Thinking this whole "expectations" thing out here, I ask, "What exactly does it mean when someone says, 'It, they, he, or she didn't meet my "expectations?'" As mentioned in my last blog expectation is defined as, "a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future." It's a hope of something better than what is present. A very successful business person once told me, "My expectation is to get what I want, how I want it, when I want it, and to get all of it, I can." Now, there is quite a bit of truth in that statement! And, perhaps this sentiment is a familiar theme.
What I Wish
"To get all I can!" There is a desire in many people to do the best they can for themselves, their families, and for those they love. For example, I wish my sons succeed in their calling, are happy in their relationships, and love those around them. I hope my grandchildren all grow up healthy, happy, and productive. I wish for a lot of things, good things, and healthy things. Squeeze the last ounce of goodness out of life might be the cadence of this expectation.
What I Will
"How I want it" and "when I want it" is a matter of will. Sam Walton, the Founder of the Mammoth Walmart Empire held, "High expectations are the key to everything." In such, expectations push one to achieve. Almost all high achievers drive themselves by high expectations.
When setting expectations high in achievement, great possibilities can occur. We love to quote famous people who've achieved historically noteworthy feats. Yet, some of their noteworthiness is simply because others say it is so, and someone recorded the event. Often, many notable accomplishments go completely unnoticed.
Mrs. Majola, in Steadville, South Africa cares for thirty orphan children in her garage; the kids live there, in her garage. She lives with them, in her garage. She pushes herself to care for these children every day. Few will ever take note of her, but when asked the reason for her diligent assistance to the little ones she simply said, "Children expect parents. These children have no parents. Therefore I am their parent. I am their expectation today." Yes, English speakers do not speak English that way. But, a Zulu speaker struggling with English said those words exactly, "I am their expectation today." Significant meaning!
What I Want
There is another expectation which I suspect slays more people than helps, I suspect. Let's call it Me-Expectation, or as my friend put it, "What I want." This expectation insists that every possible event occurs on the individual's field of desire. The measurement is, "What makes me happy meets my expectation."
Once while standing in line to order a coffee at McDonald's a blustery woman pushed in front of me. With her outstretched hand holding a coffee, she exploded, "This coffee is not right! I don't think you stirred the sugar in the bottom!" Feeling a bit sorry for the worker behind the counter caught a little off guard, I softly retorted, "It's a buck cup of coffee, why not stir it yourself? A verbal blitzkrieg followed, "Oh, shut up! It's not your business." And, with that, the woman's coffee stirred, and cup firmly in hand she shot out of the shop. The center of her expectation was only herself. And, what about the server behind the counter? What about her expectations that day; job, family, and friends? What about my expectations? Just the way you want to start your day!
In this consumerist society, were indoctrinated into thinking all things should work together for me. Advertising jingles, slogans, and cultural overtones reinforce "me the center of me." I mean, if a Cat commercial on TV tells me that my cat deserves the best, and better get the best, just because my cat is my cat, where does that lead most expectations?
And, when "me" becomes the core of fulfilling my expectations, what happens to everyone else's expectations? What about he, she, him, her, them, and they? When people become mere objects of my expectations for me, don't I set myself up for disappointment? And, don't I aid in other's disappointments too?
My thoughts lead me towards this thinking these days, "Maybe, just maybe, such preoccupations with me, myself, and I ensure no one's expectations can be met; most of all mine.
Just My Thoughts,
Last Week Exceeding Expectations
Don was born in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having served twenty-two years in South Africa as missionaries with his wife Kathy, and eight years pastoring in the United States, he shares unique perspectives about life, family, relationships, and ministry.