Why Expectations Are Toxic

High expectations are the key to everything. – Sam Walton

What I’m about write may be semantics, but with humans, semantics are everything.

Many people have expectations, especially of others. They are often hidden, or veiled and rarely if ever discussed.

I want you to consider replacing the word “expectations” with either Agreements or Standards.

Specifically, make agreements with others and have standards for yourself.

The key to both is that to have an Agreement or a Standard, you must create it before-hand.

An Agreement is something you negotiate with another person (or persons . . . ) where it clear what each person will do, when they’ll do it and how they’ll do it.

A Standard is a clear measure of what you will and won’t tolerate in in terms of your behavior and results.

Your agreements and standards can be as high as you like, but they will be clear and pre-negotiated.

The beauty of this is that it de-personalizes things.

When someone doesn’t do as they agreed, all you need do is ask them what happened to the agreement that was made? (You’re not expecting them to do something or not do something, any or all of which may be unknown to the other party.)

And, internally, with standards, you don’t need to beat yourself up over “not meeting expectations;” all you need do is look at where your actions didn’t lead to you meeting your standard in a given area – and adjust accordingly.

It might sound like mere semantics, but to our brains, and emotions, words are everything.

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