You’ve heard it said ‘when all else fails, lower your expectations’ — I say ‘before!’. Why? Long ago I heard this quote and took it with me: “Discouragement is the illegitimate child of false expectations!” Loyd Ogilive. I believe most, if not all, of our disappointment comes from what expect in a certain situation. In jest I say to my wife, “if only you’d lower your expectations, I could be the man of your dreams” and there is some truth in that. The only time I get frustrated with her is when I forget that people are unmanageable and that my expectations are just that; my expectations and not anyone else’s truth or reality…
One of my favorite authors Melody Beattie shares this on the topic:
When you’re starting a first creative project or beginning the study of an art or craft, what I want you to do is lower your standards until they disappear. That’s right. You’re not supposed to be any good at the beginning. So you might as well give yourself the liberating gift of joyously expecting yourself to be bad.
— Barbara Sheer and Annie Gotlieb, Wishcraft
When I first began writing newspaper and magazine articles, it took me anywhere from one to three months to complete a short article. After writing for a few years, I brought a timer into my office one day. I told myself I knew how to do what I was doing, now I was going to learn to do it more quickly. Before long, I was able to write in two hours what had previously taken me months to accomplish. The key words here are in time.
When I first began recovering from chemical dependency, it took me eight months of treatment to understand what other people were comprehending in six weeks. In time, I became a chemical dependency counselor. In time, I wrote books on the subject. The key words here are in time.
When I first began recovering from codependency, I couldn’t tell a control gesture from setting a boundary I didn’t know when I was taking care of myself or what that even meant. I didn’t know manipulation from an honest attempt at expressing my emotions. In time, I wrote a best-seller on the subject. Again, the key words here are in time.
Start where you are. Start poorly. Just begin. Let yourself fumble, be awkward and confused. If you already knew how to do it, it wouldn’t be a lesson in your life. And you wouldn’t get the thrill of victory two, five, or ten years from now when you look back and say, “Wow. I’ve gotten good at that over time.”
All things are possible to him or her that believeth, the Bible says. Enjoy those awkward beginnings. Revel in them. They’re the key to your success.
God, help me stop putting off living out of fear of doing it poorly. Help me lower my expectations to allow room for awkward beginnings.” via September 8: Lower Your Expectations.