Of late, I was thinking what could be the root of many problems and found “expectations” as the real perpetrator behind most of the problems in our day-to-day life. We all have expectations and we expect others to behave in a manner that is in accordance with our expectations.

Parents make a good example. They expect their kids to perform well in the school, get good grades, get admits to top/ivey league schools. And their expectations doesn’t end there. It is just the beginning. They expect him/her to work in a top company and move up the ladder swiftly.  They expect exponential increase in salaries. They expect him/her to marry a beautiful girl/handsome hunk and settle in life. And they do expect a lot of other things such as the number of kids that his son/daughter should have. They even expect that his son/daughter name their grandson/granddaughter that pleases them. They might expect a lot more. Everyone has expectations and it is totally correct on the parents part to have expectations on their kids. I am not saying that having expectations is crime. Its just that when we fail to meet their expectations, it causes excruciating mental pain.

On a lighter note: A project manager can be a splendid example.  A manager expects the team to finish the tasks before the deadline. He expects everyone in the team to be in office at time. He expects a lot of other things. But does the team meet his expectations? More often than not, the team fails to meet his expectations which leads to rising tempers. With this Root cause analysis (Yes, i am green belt six sigma certified, lemme boast. i don’t do this oft) i can say that expectations cause problems.

On a personal note: last week i visited someone very close to me and i expected them to share some news with me. I know the news but i expected them to share with me. They didn’t and i felt real bad. And i felt bad feeling that i felt bad that they didn’t share the news initially. This lead me to think ‘why am i feeling bad’ for something that is not in my control. And i found that “expectations” made me feel bad.

Let me substantiate my thoughts with few quotations from some great people.

‘Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed’ – Alexander Pope.

Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise. – Alice walker

Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation – Charlotte Bronte

Expecting the world to treat you fairly
because you are a good person
is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you
because you are a vegetarian. –
Dennis Wholey

Note: This post is not about self expectations. Its only about expectations we have on others and the expectations that others have on us.


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