Today I finally decided to make a call to Apple Tech Support to help me with a few issues that I was having getting my ICloud account and emails to be in sync.
I expected the internet at the cafe to be fast enough for them to sign in and look at my computer. Well, it wasn’t. I totally set myself up for that because the cafe’s internet is not nearly as fast as the one at my house. I know that!
Here I go again with those expectations. Remember mymeat counter meltdown?
Webster defines EXPECT as to think that something will probably or certainly happen.
So, when I went to get my baby back ribs I expected them to have them. We all know how that worked out for me.
I expect to be able to go to a grocery store and have the shelves full.
When I flip a switch to turn on a light, I expect it to come on.
I expect clean water to come out of the faucet and expect my toilet to flush.
I expect my car to start.
I expect my Netflix to download quickly.
I expect my cable to never be out. I mean I pay enough for it, right?
As I am writing this list I am shocked at how many expectations I am filled with, and honestly a little disgusted by how ridiculous the above list sounds.
“It’s so central to our lives,” said David Rock, author of “Your Brain at Work” (HarperCollins, 2009).
Mr. Rock, who is also director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, which aims to improve leadership through applying the latest research on the brain, says there is a physiological reason we are disappointed when life does not meet our expectations. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released in our brain — and makes us feel good — when something positive happens.
Take an event as mundane as crossing the street. We push the button and expect the light to change in maybe 30 seconds. If it takes five seconds, “there’s a pleasant release of dopamine, and a general feeling of well-being,” he said, even if it’s only fleeting.
The downside is that when our expectations are not met — let’s say it takes a minute for the light to change — our negative feelings are much stronger than the good feelings we get when expectations are exceeded.
As Mr. Rock explains it, “If we expect to get x and we get x, there’s a slight rise in dopamine. If we expect to get x and we get 2x, there’s a greater rise. But if we expect to get x and get 0.9x, then we get a much bigger drop.”
“When we don’t hit our expectations,” he added, “our brain doesn’t just get slightly unhappy, it sends out a message of danger or threat.”
So, here is where the rubber hits the road. The threat or danger of not getting what I want. What I expected to happen. How I expected someone to behave. What I expected from myself.
When I feel the threat or danger of not getting what I want I go into my fight or flight mode.
Now, I do believe we have to set expectations, personal and with others. Learning how to set reasonable expectations.
The first step in doing this is setting reasonable expectations with myself and with others.
I really like what Tony Robbins says about turning expectations into appreciation. I try to remember that every time I flip a switch and the light comes on, my Netflix loads quickly and my car starts.
Try it. Appreciated those little daily things that we EXPECT!