Two posts on expectations in the past week or so interested me. One from Seth Godin, The paradox of expectations, and the other from soprano and author Lisa Bell, 1% expectation.

Godin argues:

Low expectations are often a self-fulfilling prophecy… High expectations, on the other hand, will inevitably lead to disappointment… Perhaps it’s worth considering no expectations. Intense effort followed by an acceptance of what you get in return.

Bell writes:

Imagine if we only expected one per cent change in effort from our children daily. Only one per cent change in effort from our partners when they walk through the door at the end of a hard day ... Would it immediately take away the unnecessary, unrealistic stress that we place on our family life to expect 110% from everyone on everything 365 days of the year?

Godin suggests that in our work we abandon expectations entirely to focus on the work itself, entirely. While Bell, taking a view on interpersonal relationships, asks us to change our expectations of others, which invariably means we need to change the expectations we place upon ourselves.

Would freeing ourselves from expectation, working hard and accepting that things are as they are, profoundly and positively impact most people’s lives?

The dichotomy is that this doesn’t mean we abandon planning or move through our life without a vision. But there is clearly a difference between living life in the present and not.