What Do You Expect?
By Steve Goodier
"Well, what do you expect?" Has anybody ever asked you that?
Sometimes, my greatest disappointments have come because I
expected something that was simply not realistic.
You may know that Robert Lucas won the 1995 Nobel Memorial Prize
in economics. His ex-wife received half of his $1 million award.
Yes, his EX-wife. As it happened, when they were divorcing in
1988, she had her lawyer add one tiny clause to the property
settlement: "Wife shall receive 50 percent of any Nobel prize."
And her clause had an expiration date: October 31, 1995. He won
the prize on October 10.
One would think that her expectation of him winning a Nobel Prize
might be irrational. How many people do that? Itís something like
my winning the Iron Man Marathon by the year 3000. That just
But the difference is that I donít train, and she seemed to be
sure that it was only a matter of time before his outstanding
work would be recognized in such a way. Within seven years, she
thought. So it turned out her expectation was entirely rational.
(Ironically, Lucas was honored for an economic theory he called,
I admittedly know nothing about Lucasí Theory of Rational
Expectations in economics. But I do know something about
irrational expectations among people. And I know that irrational
expectations can cause untold disappointment.
Like the expectation that someone else will make me happy. This
is irrational. Nobody can make me happy. That is my job. If I
expect others to make me happy or to keep me happy, I know I will
be disappointed again and again.
Or the expectation that life should be, for the most part,
relatively easy and problem free. This, too, is irrational. Bad
things happen. Living can be difficult. If I expect things to be
easy, if I expect NOT to have problems, if I expect to avoid pain
and heartache, I know I will be in for serious disappointment.
Problems are here to stay.
I donít mean to paint a picture of life as bleak and miserable.
It isnít. In fact, I think it is amazingly wonderful. And all the
more wonderful when I donít expect too much out of it. I expect
problems, but I also expect to find joy. I do not expect others
to always please me, but I do expect to be responsible for my own
So- what did you expect? I think if you can answer that question
well, you can expect to be much happier.
Steve Goodier Publisher@LifeSupportSystem.com is a professional
speaker, consultant and author of numerous books. Visit his site
for more information, or to sign up for his FREE newsletter of
Life, Love and Laughter at http://LifeSupportSystem.com.