The thing with high expectations.



How devastating can it not be to feel the pressure of high expectations? We all want to do our best, even he or she who works hard to make it look otherwise, but to be confident that one will perform outstanding is not for everyone. Instead there can be a nagging sense of inadequacy. If it is strong it can even make us distracted and clumsy.

You can be unwilling to admit or let it be shown that you are under pressure. Perhaps, if you would do so, people might think less of you, not consider you for promotion or wouldn't ask you for advice or help or a date. These are all important things and so it's understandable if you hesitate to be open with your situation.

There are other things in life that are more important, though.

We are under the pressure of high expectations because of the old-fashioned perceptions our societies have imposed on us. You may recognize:

  • A task has to be performed in the "right" way.
  • You are only competing because you want to win first prize.
  • You must never show your feelings as strong as they really are. Always be restrained, even if you are happy.
  • The ultimate goal is to be successful meaning highest rank in the organization, most sold items, most well known, highest level of income, living in the best situated house and/or that with highest standard.

Hey, were we all steeped in the same form? I'm sure you agree we were not. Then how can anyone expect us to perform exactly the same, have the same needs or the same dreams?

You see what I'm suggesting here? No one can have expectations on your results because there is no "best" result as it is impossible to claim what is best. Have you ever been to a craftsmans place where he/she sells his/hers items? Have you found that shelf or basket on the floor, usually in the back, with some of the items that didn't come out quite as they were supposed to. You know, with a flaw of some kind.
Most of us like what we see on that shelf. We may even prefer it to the perfect one. If you do, you may still hesitate to buy it worried that someone else will see it, knowing what the "perfect one" looked like, thinking you are cheap or have been fooled. Yet the not perfect item is perhaps more perfect as it has an expression of its own, and the craftsman should charge more instead of less for it. But he didn't; He too has high expectations on himself.

Instead of the expectations for superior result we can and should expect high effort to reach best possible result. Which, by the way, no one can say was not good enough.

A humble opinion, that's all.

With every intention we should have high expectations on our journey towards a result. As we strive towards a goal we are forced to think outside the box, come out with new ideas and ways to think and solve problems; we must listen intelligently to feedback and take new directions; we have to be prepaired to learn from others, ask for help and share what we know with a fellow man. Of course, this is only necessary in a small way, have you set a small goal. It may be you are careful and lack the confidence to set a lofty goal to start with. So, fine. But when the small goal is reached, raise the ribbon a bit to a new higher goal. Then, while on the path to reach that one make sure that you are enjoying the journey and learning from every step, from every mistake and from all the feedback you get. So that when you have attained that goal you are having so much fun you directly set a new even higher goal to work against.

Through the never ending setting and achieving goals we evolve. This is perhaps the most meaningful mission we have; to learn and grow. So we become wiser and more content. So we can open up to love and joy.
This learning and growing is found in the journey of life, and that's where you should have high expectations, not on the results. They are always perfect.

Top of High Expectations

Back to Causes of stress

Home Page