of a particular moment of my life.
It was not always like that. In my turbulent times I was attracted to the idea of peaceful meditation. I aimed to have no expectations. I wanted to become even in my emotion and my ride.
When I seemed to have arrived at this point, I was disappointed. I felt life-less. While I was able not to be painfully affected by hardships, I found it also difficult to enjoy my life. “Why bother about anything?”, I thought. “Why bother to make a difference?”
Nowadays, I remind myself that I can choose. There are times I have no expectations and there are times I choose to exaggerate them. I appreciate my ability to choose what matters.
I really enjoy to exaggerate my expectations.
For instance, if I play a board game with kids, I will sometimes set myself to win. During the game I will keep announcing myself as a winner, loud and clear, to the annoyance of my kids. I will be telling them how great my strategy is. Or how smart i am.
I will be declaring myself as the Best. Ever. In the world. Of course.
I will make crazy dance moves to proclaim my victory. Or make cheers to myself. The game becomes a drama, a play between us all. Every time different, though.
At other times, I will set myself to loose the game and to be devastated. I will really feel the loss, proclaiming the defeat as the worst day of my life. The kids will try to cheer me up. Usually in vain. They will become creative to find ways to make me laugh again. It becomes a drama, a play and an experience.
Why to do that?
There are two main reasons.
First, to add spice to life. To make it more interesting and unpredictable. To learn how to take a different, much less serious perspective to what is happening. Of course the drama is not real but my kids get it even though they seem to succumb to it. They pick it up as an extra game to play and find it thrilling.
Secondly, the exaggeration is big on purpose. It provides an example of how to re-frame life events and change context. it is so ridiculous that it reminds that everything is an experience,. Subject to my interpretation.
As a result, when unpleasant things happen and kids throw a tantrum or feel devastated, I have a common experience to rely on. I can bring the feelings from these exaggerated expectations of, say ,our board games. I let them realise that they can choose to take a very different, outrageous or silly perspective to what is happening.
… to grow at fast speed
Circumstances and possibilities are ever changing. I want to both take care of my goals to reach them, which means I set my expectations high, but I also want to be able to let go if things go off track. For me this is about the dance of yin and yang, being focused but flexible to actively respond to the adventures in life.
There are times indeed when life is hard. Money is tight, job is horrible, health is challenged and there is crisis, seemingly on all levels. There are the responsibilities but the mind has little capacity or space to transcend the rut and stress. In such situations I used to fight back. And I still do. With little results, usually.
But ….. sometimes … when I am more conscious I am able to change my view and say, “Hey, let me exaggerate this experience! Let me soak into it, drink it, breathe it and become it.”
In other words, I do what I can to intensify the experience and the feelings. The work. The run. The rut.
I feel them in my bones. I breathe them. I surround to them.
When I do this and have been doing this for a while, there comes the time when I can finally say “That’s it.” “I’m done.” The intensity of the experience allows me to reach the saturation point sooner than later.
This is the moment when all parts in me, the Body, Spirit and Soul have had enough. They are open to talk to each other and explore a new avenue. This is the first moment when a transformation may occur.
The same holds for any goal you set for yourself. The exaggeration aspect works on two levels.
You can choose to follow fastline by immersing yourself into the experience in all your power and might.
If you choose to run, run like crazy. Set yourself to win. Take part in all sorts of marathons, runs or triathlons. Train to win. Intensify it.
If you choose to get a degree, or learn a new skill, intensify the learning. Embrace the challenge . Learn in all ways possible, at depth and at width, from books, websites, and peers. Listen to podcasts. Get the context. Find your tribe. Practise in all circumstances. The uncommon ones.
If you choose to run a community website or be a volunteer, become the leader, instead. Take action, lead projects, give others the tasks to do and search for others to join the team. Fully embrace the challenge.
Even though you set yourself to win and be the best, there will be many setbacks on the way. There will be obstacles and impossibilities to face and balance. You will be suddenly injured, your best teachers will leave, or personal conflicts will arise.Yes, all this and more is a part of the process.
Whatever is happening, take a step back and exaggerate the feelings, take a silly, hilarious or ridiculous perspective, so that you can remind yourself that you are in charge how you interpret the events. Your interpretation is just a colour and it can change.
These two levels speed up the process of learning. Anything you want.
When you exaggerate your expectations you really make clear to the world that there are things that matter to you. And this is what makes life more thrilling and enjoyable in the end.
It depends what you want, but I like the wild ride. What about you?