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"They're disposable just after they seemed like the only possible One Best Way."

The above quote might qualify as one of the most clueless utterances ever. To act without expectations seems to be a recipe for not acting, but then I might not quite be Zen enough to comment. I cannot imagine acting without expectation though I recognize that expectations probably encourage most of the cluelessness in the universe. Still, expecting seems a perfectly human feature that leads us all into considerable trouble. I doubt that just omitting the expecting amounts to anything like sage advice. We are the ones who lead ourselves into the bulk of the temptations we encounter, but I can't quite believe that we're automatically screwed because we continually expect.

Like with cluelessness, the problem might not very fairly represent the problem. How we cope with this feature might hold some clue about what to do short of stifling one of our primary motive forces.
We might hold expectations just a tad too tightly, as if they represented imperatives rather than choices. We might feel indentured to the outcomes we imagine when we're almost perfectly free to walk away from even the most seemingly 'mission critical' of them. For me, disappointing expectations has mostly served as a gateway into the previously unimaginable, the prior problem proving to be more blinder than eye-opening.

I am a failed typist and a best-selling author. Both. I know that my high school typing teacher tried his damnedest to convince me that I would never amount to anything if I didn't master ten finger typing, as if his exhortations might somehow motivate me to buckle down and try even harder when even I understood that the barrier was never my lack of motivation. I'd crawled to the base of that mountain and discovered that I just did not have that "skill" in me. I now type more or less comfortably with my three typing fingers, though I know that I over-rely upon two of them to do the bulk of the work. The expectation that I just had to learn how to type right felt like it nearly killed me before I chose to let go of that expectation and just type, just write, just create.

Expectations often seem to ultimately turn into more of barrier rather than a gateway. I concoct some story that convinces me that I cannot achieve something unless and until I satisfy my expectations, expectations I've often concocted without adequate understanding of what alternatives I have available to me. I imprint on some notion of The One Right Way, then commence to start slamming myself against normal barriers to entry like a crazed Junebug battering against a screen door. Cripes, I might eventually learn, there were an almost infinite number of alternative approaches not requiring me to bash out my brains against a screen door. I think expectations might be better acknowledged as initial notions, useful for the motive force they impart and often useless for devising any actual breakthrough achievement. That road seems perhaps necessarily paved with disappointment. How I cope with those seemingly unavoidable disappointments might say the most about my expectations. They're disposable just after they seemed like the only possible One Best Way.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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