Manage Expectations Effectively

Oct 10, 2019 | Australian College



What do expectations mean to you? If you refer to a dictionary, expectation is a noun that means “a strong belief about what might happen in the future or thinking that something should be a certain way”. Expectations are created based on an individual’s perspectives and standards and oftentimes, they are just merely predictions or conjectures derived from incomplete information. In reality, we all see things differently; however, failure to see things from someone else’s perspective has proven to be very problematic and may even cause people to be estranged from others more than ever, especially from the ones that they care about.

If only expectations were properly managed, then it would be a lot easier to navigate through day to day life without the dramas. So what do we do in order to manage or align our expectations towards ourselves and other people? First of all, it’s important for us to understand that expectations are not goals.

Do not mistake expectations for goals

Setting goals and implementing them help us improve ourselves over time, however, when they’re already becoming rigid and inflexible, it’s a sign that they are turning into expectations. In order for us to reach our peak performance, we need to focus more on goals and make sure to never ever let them slide over into expectations. There’s a great value in setting goals that are based on principles, and aiming to achieve them by exerting our best effort while being challenged but not pressured and frustrated.



“Building up expectations, creating unrealistic time frames, feeling like our end goal is the end all, be all can all lead to frustration or anxiety. We end up feeling as though we have to power through what we want rather than enjoying the process and just let the results come as it may.”

“• Gretchen Bleiler


Constantly perform reality checks


We have our own vision of an ideal world. We dream about stability, equality, justice, and absolute freedom. We want to be in a safe and nurturing environment where we can develop our core skills and gain knowledge to enrich and make our lives more meaningful. But amidst all the wishful thinking, we must also perform check ups constantly to see if our grasp of reality is still healthy and intact or if we already lost touch of what’s real and what’s not. This method will also help us stay focused on more important things, rather than getting caught up in trying to perfect something that’s already good enough.



“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.”

“• Stephen Hawking



“There’s strong data that, within companies, the No. 1 reason for ethical violations is the pressure to meet expectations, sometimes unrealistic expectations.”

“• Stephen Covey


Communication is Key

When there is a lack of communication, a lot of things can go wrong. As much as possible, try to overcome communication barriers. Never make assumptions! Context is definitely important when it comes to communication. So always put context into consideration to prevent the potential pitfalls in professional and personal life and everything else in between.


Intuition may also induce expectations


The human brain is wired in a particular way. Based on the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, we process information in two different modes. The first mode is intuitive, unconscious, automatic and emotional. The second mode is slow, rational, conscious, reflective, reasoning and deliberate. Let’s look into the intuitive mode. Using our intuition or gut feeling can be advantageous. Albert Einstein even quoted that “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift”, however, your intuitive and judging functions also have the tendency to get out of hand. When this happens, your mind could become clouded by unrealistic expectations. To prevent this from happening, you need to be able to fine-tune your intuition and not be misled by it. This can be done through observation and lessons learned from various life experiences for you to gain the knowledge and wisdom that can help you plow through life with less heartache and disappointment.



“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”

“• Brandon Sanderson


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