# 353: Expectations

Dickens, Charles (1860/61). Great Expectations, 319.

Story behind the Passage

Yes, Dickens again. This time, I am talking about Great Expectations — the story of Pip, the orphan, whose journey to adulthood is told in this novel. I do not remember many details about the book but I knew today that expectations had to be my topic. I guess, having no expectations anymore does not allow you to get anywhere. Having too many or the wrong ones does not get you anywhere either. And my problem traditionally is that I do not know which exact expectations I should focus on.

What Pip says about not having done anything to raise in life, nothing but “fortune” alone as the cause, is a wonderful thing. Still, many people say this either because they do not really see how much they actually did to climb the ladder or they just do not see it but they did much. I do think that expectations are important for any kind of movement in life. Still, I also think they are the most evil thing. Human beings always have expectations. We form them unconsciously. Even in daily life, we have subconscious expectations of events that will happen. If we put the hand on the hot stove, for example, we expect our hand to start hurting in a second. If people jump from a bridge, they expect to die, which is why they do it.

Obviously, our expectations can come true but they do not have to. There is always a certain likelihood that expectations come true. The more expectations you have and the more “unrealistic” they are, the less likely you are to achieve them — that is for sure. Most of us know this. Still, we keep coming up with more expectations. The best thing would be, of course, to not have them anymore but as mentioned already, I do not think this will lead you anywhere unless you believe in the fact that life will take care of itself and you do not need any intentions or decisions on your part.

My Learnings

“’When I ask what I am to call myself today, Herbert,’ I went on, ‘I suggest what I have in my thoughts.’” This short sentence spoke to me because of its relation to the “expectations” the protagonist might or might not have. “Calling oneself” something is an implicit expectation we all have, I think. At least, I have it. I do not necessarily mean any title or name, I mean: Giving an answer to the simple question: “What do you do?” This is so simple. People usually answer it very easily by mentioning their profession: “I am a lawyer… a baker… a journalist… a scientist.” People usually are something, at least when it comes to professional matters.

What am I to call myself?

I do not know. But I have the expectation to call myself something. That is for sure. And I know that the very fact of having this expectation is causing the trouble. But I cannot give up on it. And it does not help to just give situational answers. “I am a press officer, a manager, a teacher, a coach…” All these things are true in some instances but I expect to come to a point when I can answer in one word and I feel good about it, meaning that I have found an answer that meets my own expectations.

Maybe these are “great expectations”?

I do not know. I just know that I am terribly mad at myself because of my high expectations. Whenever I take something seriously, I do have high expectations. Otherwise, I would not need any expectations at all. “I cannot tell you how dependent and uncertain I feel, and how exposed to hundreds of chances,” is what the narrator says. I share this. There are so many chances and even more unconscious expectations of using them. The trick is to find out what you actually want. That is the toughest part. The expectation of having to make a decision.

This is killing me on some days.

And I expect this to continue.

Which makes me want to let go of all expectations.

Reflection Questions

1) Which expectations did you have when you started your first job? Were they fulfilled?

2) How do you call yourself when people ask “what do you do”?

3) Did you ever face “too many” chances? How did you decide?



Founder & CEO of Companypoets

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