achieve it. The cold hard truth is though... Dreaming doesn't make it so. It turns out that thinking about what we want in life doesn't get us closer to achieving more. However, becoming clear about what we 'expect' will.
The Placebo Effect in medicating and treating individuals is well documented. A sugar pill, administered to a patient who expects it to reduce their pain, will typically experience pain relief. The patient expected the 'drug' they were receiving to be effective, to a certain degree, in reducing their pain and therefore they experienced that degree of pain relief.
In a well-known study, students were divided into two groups; high and low IQ. Only teachers were informed which group each student was in. The students knew nothing of the division. After eight months, the High IQ group was performing significantly better than the Low IQ group. However, unbeknownst to the teachers, the students had been randomly assigned to the two groups. The groups actually had no bearing on the actual IQ of the students. Remember also, the students knew nothing about the assigned groups and yet their performance suffered due to the arbitrary classification. The determining factor? The expectations of the teachers themselves. The teachers 'knew' which group each student belonged to and therefore had different expectations for each that unconsciously influenced the results and achievements of each.
This is big. Think about it for a minute. What you expect of/from others influences what you will likely receive from them. Pretty powerful stuff!
Take this concept and apply it back to the concept of your dreams. We all know that our dreams aren't true. We don't really expect them to occur, we don't hold them as a certainty. Is it little wonder that we don't achieve them? Instead, we have to reframe our dreams as certainties. We have to 'expect' them to occur if we want to truly experience and achieve them. It is through these unshakeable expectations that we continue to persevere, that we continue to move forward. It is this certainty of expectation that helps us to cope with frustration and disappointment along the way. We may experience setbacks but we are better poised to keep going and pushing through when we expect that things will turn around.
I see this phenomena play out often with coaching clients. It is not unusual for people to express a desire for more, better or different in their lives. However, when questioned about their expectations, I find that although they would like or hope for better, they don't truly 'expect' things to change. As a result, they don't tend to engage in the behaviours necessary to drive the change they want. If you don't expect that your efforts will make a difference, you'll be hard pressed to expense the time and energy into those efforts.
Our expectations are critical to our experienced outcomes. Note that expectancy is a non-conscious process. It is an unconscious prediction that manifests in the conscious mind as a certainty. Hoping for something does not convey that same sense of certainty that expectancy does, therefore you do not feel the same compulsion to invest in making it happen. Expectations drive attitudes and behaviours which, in turn, lead you to engage in actions that drive your desired (expected) results. Hoping or wishing for something does not generate a call to action and therefore you tend to remain safely ensconced in your armchair, surrounding by those unfulfilled hopes.
How does this look?
- You hope to win a lottery some day but you expect to spend the rest of your life earning $50,000.00 per year. Your current salary? $50,000.00. Typically, research shows us that we each tend to earn the salary that we truly expect that we are worth, that we expect is possible for us.
- You want that new promotion, but you expect the boss to say no. You're not surprised when that is what they say.
- You want to lose weight and keep it off but you expect that you will always have to struggle with your weight and yo-yo dieting. Sure enough, you somehow manage to regain those 10 pounds you just lost
The difference between wanting or hoping for something and what our true expectations are is the key differential in what we truly experience and receive in our lives. If you truly want something different, then you need to build the expectations that will support that desire. Challenge your limiting beliefs and existing expectations, replacing them with those that support those desires and dreams. Otherwise... they will continue to remain simply hopes and dreams, as ethereal and unreachable as the clouds drifting by outside of my window.
In a nutshell...we GET what we EXPECT.
Was this blog post insightful, interesting and helpful for you? I expect so!