40 Expect better? Always? 19 May 2020

When we are aware of the beauty around us, we are making the world better by thinking it better. Wishing it better is not the same. Usually “wishing” implies “unfactual.” Saying “I wish this were so” expresses the feeling “this is not so.”

If we are looking at something in the best possible light, we are likely to see it as worthy of our attention. Let us consider ways our expectations influence outcomes.

Already in high school experiments I learned to read scientific instruments before calculating expected results. As a pointer swings back and forth, if I am expecting a reading of 5.32 grams, I am biased or influenced in favor of recording the measurement as 5.32 grams. My expectation biases my perception.

In another sense, expectation colors feelings about outcomes. If I expect a peanut butter sandwich for supper, I am delighted with a bowl of spaghetti. However, if I expect to come home to a turkey feast, I am disappointed with a bowl of spaghetti. The substance is the same, but the setting is different. My expectation biases my evaluation.

More than just coloring a viewpoint, expectation can change outcome. A teacher who is told which students are the brightest in the class is tempted to direct more time and attention to those students. Planting a different set of expectations might favor a different set of students. Moreover, unconscious expectation can bias factual outcomes subliminally.

Excessively high expectations do not produce high performance. They detract from reaching the best results that should have been expected. Missing goals that are unreasonable is discouraging.

Last week’s article laid out four steps to resolution of personal differences and related that resolution process to the happiness of our Covid19 stay-at-home experience. This article adds another useful tool. Good judgment requires us to have appropriate expectations about ourselves and others.

Photo: Manfred Richter on Pixabay

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Keep in mind that the benefit you take from this blog is the thinking you put into it. Today’s post is shorter again to allow you time to reflect on tracing the ideas forward from previous hints. Hopefully, many brief favorable thoughts add up to a rosy disposition; many drops of kindness fill a bucket of satisfaction.

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