“Blessed is the man who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.”
Alexander Pope, the 18th century poet is credited as saying this. And it’s true. You will never be disappointed by anyone if you have no expectations. It’s also a very sad way to live. Because often we get what we expect to get. So when we expect nothing from someone we get exactly that.
If we expect the worst from people, it is surprising (or maybe not as surprising) how often we receive the worst from people.
Is the guarantee of never being disappointed worth missing out on getting the best from someone? If you expect great things from a person, you will be let down at some stage, but you will also see great things from them.
Take how we think about big business for example. The general population now expects big, faceless companies to do the wrong thing. To monopolise the market, tear down the little guy, and rip people off so they can pay their shareholders more in profits. When that happens, it is just business as usual. We expect it.
But what about the hundreds of businesses that have signed up to become a B Corp – a company that balances purpose and profit for the good of our world? What if our expectations shifted and we began to expect businesses to focus on sustainability and community? Some would disappoint us, yes, but it would be worth it to see those that would live up to, or even exceed our expectations.
Expect great things and you will be disappointed sometimes, but it’s a small price to pay to see the great things that people are capable of.