1. Buddhist

Expectations? – Not If You Want to End Suffering

When we engage ourselves in some project, some effort … be it business, personal or artistic … it is natural to have expectations for the project’s success.  Usually expectations tend to be high, often unrealistically so.  Regardless whether the project started from something that was your heart’s desire, something skillful, the ego attaches itself to such projects and turns them into attachments or cravings.  Thus the high expectations; the ego doesn’t participate in efforts whose chances of success are low.

But as we all know, more often than not, our projects do not meet our expectations, indeed often they just don’t pan out; we feel rejected, we feel frustrated and suffer.  Depending on how much of our ego we’ve invested in the project, the “failure” can be devastating to our feelings of self-esteem.

The answer is not trying harder or being smarter in one’s efforts, it is instead to expect that the project/effort will encounter a rocky road.  This is typically a fact of life.

If you expect it, then when you experience it you will not be disappointed.  You will be able to say, it’s just the way it is, and commit to practicing patience.  Or say, it’s just not meant to be.  Whichever, you will be able to apply clear thought, without engaging the power of your mind which would muddy up the clarity.

Next time you start pursuing something, be scrupulous about not having expectations, for it not becoming an attachment.  Expect the process to be rocky road.  Just do it because your heart tells you it’s the right thing for you to do.  Then you can give it your full energy without anxiety.

Indeed, you will be able to give it more energy, and therefore increase the likelihood of success, precisely because you have no expectations and therefore are not beset with doubts and anxiety.  The ego-mind is very good at playing games … at setting you up and then pulling you down.

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