Tag Archives: Expectations


This morning I was out on my normal walk. The weather was a little hotter, and a little drier than normal, and there had been a bit of a wind last night, so the visibility was extraordinary. You could see details on the mountains that you normally could only guess at. And they looked a lot differently than I usually imagine. Not that I spend a lot of time contemplating what the mountains appear through the normal haze that surrounds my small town in the mornings, but nonetheless it was interesting to see the detail and outlines that you don’t normally see.

Once I was supposed to meet a regional supervisor at this company where I used to work. Nobody that I’d spoken to had met her before, although they all had an idea of the kind of person that she was. Most had heard stories from other people who knew somebody that talked to somebody that had met her, and had the real inside scoop, if you know what I mean. One of the more interesting things about getting the inside scoop is you are never really sure if the scoop is actual information, or somebody’s secret interpretation of someone else’s imagination.

Like sometimes when you read a movie review in the newspaper, and it somehow colors your perception of the movie that you want to see. Maybe you only kind of wanted to see this movie, and the reviewer said it was the best thing to come out since “The Sound of Music,” and of course because you love musicals, you really got excited. Then when you saw the movie you were a little bit let down because the singing and the cinematography wasn’t exactly up to your standards. Or maybe you have the pleasurable experience of having a so-so expectation of a movie, and then a review you happen to accidentally glance over describes the movie as only slightly more entertaining that having a root canal by a monkey without any anesthesia for you, or the monkey. Then when you see the actual movie, it is not so bad. Of course, in light of the horrible review you read, perhaps because the reviewer wrote it after having said root canal, you are completely blown away as the movie in question beats all your expectations.

Sometimes when a company will release its earnings report, at first it seems like they are doing pretty good. Like they may say they earned fourteen dollars per share, which is pretty fantastic in today’s market. But when you realize that they were expected to earn fourteen dollars and three cents per share, and only earned fourteen, you can understand why their stock dropped seventy five percent in the first twelve minutes of trading.

I don’t know if you’ve ever met somebody before without any notice whatsoever, but it is kind of an unnerving experience. It’s like you are sitting there minding your own business, and then this person walks into your office and says “Hi I’m your new boss,” or something like that. After you spend a few seconds searching through your brain on how you are supposed to respond to this person, and you come up completely blank, sometimes the best thing to do is just simply pretend they are an old friend. Because more than likely, the other person is going through the same transderivational search in their own brain, so when you act like you are best friends, instead of imposing your reality on them, you are actually doing them a favor by filling in the blanks. And since they are your new boss, it can’t help to have been best friends with them before you’ve even met them. It can be tricky of course, but the benefits are fabulous.

So when I finally met my boss, she turned out to be pretty nice. It seems that everybody I talked to had her confused with somebody else. Maybe a character from mythology or from TV, I’m not sure. And I don’t know how long the mountains will stay as clear as they are, but I kind of like looking at them through the fog of vagueness, as it seems more romantic that way to imagine some mystical mountain creatures living there, even though nobody has ever seen them before.

How to Catch The Big Ones

I went on this fantastic fishing trip once. It was in Mexico, in the sea of Cortez. We hired a fishing boat, captained by an extremely knowledgeable man who knew the waters well. He would drive us to just the spot where we could not only catch really nice sized yellow fin tuna, but experience a plethora of other sea life that we wouldn’t get a chance to experience otherwise. Before then, I had never been deep sea fishing before. I had done plenty of fishing in lakes, and off piers, and in some streams, but never deep ocean fishing where you can expect to catch some really big fish. I wasn’t prepared for the differences in fishing for big fish versus fishing for small fish.

I have a friend that fishes for rainbow trout. He prides himself on his ability to catch a fish, and then release it without doing any harm to the fish whatsoever. He and his cousins get together and have these “hook modification” parties. They systematically go through all their fishing gear, and take all the barbs and elements of the fishing tackle that is designed to keep the fish on the hook. That way, they can remove the hook from the fishes gills without doing any damage. His philosophy is that if you aren’t going to keep it, you might as well make an effort so that you don’t harm it.

Which reminds me of a friend I used to know. He used to study a lot of really esoteric and metaphysically based martial arts. He was telling me that this one class he took, there was a really interesting instructor. He said that the secret to winning in any conflict is to completely detach yourself from the outcome. The reason is, when you have a thought of what you think is coming, your body naturally tenses in expectation, even slightly. What this does is telegraph what you are expecting to the other fighter, and if he has been able to develop enough skill, he will sense your movements. Because he knows what you expect, he knows what to defeat you. This guy said that when you completely release all expectations, you free yourself up to be open for whatever comes. That way your opponent will not be able to read you, and you will actually gain more power. The paradox is at first, when you release expectation, you feel like you are actually giving up power. And this guy said that the most experienced fighters realize the opposite is true. The more you release, the more you receive.

My friend says that the “hook modification parties” are one of the best parts of his yearly fishing parties with his cousins. They get together, hang out, and because they aren’t in any rush they can just relax and share stories and experiences. It’s really fun when you can allow yourself to do that.

Of course, those of you that have been deep sea fishing know that it’s important to let the fish run a bit, then reel him it a bit, then let him run, and then reel him in. You can’t just feel the tug, and immediately reel him in like smaller fish do. If you want to catch the big ones, you have to let their actions dictate how you will bring them in.


Tap The Power of Realistic Expectations for Incredibly Happy Relationships

Today in my neighborhood, the weather is unseasonably warm. Which is nice, because it’s still winter (or at least it was when I wrote this, now.) It’s nice to have a warm day every now and then when you don’t expect it. It breaks up the monotony of the coldness that I’m used to when I wake up in the morning. And since I try to wake up early every day, I enjoy having the sun just a little bit warmer than I expect it to be.

It’s like when I go to the movies. I am pretty easy to impress and entertain. Sometimes I read the reviews of movies I want to see, sometimes I don’t. An interesting thing that I’ve found was that when I read a particularly unflattering review of a movie, it allows me to enjoy this more, because I go in with less expectations. Like when you really expect to enjoy something, you sometimes can have an unconsciously higher standard that is harder for something to live up to.

I guess that is why on the stock market they always wait and see if earnings beat the markets expectations. Even ones that don’t make a lot of money, if they make more than the analysts have expected, then the stock will go up on that particular day. I remember a company I used to work for had a stock that performed tremendously well. The company had earnings in excess of one dollar per share, which is a lot. One particular day, when the earnings came out, they were only 99 cents a share instead of a dollar a share. Any company that earns 99 cents a share is a very financially stable company, so imagine the surprise when the stock went down almost 4 percent that day because it “didn’t meet the analysts expectations.”

It reminds me of a book I read on self improvement. If I remember correctly, it was a relationships book. And they key to having a happy relationship was having accurate expectations on what to get out of the relationship. Because when you are with somebody, and you find this person interesting, you have to make sure that you like this person because of real reasons, and not imaginary ones. Because when you start to expect reality to behave based on your imagination, and not an accurate assessment of what is out there, you can run into trouble. The book went on to say that one of the best ways to have a really good, solid relationship with somebody was to establish solid expectations based on communication, and your own observations of each other’s behavior in certain circumstances.

My friend, who is married with three kids told me about this. As soon as he learned to plan ahead for his family taking almost an hour sometimes to get ready to leave the house, he was able to make plans, carry out these plans, without having the added stress of expecting his family to meet unrealistic expectations. He said that in the beginning, when it was only him and his wife, he could kind of push for her to be ready earlier, but the more people they added to the family, the more impossible this got. So he naturally realized that the best way to reduce stress, when other people are involved, is to stand back, and watch their behavior, and plan your activities based on reality rather than fantasy.

Which I have gotten down to a science. I used to rush to the movies, buy my large popcorn and coke, then rush to the theater to sit down. It took me about three months of willpower to not eat all my popcorn before the trailers finished showing. Now I usually get to my seat just as the real movie is starting. I’ve learned to ignore the stated start times in the newspaper, and use my experience as a guide. I find that is much easier, because I’d rather enjoy my popcorn while watching the movie I came to see, rather than the movies I’ll most likely come to see in the future.


Feel Youthful Dreams At Any Age

So today I was hanging out with these four junior high school kids. Which isn’t really something I normally do, but sometimes when you find yourself in an odd situation that happens every once in a while, you can use this opportunity to learn something new that maybe you’d forgotten about. Like sometimes when you get older, you sort of forget what it’s like to be a kid, so when you talk to them, they seem to have a fresh and new perspective on things, until you realize that they are really looking at the world through eyes that you’d had before, and you’d neglected to look through for too long of a while.

So I was asking these kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. One kid said she wanted to be a nurse. Ok, sounds good. A job where you can help people, work in a hospital, wear a cool uniform. The next kid said he wanted to be a teacher. So far, so good. Help out kids to learn about life, help them to discover new things everyday. Next kid said he wanted to be a professional soccer player. Now we’re talking.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. That was before you learned that you sort of had to be good at what you want to be when you grow up. Because I wasn’t all that great in baseball. In fact, when I was as old as these kids, I didn’t even make the junior high school team. Before you feel sympathy, realize that I was kind of relieved, because by that time, I’d learned that the baseball team was always the last to go home everyday.

Kind of strange how that works out. You develop these big dreams, then you sometimes realize that your dreams aren’t really based on anything other than a wish. You sort of make your goals based on what you see on TV, which really is just a bunch of imaginary stuff when you think about it. Not that watching baseball on TV is imaginary. It’s just that they only show the fun part, or at least what they think that you’ll think is the fun part. Who wants to watch the part where they stretch and practice and line the field? Unless you really enjoy that, which I guess professional baseball players do, which is why they are professionals, and I didn’t make the junior high school baseball team.

But as you go through life and learn new things, you start to really get a taste for what it is you want to spend your time doing something rewarding, right? I don’t suppose you could be a professional singer unless you really enjoyed band practice.

The thing that struck me the most, is that you can develop a realistic view of life as you grow and learn and experience, and still retain your youthful expectation that you always have the possibility of being able to become something greater than you are. I mean, who wants to stay a junior high school student your whole life?

And the fourth kid said that he wanted to be a taxi driver, which is actually my favorite answer of them all. Because instead of saying something that he thought other people might approve of, he said something he thought would be really cool, for whatever reason it was. And when you can combine your youthful expectation of greatness with saying what’s really on your mind, you got yourself a winning combination.