Choice Decision Making Perspective Success

The Bigger The ‘Gap’, The Bigger The Frustration & Disappointment

Let’s jump straight in.

Have you ever heard the following statement or philosophy?

The size of the GAP between the REALITY and your EXPECTATIONS, determines the amount of discomfort (frustration, anger, disappointment, etc.) you will experience.

As shown in my diagram further down.

Small GAP = small discomfort.

BIG GAP = BIG (emotional) PAIN. So today I want to look at the biggest EXPECTATION Boo-Boo’s (aka: mistakes) many people erroneously make.

Expectation Boo-Boo #1

This is one of the most common; and I talk about it in 18 Ways We Make Life WAY Harder Than It Needs To Be.

It goes like this.

You have a family member, or friend, or work member, or boss, who has a known history of acting like “X”. 

That is, they have acted like this (X) the vast majority of the time.

Let’s call this person “Noddy” for no reason other than that is what came to mind.

IF Noddy acts like X the vast majority of the time (Noddy = X), THEN expecting Noddy to act like “Y” in a given situation (i.e. Noddy = Y), is very very likely to fail.

Expecting Noddy to equal “Y” (expectation), when Noddy actually equals “X” (reality), is like playing a game of Lotto.

You are very likely to lose.

It is much better to KNOW that Noddy is a “X” type of person, and then plan accordingly.

This is about accepting their character traits, rather than ‘hoping’ things will be different to what they are.

Expectation Boo-Boo #2

Expecting other people to think, feel and act like you.

To do things the way you do things.

To think through things the way you do.

To express their emotions the way you do.

To value the same things you value.

To have the same priorities as you.

The chances of these aligning between two different people, all the time, is roughly zero, ziltch, nada, null, cero, or kore (Maori for ‘zero’).

Not happening.

Accept this reality and you will reduce the size of the gap.

Expectation Boo-Boo #3

You make an AGREEMENT about not only what is a priority, but their order of priority.

You make an AGREEMENT about how you will deal with tough conversations.

You make an AGREEMENT about how long you will stay at the party, or how much you will spend on non-essentials, or how frequently you will go on getaways, or the rules of your relationship, or how you will raise your kids, etc..

Yes; this does take effort.

But, have you seen many Company’s, that deal with important stuff, and important deals, rely on expectations, rather than having a formal Agreement or Contract?

They know, from experience, that having no formal contract or agreement is a REALLY bad practice. 

A contract is more like ‘reality’ whereas an expectation is more like an intangible ‘thought‘ or ‘feeling‘.   

In Summary

You can close the ‘discomfort’ GAP by managing your expectations, so they are more tangible and reality based.

If someone does something I don’t like, I often step back and do the self-responsibility thing.

I ask myself if I was CLEAR in the communication of my needs, or the outcome I desired.

If not, I take personal responsibility, and fix it; plus I let go of any attachment to taking it personally (aka: I don’t continue to beat myself up).

And finally…

Choose AGREEMENTS over unspoken EXPECTATIONS.    

My Parting word

If you better manage your expectations – that is, keep them closer to the current experienced reality – you will generally experience less frustration and disappointment in your life. 

Maybe this calls for a repeat of Byron Katie’s famous quote:

When I argue with reality I lose. But only 100% of the time.

Leave reality where it is.

Then move your expectations closer to it.

Thus closing the GAP.

Thus reducing your frustration and disappointment.

And opening more room for things like acceptance, peace and joy.

The end. 🙂

Have an expectations-meets-reality kinda day and week; and enjoy the freedom.

Take care,


PS: Have you read or listened to this book yet? 18 Ways We Make Life WAY Harder Than It Needs To Be

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