What do you expect?
Are you getting what you expect? When you go into a meeting and you expect a particular person to be difficult, are they? When you embark on a new exercise regime and you expect it to be hard, is it?
When you find a new partner do you expect them to be just like the last one, and are they? If we expect our performance to be rubbish, do we prove ourselves right?
I overheard a play leader ask a new parent her child’s name. On hearing ‘James’ her response was "Oh I have a James and he was very naughty, all James’ are naughty."
At the end of James’ first day at play group, his mum was taken aside and told that James had not behaved well and that if it continued he would have to leave. Now, was James naughtier than the other children? Or was the play leader keeping a closer eye on him, expecting him to be naughty? When he was out-of-line did it confirm her expectation of a ‘James’? If he was named Joshua, would she have paid him no attention and therefore not noticed if he was a little naughty as he learned the rules of playgroup?
The good news is that James did continue at playgroup and all the staff loved him.
The following article link is about teachers’ expectations of students. A similar study was reviewed in the ‘70s. Whilst it is about the teacher/student relationships, it applies equally to parents and their children, and to anyone who has dealings with children in their work or volunteering life.
How does having a negative expectation of something coming up in the future make you feel? Does it play on your mind, do you spend time worrying about it, seeing the negative expectation manifest in front of you? What about a person who you expect to be argumentative, difficult, angry or boring - does it drag you down at the thought of having a meeting with them?
What can we each learn when we consider our expectations of others and ourselves? What if you expect the best of yourself - what good things does that cause to occupy your mind? Could you spend time enjoying the amazing images and opportunities it conjures up for you now?
It’s just a thought.