When the pilot announced, “…and the ground temperature is 38 degrees centigrade”, I was excited. Because I was expecting 40-45 degrees. After all, it was Delhi and the month was June. During the next 24 hours, I heard many people complaining of the heat – taxi drivers, colleagues, friends etc. And I asked everyone the same questions: What do you expect? And I realized the power of these four magic words like never before. They seemed to diffuse the anger, put things in perspective, and even reduce the temperature a little bit!
The next time traffic bothers you, ask yourself these four magic words. What do you expect? Did you expect everyone else to stay at home today? Or did you expect everyone else to walk to work today? Or did you expect new roads and flyovers to come up during the night? Or did you expect everyone to move to the side and let your car or bus pass?
Have you noticed how parents expect their kids to behave like mature grown-ups – tidy room, homework on time, healthy eating habits and all. Teachers expect all students to be intelligent and interested in the subject. Salespeople expect an order on every presentation. Managers expect everyone to be competent and committed all the time. And the result is… anger, frustration, disappointment.
I know this seems to go against the philosophy of ‘expect the best’, ‘you get what you think of’ and ‘the secret: our thoughts become things’. But not really. Positive thinking is not about unrealistic expectations. I expect most people to be nice, but not all. I expect myself to be healthy, active and energetic most of the time – so it’s not hard for me to accept illness when it comes once in a while.
So, what do you expect? And do you always get what you expect?