Those are sage words from productivity guru Stephen Covey.
Think back to your last big frustration. What was it about?
Your friend said they’d meet you around 2:00 for coffee. You showed up at 1:55 as to not be late, they showed up at 2:15. Your expectation was 2:00 on the dot; theirs was “somewhere around 2:00.” You expectation did not match theirs.
The co-worker who indicate they’d have the report done on “Friday.” You thought “Friday” meant by 5:00 PM, but they work late, so “Friday” to them means 10:00 PM.
The roommate who’s responsible to “clean the bathroom.” Your level of “clean” includes toilets scrubbed, floors cleaned by hand, and the towels refreshed. The roommate believes “clean” means wiping down the counters and emptying the garbage.
You order a “medium rare” steak in a restaurant, and it comes back too cooked. Your expectation was it would be pink (130 degrees); the chef cooked it to 145 degrees to ensure food safety,
You throw a party for your friend, and they don’t seem grateful. Your expectation was over-the-top appreciation; they were mortified by the attention.
Have you had any of these types of experiences? I’m guessing you have.
What created the frustration? The gap between your expectation and theirs.
To some, the situations above would have resulted in an “oh well, no biggie” response. For others, each of these situations would have resulted in incredible frustration.
Why the difference? The perspective and tolerance of each participant.
What can you do to mind the gap between your expectation and someone else’s reality? What would it do for you to be able to release such a solid grip on expectations?
“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.” — Brandon Sanderson
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