“Our lives are shaped not as much by experience as by our expectations.”

-George Bernard Shaw

What are expectations and why do we have them?

Although this may sound like a simple question, it really has two answers – a conscious answer and a subconscious answer. In either case though, we can agree that an expectation is what one believes must be furnished or established in order for that person to take action or for that action to be meaningful or effective. And usually that which is necessary to be furnished or established is something that someone else (person, company, government) must supply.

When we enter into any kind of relationship (work is a relationship) we have expectations of which some are defined and some are assumed.

Right away, one can see that this has an immediate possibility for problems to arise. The assumptions we make can wreak havoc on our attitudes and subsequently, our beliefs, and as we know belief is elemental to success.

That being the case, it is important for us to know the motive of our expectations. This becomes especially true, albeit more difficult, for our subconscious (automatic and assumed) expectations. But to better understand our subconscious expectations it is necessary to first understand our conscious expectations.

Our conscious expectations are what is agreed upon by two parties when they enter into a relationship.

For instance, if you engage in a sales career, the company may say that they will supply everything you need to become a successful agent. The only thing you have to provide is the sales. Subconsciously, you attach certain requirements (expectations) to those things that the company provides. So you expect a “good” product, “professional” marketing materials, and a ”competitive” price. Although these expectations are not unreasonable, they are subjective, and that’s when the problems arise! What one person thinks is good might be considered bad by someone else. Now you can see why it’s so important that one knows their own personal subconscious expectations.

Conscious or subconscious, our expectations are what we expect others to do, in order for us to be successful.

And therein lies the problem because you are giving others the power to control your destiny. If by having expectations, we are saying that we can’t be successful unless someone else supplies those expectations, then you must understand that

It is unreasonable to expect anyone to be as interested in your success as you are.

There are always alternatives! For instance, if the company doesn’t provide you with what you consider to be enough leads, then you can also generate them yourself! Keep that power over your destiny in your own hands, even though the alternatives may sometimes be tough and work-intensive.

The truth is that your expectations are excuses.

If you do not succeed you will point to the expectations that others did not fulfill as the reason for your lack of success. But don’t take it personal–everybody does it! The reality is that because of our conditioning and programming from our youth, we use expectations to begin the rationalization process for our possible failure-even before we begin the endeavor!

We subconsciously give more attention, initially, to our possibility of failure than to our possibility of success through the formation of our expectations.

We do this unconsciously, but because this is true, we are often not as successful as we are capable of becoming. Knowing this is enough to tip the scales in the other direction.

Examine your expectations for clues to the conditioning and programming that result in lack of success and you can change your life.

The sign above the door of Socrates School of Enlightenment in ancient Greece read “Know Thyself!” Once you do, enlightenment will surely follow!

ACTION STEP:  What is a subconscious expectation you currently have that is bugging the heck out of you cause you’re not getting it? It can be in any kind of relationship: Work, Family, Romantic, etc.  Let me know below.


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