The Paradox of Expectations

Topic: Thoughts

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Warning: You are personally responsible for all your expectations from this text

I hate expectations. And I love them.

Expectations are a paradox. They can be both a source of frustration and a catalyst for clarity.

I hate their elusive nature. They hide behind masks of good intentions and eloquent words, capable of derailing plans, disrupting deadlines, and even damaging relationships. This is what makes them frustrating.

And I love the moment an expectation is identified, it's like a fog lifting. Suddenly, just like with a wave of a magic wand everything becomes clear, and the path forward is illuminated.

when I finally got rid of expectations

What Kind of Expectations Are We Discussing?

Sometimes people expect certain behaviors and certain actions from others. They expect others to conform to their ideas. The expectation from the others that they will be in some way certain, that they will somehow definitely act. And the reality is a little bit completely different.

Let's say a person starts a new business.

And right from the start, an entrepreneur might assume that customers will instantly recognize the uniqueness and value of their business proposition. They expect customers to appreciate the charm and beauty of their offer, and to understand the benefits it provides. "How can they not understand this?"

Or a user buys some application.

When the user expects the developer to anticipate their needs and wishes, even when unclear about them.

Even using the example of writing this text - to expect the reader to grasp my thoughts without clearly articulating them would result in a poorly written piece.

This path leads to nothing but frustration and disappointment.

Possible Consequences of Expectations

The consequences of such expectations can be severe:

  • Failure to meet deadlines
  • Exceeding the budget
  • Damaged reputation
  • "All night rowing and the boat was untied" - a lot of effort, money, time spent, but there is no result
  • Continuous distress and disappointment

How is this so? These are just expectations.

Just like that.

For example, consider the scenario of a request.

It happens that there is a small request, so insignificant at first glance. It seems that the situation has arisen only now unexpectedly. And it's not that hard to do it. And this tiny request, which was not included in the agreed plan, can generally cut this whole plan in the bud.

"Author, have you lost your mind? It's about a small request. Such a small thing is harmless!"

Small situations are just a wonderful illustration. What is usually ignored turns into a huge snow globe rolling down the mountain.

The trap tightens when the requester believes that the other party is obligated to fulfill the request.

The person being asked might be busy with their own tasks, and fulfilling this small request could disrupt their schedule.

Of course, you can refuse! However, refusing might change the dynamics of the relationship, which is why many acquiesce with a forced smile and a reluctant "yes, of course".

This is how deadlines are disrupted.

Or the expectation that any request will be met with joy just because the contract is signed and the money is paid, or because friendship has been like water since childhood. "Since we have paid you the money, you will do whatever we ask." Or "I beat you away from an evil dog with a stick in childhood, you owe me."

Such thoughts may not even be realized. Everything looks very polite and decent. They hide very deeply and cunningly. But at the same time, there is an expectation inside that the other must understand, must meet halfway, must ... must ... must.

Expectations apply to all parties of the situation. So the circle has closed. Everyone expects something from others.

The Crux of the Matter

The issue is that the focus shifts from self to others - they should buy my product or order a service, OR they should do everything for me in the best possible way, OR they should understand what a wonderful and magnificent text I have.

When a person understands what they want, without considering others, they gain personal responsibility and freedom.

If we, as a company, expected our customers to appreciate our architectural solutions or our problem-solving skills, we would have ceased to exist long ago. Instead, we continuously improve our skills in coding, application development, and customer communication.

How to Handle Expectations

The key is to understand exactly what you want, without considering others. To understand the smallest details of your desire without taking into account anyone.

Then, negotiate with the other party about their wants and perceptions. Discuss situations openly and respectfully, and seek mutual solutions.

This is a universal law of human relations, applicable not only in business but also in life in general.

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