The Expectation Dilemma: 10 Ways to Beat It

It was 27 degrees this morning here in the ‘burbs of Detroit. Problem is, we’re 27 days into March! That frustrates the heck out of me. Funny thing is, I think I believe my disgust will somehow pump-up the temp.

Okay, anyone would be chill-sensitive, given the winter we just had.  But you know what my real problem is?


I expect the temperature to be seasonal. And in the face of immediate reality, my thinking is illogical and self-defeating. That has to change – and it can.

The Expectation Dilemma

The Expectation Dilemma“Dreaming is one thing, and working towards the dream is one thing, but working with expectations in mind is very self-defeating.” Michael Landon

Interesting quotation, don’t you think? Holding-on to expectations is a natural pattern of thought for most. I’m not saying, in principle, that’s a bad thing. But life becomes terribly difficult when the reality of the immediate is ignored as expectations are formed.

And when expectations go beyond reality, the outcome can be devastating and very difficult to overcome.

On the other side of the fence, expectations can be limiting. And I think that’s where Michael Landon was going. Think about it, you have a dream and you’re working hard to make it happen. But if your direction and work are grounded in poorly considered expectations, you’re limiting your results. Even setting the table for defeat.

Somehow, a peaceful middle-ground has to be established.

A Real-Life Example

The disgust with winter scenario I opened with, though legit, is trite. Given what you may be enduring, let’s approach a fix for the expectation dilemma from a more relevant and meaningful angle.

Panic attacks, agoraphobia, derealization, depersonalization, and depression have been tearing you apart. Who wouldn’t be throwing 100% of their emotional, mental, and physical energy at making it all go away – now?

Within the context of Michael Landon’s observation, that would be the dream. And certainly, its realization is a worthy endeavor.

But the potential for expectation to intrude is powerful. As Landon said, “Dreaming is one thing…” However, in this case, if an immediate cessation of symptoms becomes the expectation; the resultant frustration and disappointment will be devastating.

Frankly, you’re defeated.

Overcoming the Expectation Dilemma

Convincing you to abandon the notion of expectations isn’t my mission. What I’m recommending is tempering them, and placing them within the proper prespective.

Let’s go back to our real-life example…

You’re dealing with a multi-headed monster (I’ve been there). And not only do you want relief, you want it now. In fact, due to any number of rationalizations, you expect nothing less.

Warning! You’re exactly where your traditional thought pattern would have you be. But, really, where is that?

I mean, you’re pleading to be the way you used to be. But given the reality of the immediate, not to mention predisposition and years of environmental factors, is that a reasonable expectation?

Furthermore, is it only leading you to frustration and defeat? And if it is, what toll is it taking on you?

So what are you going to do about it?

10 Ways to Beat the Expectation Dilemma…

  1. Come to grips with the truth – your expectations are holding you hostage.
  2. Realize it’s time for change – and you can.
  3. Grab pencil and paper, or a keyboard, and jot down each of your expectations.
  4. Do the same for the reality of your immediate situation.
  5. Take the time to compare the two lists.
  6. Are you holding-on to unrealistic expectations?
  7. How is this making your circumstances all the worse?
  8. Make a fresh list of realistic expectations based upon your immediate situation.
  9. Plan your strategy for blending them into your life.
  10. Now get out there and live!

Let’s Wrap It Up

As much as I may have expected it to occur, the temperature won’t get above the mid-30s today. As much as you may have expected, your mood and anxiety symptoms aren’t going to go bye-bye today.

Isn’t it time to come to grips with the reality of your immediate circumstances – and expectations?

You may think it’ll destroy your prospects for hope. Actually, it will…

But when you re-build, you’ll be doing so on solid ground.