Friday, January 16, 2009

The Futility of Expecting

By Ichak Kalderon Adizes, PhD.

When you were young and went on one of your first dates, if you expected to have sex it usually turned out to be a very uncomfortable date. You were pushy and manipulative. The whole scene became ugly. You expected an outcome you believed you should have been able to control.

How about at work?

You interview someone for a job. He vibrates that he absolutely expects you to hire him. He even shows a bit of displeasure if the interview goes in the wrong direction. You might cut the interview short, and surely wouldn't hire the person.

You probably know people who go to a restaurant and are annoyed if everything does not go "as expected." They are too aggressive, not pleasant to be around.

What is going on?

It is ok to want, but not to expect.

What is the difference?

Wanting means that you are alive and you would like to see something happen but you do not assume that it must happen. You do not assume you can and should be able to make it happen.

When you expect, when you wish, and even when you pray, somewhere deep inside, you assume that if you try hard enough it will happen. So it is up to you to control the situation. If it does not happen, you are annoyed at the other entity for not doing what you expected or prayed for. You get annoyed at God for not responding to your prayer, at your children for not fulfilling your wishes, and at your spouse for not living up to your expectations.

In truth, you are annoyed at yourself for failing to deliver what you believed you should have been able to deliver.

You must stop wishing, expecting and praying. It makes you miserable. Why? Because there is no end to wishful thinking and thus there is no end to expectations that will get unfulfilled.

Do your best to reach what you want and if it does not happen, go take a warm shower and relax. Assume it was not supposed to happen. Recognize the fact that you are not omnipotent. Realize that you can't control everything.

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