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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Conversations with Expectations

 
A must read for everyone (at some time in their life) is the very wonderful book by Norton Juster, The Phantom Toll Booth. In one chapter, they go to the land of Expectations. The guide explains "Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you're going. Of course, some people never go beyond Expectations, but my job is to hurry them along whether they like it or not."

Expectations can taint everything we do, and every interaction we have. The trick is to have the expectations but not let them ruin our experience. I guess the people that never go beyond expectations are the ones that always feel let down or disappointed in others, and that always find happiness to be elusive.

It is easier to go in with low expectations and be pleasantly surprised, than high expectations and be disappointed. I'm guessing the second is the flaw in us humans, that causes us to stumble regularly, for the actual experience is the same, just how we feel about it changes. In the Phantom Toll Booth, a character says “Things which are equally bad are also equally good. Try to look at the bright side of things." I see a number of bloggers promoting this idea - and I do wish it came a little more naturally to me. Mindfully, I would like to be this type of person, naturally, I am not. One thing I've learnt with the Torschlusspanik List*, is that my expectation of difficulty/injury/embarrassment could stop me doing a lot of things (fortunately, once I've put it on the list, I'm publicly committed, and it makes it psychologically trickier for me to back out of it).

While we will always have expectations, we must be careful to not let them spoil our interactions and experiences, and learn to quickly move on because the most important wisdom in this brilliant book is at the core of our existence: “Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life. ”

If you haven't read this book, go and purchase a copy today (you get the bonus value of money well spent as the kids can read it too).

Linking up for I Must Confess on what you are (or should be) reading now. The other must read for bloggers is How To Blog & Tweet without Getting Sued.


22 comments:

  1. Argh, Lydia. I think my comment just got gobbled up, so apologies if you get two of the same. I agree expectations have the ability to taint everything we do. We need to find the right balance and those of us who tend to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves we need to try to not be so bleeding hard on ourselves. Thanks for getting me thinking.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this Lydia, your perspective about expectation is very balanced and I think that is the resounding message here - balance. I am intrigued to read more of this book, might jump online and buy it today. Thank you as always for linking up to #convocoffee Josefa

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  3. So often expectations are viewed with such negativity. They get a bad wrap, really. Because its not them, it's us and how we manage them. Balance, as you so rightly point out, is essential. A great read a d a refreshing perspective, Lydia.

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  4. Hey babes - no worries about the croquet. Perhaps after the Easter break? I've been super preoccupied too. Anyhow I'm nodding along with your views here. In my younger days I became quite depressed when relationships/career failed to live up to my expectations. These days I've learned to "go with the flow".

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  5. Great post. I'll be tracking that book down! I concur, but I dislike the thought that the only way around it is to have low expectations and hope that they're always bettered. There's got to be a better way than expecting the worst all the time. I just don't know what it is!

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  6. I think Ill be tracking this book down too. Thank you.

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  7. It's now on my reading list. Thanks for the post

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  8. Most of of my life seems to revolve around expectation management, particularly with my children...and sometimes people at work too!

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  9. My mum always says; 'Keep your expectations low, and your hopes high.' And I think that's a great way of lookinga t it. Thanks for the intro to this book, it's new to me and we'll keep an eye out for it.

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  10. Yes, as much as I try to find the positive around me Lydia, it can be a bit of a trap to have high expectations. Hopefully, most of the time I'm not too unrealistic.

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  11. I'll be tracking a copy of this book down. I often find I go into a situation with low expectations of myself/what to expect as way to protect myself if things go awry.

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  12. This sounds like a great book. Expectations do taint everything, don't they.

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  13. What a great book - I will be chasing down a copy. As you know I always try to look at a balanced approach to life, but expectations do trip me up all the time. I try to dream instead of expect and try to hope, instead of expecting others to do something. I also wonder whether there is a perverse relationship between how much we expect of ourselves and how little we expect of others and vice versa?

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  14. Sounds like a great, thought-provoking book! I tend to try and be of the having low expectations kind of person. Although, people tend to perceive that as being "negative" or "pessimistic". I just think it's being realistic.

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    1. This is interesting. My mother says that to me a bit. And I am a little pessimistic...(and I think I'm a realist, who is often pleasantly surprised). I see another post in the works ;)

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  15. Keeping it real Lydia that is what you do. Go have the time of your life x

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  16. Adding that one to the reading list ;)

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  17. Sounds like an interesting read, I'm going to have to add it to my long list of books to read and then start making some time to actually read them.

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  18. This does sound like an interesting read, I find that sometimes my expectations are too high, especially of people, thankfully I know how to handle rejection well :)

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  19. I try not to set my expectations high and don't let myself get excited about things, which is kind of too far the other way. I think it would be nice to be able to live in the middle, expecting the worst, but hoping for the best.

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  20. I have to read this, sounds really interesting. I may not be the same as majority as my expectations are often too low.

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  21. I stand by my previous comment - my life is all about expectation management. I might have to get this book to help both me and the kids!

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