Phipps Files

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Expectations November 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — sjphipps @ 9:49 PM
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I was reading Seth Godin’s blog and came across a post about expectations. I am not really sure how I feel about his post. At first, I thought he was advocating for setting the bar high and trying to achieve no matter what. However, when we don’t attain these expectations, we feel like failures. He questions whether we just shouldn’t have expectations, just effort and acceptance. I don’t think effort without an expectation is possible. We will always expect something at the end of our efforts. When something doesn’t work, we try again. This is possibly the most important part of learning. When at first we don’t succeed, we try again. Try- fail-learn- reflect- try again-success. Isn’t this what encouragement is all about? Don’t we always say to students that it’s not how hard we fall but how we get back up? What do you think?


Expectations by tinou bao, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  tinou bao 

2 Responses to “Expectations”

  1. For some reason, the link to Godin’s article didn’t work for me – but here it is:

    I understand your hesitance to take what Godin says as credible, as we’ve been taught our entire lives to set very high expectations (‘shoot for the stars, settle for the moon’). But, I do believe it is a contributor to the downfall of so many lost goals – whether it’s New Years resolutions, that new fitness plan, or our work.

    Yes, we need to be encouraging, but I do believe we need to set some element of realism to our goals. This is not to discount the unexpected, but I think we can allow for this with a better framework for setting reasonable expectations.

    I’m forever a realist – although, to my detriment, I enjoy the company of idealists. 🙂

  2. I agree that effort without expectations does seem hard to imagine. Maybe setting “reasonable” expectations instead of “high” expectations. By making them reasonable, they might be more attainable, and lead to small, incremental progress (in a cycle of try, fail, learn, and reflect as you describe), rather than a dramatic, one-time burst. I recently heard someone describing the learning model of video games as consisting of multiple “good” failures, where you follow the same cycle repeatedly, until you gain mastery. Seems to work for WoW.

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