expectations can only hurt you

Generally speaking, the word ‘expectation’ can carry both positive and negative connotations. Expectations can be slim or great, but in my opinion they are always bad. Let me start by explaining what I think what an expectation is. Keep in mind that I am no linguist, English is my second language and my SAT scores presented me with the opportunity to pursue my education at the University of Montana. Expectation, to me, means expecting something to happen (good or bad) based on what happened in the past. Expectation has little to do with what is happening right now, and unfortunately, has no impact on what will happen in the future. All it does is put a lens (good or bad, light or dark, specific or blurry) on what you think should happen in the future.

If your expectations of something are negative, well, then that obviously sucks and won’t make you happy. But even if your expectations are great, well, then that isn’t a positive thing either. Because if great things happen, then you expected them and likely won’t enjoy them as much as you should. On the other hand,  if things don’t turn out like you expected them to, then you will be disappointed. I’ll give you some examples.

You meet a stripper, you fall in love with her. You met her as a stripper, really didn’t have any expectations and just see her for who she is. That’s a good thing, and really the ideal way to fall in love with a stripper.

You meet a girl. You fall in love. She becomes your girlfriend. You marry her. Then you learn she used to be a stripper. Your expectation of your wife wasn’t that she used to be a stripper. The fact that she used to strip now hurts you. What hurts you isn’t that she used to be a stripper but rather the expectation you had built up in your mind. The same thing oftentimes happens in the workplace.

At WONGDOODY, we have summer hours. That means every Friday in the summer (assuming you got your work done), you can take the afternoon off. Totally awesome and something you don’t necessarily expect from your employer. As a matter of fact, my last employer didn’t have summer Fridays and it’s not like it was something I expected. Now, if WONGDOODY were to take away our summer hours (even if it’s for the right reasons), that would disappoint people.

Why? Because of expectation. One last example. It’s weather related.

I live in Southern California. It’s always sunny. Actually, I expect it to be sunny. When I wake up in the morning and it’s sunny outside, that doesn’t bring a smile to my face. Compare that to when I used to live in Portland. It always rains. When I woke up in the morning on a beautiful sunny day, it would bring all sorts of smiles and energy to my life. Why can’t I have that feeling here in Southern California…because of my expectation. Maybe there are good examples of expectation. I would love to hear about them.

But from what I can tell, expectations are always bad. Myself, I am going to try and turn them off.


  1. Anonymous October 29, 2010 at 5:59 am

    So true.
    Another one is when you expect a restaurant meal to compare to your mother’s cooking just because it’s an expensive one. No one in the world will ever make a better meal than your mother’s, or at least mine.

  2. Anonymous October 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Ja, ja das gute Essen seiner Mutter wird man niemals vergessen. Das ist eben überall Familientradition!!!

    Deine Mama!!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous November 2, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Do you have any expectations for yourself?

  4. Anonymous November 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Kristie, great question. I do.

    To be happy.

  5. Anonymous November 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Oh Mario der wenig Deutsch Buddha. I think it’s good to have positive expectations and to go through life with that way, the problem with expectations comes when something you expect to work out a certain way doesn’t and you allow that to negatively impact you. For example, I expect everyone to show respect, treat me fairly and be kind. Obviously this is not always the case and in fact people sometimes are disrespectfull and hurtfull but it is always on me as to whether or not I will accept their disrespect or simply ignore it and continue on with my life just as I was. If my expectations are not met in one instance, that doesn’t mean I should simply abandon my expectations in the future.

    I think it is important to expect the best in everything and to be the best you can in return but if from time to time things don’t work out the way you expect it is even more important to accept things the way they are and neither be dissapointed nor discouraged. Embrace and welcome the positive things in life and let the negative things slide away and always remember that everything in life is a matter of perspective and is firmly controlled by your own mental perception.

    And seriously, one more thing, if it’s sunny and warm every day in LA and you are are not smiling about it i’m going to fly down there and slap you! Every day you wake up I want you to remember that i’m sitting up in Gillette Wyoming and it’s cold, windy, flat and the best place to eat for a vegetarian like me is a actually a BBQ joint, that should bring a smile to your face.

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