According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the expectation is the feeling or belief that something will or should happen. Simply put, it is how we anticipate or hope life will be. It surrounds all the areas of our life – be it our work or relationships or the way our life unfolds. It helps in forming our goals and the general direction of our life. It is how we can visualize our future.
Of all the activities in our lives, a part of the enjoyment comes from the anticipation of that event which leads us to form a mental picture about it in our heads. This mental picture is known as expectation and it can be influenced by our past dreams, hopes, and experiences. For me, having lived in the same city for around 22 years, leaving the place and coming to an entirely new location to study brings a lot of challenges along with a lot of expectations and new experiences. When you move to a new place, you expect that the place should be good, you expect to make new friends, you expect that the place you’re going to stay at, has all that you need, and thankfully all my expectations were fulfilled.
But in life, it is not every time that our expectations are met. We often have unreasonable expectations and feel frustrated and saddened afterward, because they most like won’t be met. One such example from my life would be my 12th board exams. I had waited for the last moment, in every exam, to study, and then, after the exams got over, I expected some miracle to happen and that I score high on all the subjects, which is unreasonable. Even though I was sad at first after knowing my scores, I later realized that what I expected was unreasonable and this gave me an important lesson as well that just having expectations is not enough. You have to work towards fulfilling it.
This might not always be true though when expecting from others. Many times we expect that doing nice things for our family, friends, and partners would result in them doing the same for us, and sometimes, when they don’t show the actions or qualities that we expected from them, we get upset and even offended by the fact that they don’t check all our boxes. This holds for the people of all age groups, be it a child who expects that his parents would get him his favorite video game and when they don’t agree to it, that child becomes angry and sad, or be it an elderly person who expects his children to take care of him in his old age but instead they send him off to an old age home so that they can live their lives peacefully, expectations can lead to disappointment at times.
On the other hand, fulfillment of expectations leads to motivation and happiness. Having positive expectations predicts successful performance and higher efforts which means that they enable the motivation that produces those efforts. What happens is, while thinking about the desired outcome (also known as expectation) and then thinking about the reality of what could prevent you from achieving that outcome, we sometimes motivate ourselves to take action to address the disparity between the two.
So, always keep realistic and reasonable expectations and work towards fulfilling them.
Avi Mathew Kuruvilla