“It’s a good place when all you have is hope and not expectations.” Danny Boyle
What’s the difference between hope and expectations? Let me take you back to the days before cell phones and share my experience with both.
One morning, I headed out to a seminar but my car wouldn’t start. Mind you this was right outside my home. All I had to do was go back in the house, call AAA, and wait for them to fix my car. I paced around the house, feeding my annoyance. I’m going to be late. I won’t have time to network before the program starts. I’ll miss some of the presentations. My frustration centered entirely on things not going my way.
Another morning, while driving down the parkway to attend a class, my car broke down. (Again, this was before cell phones.) Knowing state troopers patrolled the parkway, I perched on the hood of my car to wait. As I waited, I reassured myself. I’m not stranded, a trooper will be along sooner or later. Luckily, it’s a sunny day. Getting to class is out of the question—I guess that frees up my afternoon.
Similar circumstances, very different attitudes. In the first instance, I refused to accept reality when it didn’t follow my agenda. In the second, I was confident things would turn out fine even if they didn’t go according to my plans. Neither attitude changed my circumstances, but they sure impacted the quality of my day.
Expectations are demands in disguise. We hold our happiness hostage unless things go our way. We set ourselves up for resentment and disappointment because our contentment depends on outside circumstances, which we often have little or no control over. So many things—from the weather to other people—just don’t live up to our expectations!
On the other hand, hope is open-ended. It allows us to trust that good will come—even if we’re not sure when or how. This allows us to relax. Hope has less to do with circumstances and more to do with what goes on inside of us, which we do have some control over. We can change our attitudes by focusing on the positive.
This doesn’t mean we deny problems instead of facing them. It simply acknowledges that the world bombards us with negativity. Pro-actively making room for positive attitudes—by what we read or listen to and by the people we choose to spend time with—balances the input and encourages hope.
What helps you let go of expectations? What inspires hope in you?
Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.