You get what you expect
John was dying. He knew he had months at most to live and, at age 68, he evaluated his life for the first time. He remembered a quote from a book he read years ago by Neale Donald Walsch that went, “Somewhere between the ages of 40 and 50, most people give up on their grandest dreams, put aside their highest hopes, and settle for their lowest expectations… or nothing at all.” John sat in his chair and, with tears in his eyes, asked, “Why did I treat life so casually? Why didn’t I expect more out of myself?”
Jeanette woke up and was about to head off to the gym when she got the call. Her best friend, Millie, had been killed in a car crash the night before. Millie, like Jeannette, was 41 years young. The shock created a bombardment of emotions that were barely tolerable. In the midst of all her anguish, the larger than life question beckoned her… why didn’t you and Millie do what you had been talking about for years? Jeanette and Millie had great expectations and were committed to starting a small school for children with autism. They had all the pieces in place including the funding. But life always seemed to get in the way of their dream or, better said, they allowed life to get in the way of their dream. In this case, they had high expectations but never took action on them. Who would have predicted that Millie would be taken so soon? But maybe a better question would be, who is ever guaranteed tomorrow?
Whose expectations are you pursuing ?
There are millions and millions of stories of people who allow life to escape their best shot; their noblest effort. Rather than setting the bar of expectations high and focusing on what they could control and achieve, they set the bar so low, they see everyone else’s expectations and dreams but their own. Have you ever sat down and asked yourself, ‘what are my expectations for my life… and am I willing to settle for less than my very best effort?’
Today, there are so many voices vying for your attention, that you lose track of time. More discouraging is that most of those voices are negative and limiting at best. You don’t see the years passing you by. You don’t hear the meter ticking. And you just don’t pay attention to what you could be paying attention to – those things you can control, pursuing your potential, and attaining the kind of life you and your family deserve.
Indeed, you have 100% control over your thoughts. But if you’re like most people, you allow other people’s thoughts to control you. Without question, you do have magnificent dreams and high hopes. Yet, if you’re like most people, you allow others to talk you out of them. You buy into their messages that, you can’t do this, achieve that, become this, or attain that. You fear rejection, ridicule, and failure more than you fear giving up on life and leaving this planet giving life a half-hearted effort. But you know, as a wise man told me years ago: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life and the past does not have to equal the future; except by your own choice. So why not make the choice to be all you can become and achieve all that you are capable of achieving?”
5 points to ponder
Below are 5 points to ponder, as the meter of life continues to tick, tick, tick away. Of course it’s your life; and you can do with it as you please. But from my experience, most people leave this world with tormenting regret; knowing they had the opportunity to set and achieve high expectations for themselves, but invested their entire life trying to live up to other people’s expectations… or nothing at all. I know this is not you… or you wouldn’t be reading this.
So here are 5 points I hope will reignite your grandest expectations for yourself so you can become all that you are capable of.
1) Know that the only failure in life is not trying; playing it safe; and watching others attain all the glory and happiness, at your expense.
2) Identify what it is that you expect (demand) from yourself. Then, focus and pursue it with a reckless abandon. Leave blaming and excuses to others.
3) Discipline, self-responsibility, and courage are the 3 ingredients for overcoming obstacles and adversities that will try and stand in the way of you reaching your potential. Hold on dearly to these 3 traits.
4) Keep in mind that the people you hang around with and the books you read (or don’t read) will play a significant role in achieving your expectations – your potential. Never underestimate the power of influence.
5) Have a little faith. Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie) recently wrote a book called just that, Have A Little Faith. If this article doesn’t get your thrusters going, maybe Mitch’s book will.
Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach. Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill). He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com.