Today I want to share with you my thoughts about exactly the title: assumptions and expectations. I am sure you are familiar with the concept of both. Assuming and expecting. Let me tell you, they are absolutely deadly. Ever heard that before? If you have, then you may already know where I am heading with this blog. If you haven’t then I suggest you pay close attention.
The Oxford dictionary has the following meaning ready for both words:
Assume – Supposed to be the case, without proof
Expectation – A strong belief that something will happen or be the case
Do you see any similarities between the two words? Both refer to something that is happening, without actually being true. It convinces you that some event is taking place without you knowing for sure that it is happening. For example; when it’s nice weather out, natural behavior of people is to spend their time outside, go to the beach or to the city to share a few drinks with friends. However, you are not sure that this is actually happening. Everyone could also be retreating into their cool, airco-filled, houses. But, you assume and you expect that people would spend their hot days anywhere else but at work.
Assuming and expecting are deadly tricks on the mind. See, I’ve already written before that our mind and especially the power of our imagination is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It’s most valued tools: the power of assumption and the power of expectations. They feed our imagination. I even will go as far to say that our imagination needs these tools in order to provide us that movie that we play in our head.
The other day I heard a nice explanation about expectation, reality and the power it can have on your self image. See, people are quite able to confuse expectations with hope. You see, hope is another one of these powerful tools that our imagination can use but it is actually quite a positive force: to hope means that you see something happening in your future that, nine out of ten times, is a positive event. It is the bright star, the sun, your ultimate goal that you work for. The second to that is expectation. Sometimes we tend to confuse hope with expectation. The result of that is that our hope becomes our expectation. And that, my friend, is not very good. What happens when your expectation does not become true? And, if you make your hope your expectation, this is very likely to happen – mind you. See, hope and reality are very far apart from each other. Expectation and reality stand much closer together (if you set healthy expectations at least). If you base your expectation solely on your hope, your reality is so far away from that, that you have no other choice but to become angry, disappointed or any other kind of negative emotion that pulls you down. And this you reflect on others or on yourself. There’s the link with self image. If you do not manage your expectations and keep them closely to your reality, your self-image will take a heavy beating from you. Best advise here: keep your hope but maybe put a time-frame on it: Your hope is what you wish to achieve on the long-run. Your expectation are your short-term goals helping you to achieve that long-term goal that you hope for. If you start managing your expectations like this, you’ll see that not only they are more easily met, but you will have a positive yay moment every single time you meet your expectations. Isn’t that what you want?
To assume is even more deadly as you tend to involve other people in this as well. The title already describes it: to assume is to make an ass out of u and me. When you assume that a colleague will take care of something, you will not take any responsibility for it. However, your colleague never confirmed that they will take the responsibility for it. The result: the job is not done and both you and your colleague are suffering from it as your boss will be angry with the both of you. Never assume that something is happening as you will never have any proof. This is really straightforward: you don’t know if something is done and dusted because you never checked with the other person. This can lead to really uncomfortable situations. Trust me, being the queen of assumption, I’ve been there and it’s really not nice. Best advise here: just check. Make the call. Send the message. But just check.
How do you deal with assumptions and expectations? Are you aware that you even have them? How do you manage them and keep them in check?