The weight of expectations

What weighs more heavily on one, far more than the extra kilos one piles on, is the uneasy burden of expectations, and no one is exempt from it. To be above it, calls for a very special mental make-up that can build a citadel against the invasion of expectations.

At times, it happens that the relief we feel after achieving something is far greater than the excitement of the achievement. While we understand that it’s purely in someone’s best interest, we cannot overlook the burden factor.

We all know that expectations don’t cease but instead mount with every performance. And, it’s a fact that we tend to expect more from those who perform. Human nature is such that you don’t expect much from under performers, whereas regular performers are only given heavier burdens of expectations to carry. Does this mean the underdog is the one inadvertently blessed with the advantage of being own self and the freedom to explore his potential in his style, at his pace??

I remember once a student whose marks generally hovered on either side of the passing grade telling me that if he scored 60% in Higher Secondary, his father had promised him a bike for college. I figure this happens with almost everyone at that age; at least it did with me, just that 60 had to be 90!

If we talk about professional expectations, they are a lot easier to handle than the expectation at home and in relationships. At work, no one nags about your non-performance, but you’re sacked at some point of time if all effort to make you perform comes to no avail. But, in relationships the option doesn’t exist. Moreover, at work one always desires greater challenges when a task gets accomplished- we certainly don’t want to do same things over and over. In relationships, more is expected from people who do, and there is no saturation point to the expectations then.

The bar of expectations is definitely a burden if one doesn’t learn to shrug it off now and then, keep it aside and live on one’s own terms. I suspect a refined shrewdness in the attitude of the performing underdog. What do you think??

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42 responses to “The weight of expectations

  1. great expectations from great people and mere expectations from the general! the tag of expectations never leaves in the whole lifetime,whether in exams ,life,work,sales,targets,relations,society…I think it is a freetag that comes as we grow!

  2. You always a have profound thoughts to bring to the table… There is a difference between the underdog and the under-performer, I think. The latter may not have the mental capability to perform and may in fact be happier within his limits than the underdog who is kept down and out by others, or by circumstances he cannot control. The underdog can rise to respond to expectations more easily than the person unable to even recognize them. Expectations follows us all life long, they seem a burden but in reality they hone us. They stimulate us to become creative and fearless – and our own expectation of ourselves enrich us that way much more than those imposed by parents and family.
    Parents must realize that their role is to step aside at one point to allow the person that they have been creating, to go into the world walking on his/her own legs under his/her own expectations. I said step aside only, not go away; and we parents must be careful not to throw expectations that we had for us onto the back of our children. To each his/her especially chosen expectations, freely chosen, not those imposed by others. Expectations without meaning are the true burden. Those we choose are the adventure of life. Pick them carefully, if they correspond to your ideals and dreams you’ll carry them lightly. Do not confuse ideals with dreams, the latter are often unrealistic, they can become stones and shackles tied to your foot, while ideals are like a guide book. I was lucky that my ideals did most of the time correspond to my dreams; if I ran into a mismatch, I was able to change my fate, following the ideals.
    Now in my latter years the expectations have diminished and I can look back without any important regrets, I can look back at the mental adventure that my life truly has been, review how I Iived and replay the wonderful memories of the “movie” of my life. Thank you Tapish for bringing me to think about all this. It must be what people call “inspiring”!

    • I’m just speechless!! This is one of the best comments I have ever received and this kind of response from your side makes me eagerly wait for your comment on every such post.
      You have seen so much in life that your thoughts definitely reflect your experience. I am really lucky to have a reader like you, Vera.
      You are an inspiration to me!
      Regards. May God bless you.

  3. Most of us, including me, live up to people’s expectations when we shouldn’t be. We are afraid to disappoint them at our expense. It’s human nature. I just hope I can get over this and as you said – live on my own terms at my own pace. Great post Tapish.

    • Hmm that’s true. Trying to meet everyone’s expectations is really difficult. It does not let you to be you own self. It’s said that the best relationships are those in which you can be the real YOU.
      Best wishes and good luck to you!
      Thank you.

  4. This was a wonderful article. I enjoyed it very much. I think expectations we lay upon ourselves can sometimes interfere with the expectations we have of others … sometimes! Thank you, Penny

  5. Your last line made me laugh! But it true… Nevertheless, we have to march to the beat of our own drum, no matter what… Living up to expectations can be life on a razor’s edge. 😉

  6. Pingback: Treasured Response | Life of 24 Hours·

  7. Nice post! I think there’s another side to the subject of expectations, though, and that is fear of success. It’s an odd thing, but I think we sometimes feel the pressure of our own expectations of ourselves because we know deep inside that we’re capable of achieving them.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  8. There’s also another psychological approach that I prefer much better – to tell people that they are already doing greater than what you would like them to do. And, surprisingly, they get to the level that you expect. It’s the level that i slower than what you praised them for, but works perfectly. I found out of this from teachings of Viktor Frankl.

  9. Great post. In relationships (but also some other areas) there is an element to expectation that is never ending – that is perpetually increasing. Ultimately that is self-defeating.

    • Relationships take this to a different level together I feel. Nothing can me stated as a fact for relationships. It’s all about the expectations and other feelings. How much is reciprocated, how are you treated in turn. How that someone makes you feel and so on. BUT expectations can never cease to happen.

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