So this weeks change is don’t wish things were different. Wishing the lights would turn green, that person over yonder would shut the hell up, that you were in a different meeting, a different job, daydreaming about being on a tropical island…I wish things were different a heck if a lot. Little things, big things, it just seems to be part of the chatter of my mind.
And so far it’s been a classic case of noticing how much I do something when I’m trying not to do it. The old chocolate cake syndrome.
So what’s the point of this week’s change beyond realising how angry and day dreamy I am? Well as Leo puts it a lot of our stress, frustration, disappointment, anger, irritation, pissed-offedness [love that word] comes from our expectations. And when things (inevitably) don’t turn out as we expect, we wish things were different. We build these expectations in our heads of what other people should do, what our lives should be like, how other drivers should behave … and yet it’s all fantasy. It’s not real.
So the recommended solution is to take your expectations, and throw them in the ocean.
1. Picture all the expectations you have for yourself, your life, your partner, your kids, your coworkers, your job, the world. Take them from inside you, and toss them in the ocean. What happens to them? They ﬂoat, they’re carried around by waves and the current takes them out, and they drift away. Let them be washed away by the waters, and let them go.
2. Start to watch yourself during the day. When you find yourself angry, frustrated, disappointed, irritated, yelling at other drivers, wanting to rant online … use these as triggers. They are an indicator that you’re wishing things could be different, that you have expectations of how reality should be — that are different than how they actually are.
3. When you notice an expectation or wish that things were different … toss it into the ocean.
4. Practice accepting reality as it is, and people as they are, without expectations, without trying to force people into the containers you have for them, seeing things as they are. It’s a life where you don’t need to be disappointed or frustrated or angry — or if you are, you accept it, and then let it go [gah but I don’t want to!].
Well, that’ s not to say you never act — you can act in a way that’s in accordance with your values, and inﬂuence the world, but never have an expectation of how the world will react to your actions.
If you do something good, you won’t expect praise or appreciation. Let those expectations of reward and praise ﬂoat away with the waves. Do good because you love doing good, and expect nothing beyond that. [boring but makes sense]
So I’m going to give it a go and good luck if you are too!
How do you manage your expectations of the world?