Looking at unrealistic expectations

Why is it that we know something is not working yet we have the expectation for it to work? Time to look at unrealistic expectations.

I read The Best Way to Solve a Problem: Give Up and my first thought was, “It seems more like an article about giving up unrealistic expectations.” Looking at the things to give up, that seems to be the case. Let’s look at some of them a bit closer, but let’s keep in mind that it is not wrong to have these desires or dreams.

It might make more sense to…

Give up wanting to be a famous musician, artist, architect, thinker, writer, whatever-it-is. Maybe it’s smarter to make your purpose to have an impact, instead.

This is my approach and my strength. I am more of a behind the scenes person. However, YouTube (for example) is filled with people desperately wanting to catch their “big” break without realistically looking at the reasons why their videos aren’t going viral: they don’t compare to the competition or they want instant success and change their style too often for anyone to follow them. It is hard to give up the dream of being famous and it is especially hard to see the difference between those that are meant to have that destiny and those that aren’t.

Give up keeping relationships with people you don’t really like.

Ever dated or fell in love with a person who had someone in their life close to them that didn’t like you? How realistic is it to believe that the situation will succeed when someone close to the one you love does not like you? The only way the situation can work is for the person you love to put their foot down. The problem isn’t you or the one you are trying to have a relationship with. It is a third person interfering in an area they do not belong, as relationships are between two people. How realistic is it to believe a situation will work if a third person is allowed to disturb your relationship?

Give up trying to be important. (Focusing on community is usually more fulfilling.)

I fix companies for a living but the outside world never knows it was my plan that fixed things. I do not have the need to be the head person but ironically I end up being one (if not) the most important player because my focus is everywhere else but being important (but note, someone does have to be important, let’s not forget that). Looking at another classic example, men who feel inferior because they make less than the female. The man wants to be “important” when things would probably work a lot better if he’d just focus on “being” with the person. How often does it happen that the person seeking to be important misses how important he or she is to the people that matter? Often.

Give up caring about owning a lot of cool things, which keep you distracted from acknowledging that you don’t like what you’re doing with your life.

You will see this all the time online. The person will have all the latest technology and will use said technology to chat with strangers but their spouse hasn’t held an decent conversation with them in weeks. Another variation is working a lot to avoid spending time with your spouse. Or going to the club to escape you don’t like what your major is in college but that major makes the parents happy. See the trend? Realistically, how long can that last?

Give up trying to live up to the expectation of your parents, your friends, your boss, and peers.

Ever met the person that was so busy jumping through hoops to live up to what he or she thought your expectation of them was that they never asked and had they, would have found their assumptions were way off? Ever try to make someone happy and continually fail, frustrating yourself in the process? Realistically, how could those situations work?

Unfortunately, most people can’t just “give up”…

In business when there is a problem, usually there is one optimal fix to the problem and the remaining options are bandaids that might temporarily fix the problem but will not resolve it. In the examples above and in the article people having these goals and desires have them for a reason. For example, people with large egos tend to use the ego as a shield for insecurities or trying to be everything to everyone allows people to avoid focusing on improving themselves. There are underlying issues that cause the person to cling to unrealistic expectations.

Let me be clear that everyone does this in one form or another. The normal reaction is to move on. It is a phase. However, some people will stay in dead marriages for years because they want to avoid the process of going through a divorce or stay at jobs where they dread going to work every day. Or will bend over backwards for someone that does not appreciate their efforts. What keeps people in situations that are not healthy for them?

There is something broken inside them.

Fixing the broken within…

As I said above, there is usually one optimal solution and the others are bandaids. Let’s say a person gave up their need to share their love without fixing the reason why the person felt that way in the first place. What normally happens is the person may stop the need to share their love and replace it with the need to be important (or another unrealistic expectation). “Instead of beating my head against a wall trying to make this relationship work, I’m going to move on and focus on my career. There is a VP position opening up and if I work hard….” The person did not resolve the root problem, he or she replaced their focus. They avoid the root issue causing the unrealistic expectations.

It takes a lot for us to dig deep and to address the things causing us pain, frustration or fear. There is not a “right” way to do it, and there is no limit on how long it will take. It helps to not go through it alone, if one has someone they can trust with their emotions in their life. However, some journeys are meant to be traveled alone but the key is to take the journey and resolve the root issues.

So you can truly move on and have a more meaningful life.