Daily Insight | YOUR Expectations Part 1

“High expectations are the key to everything…” — Sam Walton.

I would venture to say your expectations are much different today than when you were younger. As a matter of fact, if you are like the majority, your expectations are getting lower with age. Why is this? I believe it happens for two reasons:

First and yet unfortunately, life to the majority is about what one expects versus what they actually get in return; for there is more often than not a very large difference between the two. It is the continued experience of this difference that helps you form the opinion of lowering YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

Second, the influence of those around you, whether they are family or well-meaning friends, is often times not good or positive. The truth is these people are just well-intentioned dragons for when they speak their words carry a fire that has the power to burn up any enthusiasm you have thus, removing the passion and power you once had to keep you moving forward. It is best to keep your distance from these people. I am not saying to quit loving and caring for them. What I am saying is it is best if you sidestep ‘their influence.’ The way to do this is simply spend less time with them. If and when you must spend time with them make sure you are on guard for influence is subtle, but powerful.

So, in further discussing the first reason, I believe there is not only a definite connection between what you expect and what you have, but as stated above, there is also a parallel between what you expect and your age for it seems as we age we have a tendency to lower our expectations. This happens because of what you get versus what you expected. Ralph Marston tells us not to lower our expectations to meet our performance instead, we should raise our level of performance to meet our expectations and further, we should expect the best of ourselves and do what is necessary to make it a reality. Most people lower their expectations to meet their performance instead of becoming what it takes to attract what they want. Becoming what it takes means you have to become better if you are to perform better. If you perform better then you can and will expect better and conversely if you expect better you will perform better. If you lower your expectations then you are expecting defeat and according to Henry Louis Mencken, “To expect defeat is nine-tenths of defeat itself.”

On the other hand Sam Walton said that high expectations are the key to everything. He believed this even up to his death at age 74 of multiple myeloma. He always set his expectations high and was driven to achieve because of it. He did not allow failure to defeat him and more importantly he did not allow it lower his expectations. As a matter of fact after a few failures he said, “I had to pick myself up and get on with it, do it all over again, only better this time.”

So, it appears in spite of your age it is possible to continue to remain positive with high expectations. On the other hand most allow defeat to beat them down and lower their expectations. They start believing what others are saying about them or to them. It was Wendy Wasserstein that said, “Don’t live DOWN to the expectations of others. Go out and do something remarkable.” In other words, stand strong in the face of adversity and overcome it. Prove to yourself and others that you are capable of doing above and beyond. Don’t bow down or give in to it. Charles Kettering said high achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectations. Keep your expectations high and rise up to meet them. Remember what Earl Nightingale said, “We tend to LIVE UP to our expectations.”

I had a childhood friend, one of those good looking, gifted people; the kind of person things seem to gravitate to that wound up becoming a salesman for a large national firm right out of high school. He worked his way up quickly to regional manager then before he was thirty started his own rep company with a partner. In no time, they were making lots of money. Soon, he had his own plane and all the toys; then the bottom fell out of the market in the late eighties and he lost it all. After a short time of recuperation he went to work for another national firm again, working his way up to regional manager and implementing many of the ideas that had helped his own company grow.

Not too long after implementing his ideas, when it looked as if he was going to be moving further up the ladder, the company for which he worked was bought out. He later learned the ideas he had implemented helped those for which he worked sell at a major profit to a much larger company. Not only was his promotion gone, the position he held was eliminated altogether with him being replaced by a few much cheaper employees. This was not the only time it happened. It happened two more times leaving him broken and bitter. His hopes sunk like the Titanic. He even lowered his expectations to match.

Does this sound familiar? More than likely, the majority of you have never had this level of misfortune yet; the misfortune you had brought a considerable amount of frustration and discouragement. Still there are those that have had to deal with this and much more. The difference however, in those that pick up and keep going and those that do not is their attitude and expectation. The ones who keep going, eventually making it to the top do not blame others for what has happened nor do they LOWER THEIR EXPECTATIONS.

Well, as a result, my friend became disillusioned. He blamed everything on everyone else ACCEPTING NO BLAME FOR HIMSELF, that is to say accepting no blame for his thoughts or actions. What I can tell you is that every situation in which we find ourselves, whether things turns out bad or good, we have culpability. In other words we have a certain responsibility, accountability and or blame for what happens, bad or good. The sooner we recognize this the better off we will be in the long run. In the case of my friend, when you look at the facts, he obviously over-spent during the time he had his own company to the point that when the down turn came, and they always do, he did not have enough money to cover his debts or make it through the tough times.

After filing bankruptcy, he then went to work for THREE companies, where he gave his gifts and talents only to be tossed aside after he was used up. This can be likened to a battered woman marrying someone who will batter her again and again. What I want you to understand is my friend had some fault in what happened and in what continued to happen. Whether this was a self-fulfilling prophecy or the result of that which was in his heart, he played a major part in what happened. This major part could simply have been that what he feared came on him for he expected it to happen. As a matter of fact when you talk with him that is what he says, “Well, I knew it would happen. They are all the same. They just screw the little guy. I am done with corporate America and done with trying to run my own business. I keep getting screwed and I knew I would.” He was angry with and at everyone and he not only believed it would happen he feared it would as well.

Elliot Larson said anger always comes from frustrated expectations. What my friend was saying is it was everyone else’s fault. Now because it was everyone else’s fault and because he took no responsibility for any of it, HE HAD NO WAY TO FIX IT. If however, he had taken just some of the blame, some of the responsibility, then there is a good chance he could have overcome each and every obstacle he faced. His expectation would have caused him to live up and perform to what was necessary to succeed and win. He would not have allowed OTHERS to dictate what his life would turn out to be, which in essence is what has happened.

Do you see a correlation in what you have and your expectations? What are you going to do about it?

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox