Sunday, July 13, 2008

Expectations –The Absurd and the Feasible

Yes. We’re all familiar with expectations. Everyone has them, everyone’s seen them before. For now, let’s look at them a bit more in detail. There are three different kinds – ones that are ridiculously high, ones that are doable, and ones that we could surpass without effort. Out of these three, the ones that give people the most trouble are the ones that stray between the border of reality and chaos.

At least once, you’ll see someone who assumes your capabilities are greater than they truly are. Maybe this is your insane math teacher that gives out impossible tests and expects you to be able to maintain an average of at least 99%. Perhaps it’s your parents, who want you to become a surgeon despite the fact that you have hemophobia. It’s even possible that the one with high standards is none other than yourself, stressing out over your latest 10 point essay.

So, what would most people do if and when this happens to them? Let’s look the situation with the teacher first. If asked, the average person would probably reply “I’d get really mad at that teacher and request a change in classes from my counselor.” Now, consider what you probably would do. Although there would be much whining, not that many people would probably take action. Why? Because most people don’t have the nerve to tell the teacher outright that they couldn’t teach someone how to open a file on Windows XP, let alone teach their class geometry. The idea of a teacher holding a grudge against you is simply too intimidating for most people.

If a teacher holding a grudge against you is that powerful, the thought of having a close person dislike you even slightly is just as, if not even more stressful. Telling your dad “I’m sorry, but there’s no way I can be the perfect prosecutor you’ve always wanted me to be. It’s all just too boring. I’m going to be a stunt person,” is pretty bad, but they’re also your parents. They’ll probably understand, unless they’ve been manipulating you for the past ten years. Not to mention, it would really suck if you were stuck at law school thinking about skydiving.

Thinking about all of this, isn’t it clear why most people hold their tongue and suffer instead of going and doing something about it? Well, if you really need it clarified, let me spell a few out.

A. They’re scared.

As mentioned in the example with the teacher, there are negative side effects to trying that people might not consider worth the risk.

B. They don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.

Imagine you had a good girlfriend/boyfriend. Unfortunately, you both disagree on where to live. Do you really want to deny them a life in the city that they’ve grown familiar with?

C. They don’t want to admit that they can’t do it.

Try putting yourself in this situation – You’ve spent your entire summer training to make the cross country team. Guess what, you made it in. Congratulations. The coach announces that you will be training by running 5 miles nonstop every day. Even though you’ve been training all summer, you’re not that great at running. You know you’ll fail and be dropped, but you don’t say anything. Just because you don’t want to admit your entire summer’s been a waste.

D. Other.

What? You can't seriously expect me to list everything here. It's long enough as it is, and I can't think up every situation that exists

Either way, it's time for this old man to end his ranting.


Add to Technorati Favorites

1 comment:

mourning.glory said...

Sendak finally wrote something! Sums up everything quite well with that Sendak-touch.