Are You One of the People Who Use this Horrible Life Strategy?

There used to be a great series of sketches on the old TV show “MAD TV” entitled “Lowered Expectations”. The premise of all of the sketches was that life is easier if you just lower your expectations so you aren’t disappointed. Each week they’d show a humorous example of someone who, by expecting only the bare minimum from life, was able to avoid disappointment and achieve “success”.

 

While that sketch was meant to be funny, many people live their real lives with the same attitude. On some level they believe that they can protect themselves from disappointment and pain simply by never reaching too high. They never try anything too difficult, so they can be assured success. They never dream of a better future, so as not to risk the disappointment of that future not materializing. They never consider how they might improve themselves, so they don’t have to face the fact that they aren’t willing to do what was necessary to change.The ironic thing about this approach to life, is that it is completely counterproductive and backwards. The way to create the life you want, is to take smart, strategic, risks, not to play it safe. You have to dream a big dream for yourself if you ever hope to achieve at a high level.

 

Olympic athletes are a great example. Take Usain Bolt, who recently retired after an incredible career in track. Bolt became one of only a handful of athletes in history to win both the 100m and 200m gold medals in back-to-back Olympics. An incredible feat. And not only that, he did while smashing the record books as well. In fact, Bolt may be remembered in the history books more for how he shaved more than a tenth of a second off his own world record time than anything else. In 2011, at the world championships, Bolt took the WR time from 9.69 to 9.58, a margin not seen since the advent of electronic timing!

 

Why is Bolt able to do what no other athlete was able to do? Clearly he has incredible athletic gifts, but beyond that, he has extremely high expectations of himself. He’s quoted as saying, “As long as I’m in great shape, nobody beats me, that’s for sure.” To some that sounds arrogant, but to a world-class athlete, that is the level of expectation required to succeed.

 

Do you approach your life with this same expectation? Do you consider yourself capable of whatever you put your mind to? Do you approach each new project with the expectation of great success?

 

Do you consider yourself capable of whatever you put your mind to? Do you approach each new… Click To Tweet

 

In 2004 I made a decision to train for a marathon. In and of itself, the marathon is a significant challenge. When you factor in that I was just 18 months post heart-lung transplant at the time, the level of the challenge rises to a whole other level. To my knowledge, only one other person in history has ever completed a marathon after a heart-lung transplant.

 

So what made me decide to take on the challenge, and ultimately to finish that marathon, and three subsequent ones? The expectation that it could be done. I’m often asked why I chose to run a marathon. The simple answer is that I wanted to show people, including myself, that with the right mindset and preparation, any hurdle can be overcome.

 

Research on the education system has proven that, (barring the extenuating individual circumstances of some students) student perform better when higher standards are set for them. In other words, when more is expected, more is achieved. As adults we have a lot to learn from this. If you want to perform better at work, lose more weight, be a better spouse, or realize a new personal goal, part of your plan of attach should be to raise your expectations of what is possible.

 

So the secret to succeeding in your chosen field is not to lower your expectations to meet your current abilities, but rather improve your abilities so that you can reach higher expectations.

 

the secret to succeeding in your chosen field is not to lower your expectations to meet your current abilities, but rather improve your abilities so that you can reach higher expectations

 

What do you expect of yourself? Tell us in the comments below:

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