Do You Accept or Expect?

By July 27, 2017Musings

I had an interesting conversation with someone recently: one that opened the door to my eyes as to why some people are continually disappointed with their results. And it has to do with the concepts of acceptance and expectation.

The word “acceptance” refers to receiving, agreeing and consenting to.

The word “expectation” refers to looking forward to and anticipating.

How many times has your expectation of something fallen short in terms of results. Why and when do we set expectations?

The following quotes speak to expectations:

“When you set expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment.” (unknown)

“I don’t have expectations. Expectations in your life just lead to giant disappointments.” Michael Landon

“Let your dreams outgrow the shoes of your expectations.” Ryunosuke Satoro

Whereas Sam Walton said “High expectations are the key to everything.”

Now, it might just be a matter of semantics, but I tend to agree with Landon and Satoro. Because when we set an expectation, we’re presuming the outcome, not necessarily contributing to its fruition. We might not be DOing anything about it. We just “expect” it to turn out. We’re being fatalistic, believing or assuming we’re powerless to alter our own destiny.

When we accept self-responsibility to make things happen in ways beyond simple expectation, we open our minds to possibilities, rather than probabilities.

When I hear people say things like, “That probably won’t happen”, “It will probably turn out all wrong” or “I’m probably going to get into trouble for this”, they are already setting themselves up for receiving exactly what they’ve predicted.

So, you might then say, if the person says “That probably will happen”, “It will probably turn out all right”, or “I’m probably not going to get into trouble for this”, isn’t that setting expectation?…good expectation?

That’s true, but the latter doesn’t allow for possibilities…it’s still setting a very distinct and clear-cut expectation, and gives far more power to fatalism and inevitability than to the power of choice, decision and action.

When we accept where we are in life, dream of possibilities, set concrete goals to achieve them, and then take action, the results should take care of themselves. We shouldn’t “expect” them. Expectation is like being a spectator. Acceptance and action mean you’re in the game. Just my two cents. What do you think?

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  • I think you can look at it both ways. In the end it comes down to your mindset. Do you expect something to happen because you’ve set yourself up to reach that goal? Or do you expect it to happen…. because? Do you accept that there are many possibilities and that your actions have an effect on the outcome, or do you accept that “it is what it is?” I think that whichever way you choose to look at it, it depends on what it means to you. Expecting something can start to be a little too fatalistic, or it can also be entitled. On the other hand, accepting can also become fatalistic. On the flip side it opens up the possibilities. Either way, life is better with possibilities!