Promise and Possibility

by Christopher Lovejoy on June 25, 2010 · 7 comments

For me, personal fulfillment is not so much a goal as it is a path.

A path with promise.

A path with possibilities.

On this path, you can pause to reflect on where you’ve been to inform your sense of promise.

On this path, you can pause to observe the way ahead to inform your sense of possibility.

Or you can pause to clear your heart and mind of any concern for promise and possibility to refresh your soul and spirit.

Concern for promise and possibility need not be a burden to your soul or spirit.

The expectation that you improve, succeed, or excel in this world is so pervasive, so persistent, you might have forgotten you have a choice about whether to go along with it.

If you wish to improve, succeed, or excel in any way, to cultivate your sense of promise with a sense of possibility, then might I suggest that you do it on your own terms, with a view towards self-mastery.

And if, for whatever reason, the expectation that you improve, succeed, or excel leaves you cold and without care, then might I suggest that you bless this response with all your heart and soul, and find your promise in peace and love and your possibilities with joy and bliss.

At this point, I have a confession to make, even at the risk of losing some of my readers, but with the prospect of gaining the loyalty of others.

The expectation that I improve, succeed, or excel leaves me cold.

There, I said it.

Actually, this dreaded expectation does more than just leave me cold.

My sense of promise, my very soul, shrinks, shrieks, and shrivels with every imposed expectation that I improve, succeed, or excel.

I know I’m not the only one.

Do we have a problem with making improvements, gaining success, or striving for excellence?

Not at all.

It’s the dreaded expectation.

In the absence of this expectation, we expect to fulfill our own promise through peace and love; we expect to realize our own possibilities through joy and bliss.

How do we propose to do this?

That is what this site is about.

{ 4 comments }

Insight Hunter June 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I think I hear what you are saying. Maybe we shouldn’t expect to improve. It might be psychologically better to just take life as it comes and think improving would be nice, but it would be okay if we stayed the same. All expectations (whether conscious or not) are potentially harmful to your self-image. Example, I’m a pretty good writer; there might be an expectation that I be published, and when it doesn’t happen, negativity sets in.

However, expecting oneself to improve is a natural, psychological thing to do. Few want to be where they are now five years down the road. Even if you told yourself not to expect something, it is hard for the brain to comply, like not getting your hopes up after a job interview went well.

Sometimes people psychologically fool themselves into believing they have more promise than they actually do, so that they can remain hopeful. If they were too honest with themselves, they might be depressed over their situation. If one fools oneself in this way, one would expect that one would improve eventually.

I examined myself in this area, and I really don’t think I expect to be better. I think I’m too honest with myself and my logical brain does not let my mind wander too far off the path. Dream job would be nice, but I don’t expect it. Perfect girlfriend/spouse would be nice, but I don’t expect that either. Mystical experience on demand would be nice, but I am not holding my breath. I hope things will improve. I work towards doing what I can to better my chances, but a lot of it is luck.

Now what if someone is especially driven and hard-working? It would not be wrong for such a person to expect some success and improvement. As an example, if you run for years and years, you would expect some improvement in your ability.

As long as (1) the expectations concern things you really want (and not what society wants for you), (2) you are working towards bettering those areas important to you, and (3) are not overly self-deceiving yourself about the possibility of success, I don’t think expecting to be better is that bad.

Christopher Lovejoy June 27, 2010 at 11:47 am

Hello, my friend, I very much appreciate your thoughtful feedback on the nature of expectation. It’s provided me with some food for thought, highlighting essential issues.

I believe I would do better not to expect myself (or someone else) to improve, succeed, or excel, if what I expect contains a judgment with a dreaded consequence (I’ll explore what this means in my next post).

I, too, think that few of us want to remain where we are now. It’s natural for us to want to learn and grow, improve and expand, succeed and excel. The expectation that we do so is natural, normal, and healthy.

The decision to adopt the policy of “fake it ’til you make it” is a personal one. It’s important to be honest, but perhaps there’s also such a thing as being too honest or being honest to a fault. Having said this, I also respect someone’s right to stay honest under any and all circumstances.

I can be honest about my chances of success, of getting a certain result or outcome in my life, but I also like to think that I can be honest with myself when I expect more or better, and do so without any judgments that carry dreaded consequences.

You ask a great question when you inquired about driven, hard-working people. Certainly, it wouldn’t be wrong for them to expect a little improvement or success, but I’d fear that their ‘drivenness’ is evidence of judgment-laced expectations. Of course, it could also be evidence of a natural passion for accomplishment.

Your concluding statement makes for an informative list of criteria for having what I call A Reasonable Expectation. The expectation comes from within; it respects your needs and desires; and it keeps you honest about your chances for success.

Evelyn Lim July 18, 2010 at 3:51 am

Congratulations, Christopher, for the launch of your new site! I am glad that you have finally taken the step to start one!

I also find that when I have less expectation of myself in the need to score, amazing things can happen. I need to get out of out my own way, essentially!

Christopher Lovejoy July 18, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thank you, Evelyn, for your vote of confidence. It’s so nice to see you here.

The wisdom that you share in your comment is well taken. Being intently and vitally aware of what you desire, while leaving open the possibility of not ever having it, can paradoxically work wonders for bringing it into your experience of reality.

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