People expect us to become a certain kind of person and we expect ourselves to become a certain kind of person. Are expectations good or bad?
Personally, I am the kind of person who expects the minimum from others and prefer that people expect the minimum from me as well. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but for me, lower expectations help me to stay grounded to reality and the facts.
There are times when you would encounter people whom you might have great expectations from. So I have found myself expecting much more than I would normally expect from other people. But I always try to remind myself that, at the end of the day, there is no such thing as a perfect person.
A person might be good in one aspect and fail miserably at another. Often, I find myself readying for the worst scenarios. Some people would definitely find this a bit sad, because who would want to always look at the dark side of things, right? I like to do so because I would like to protect myself from disappointment. And I often find myself becoming less disappointed than other people when something or someone fails to turn out as expected.
It might be a bit sad to think this way because expecting the minimum may restrict me from having a brighter outlook on things. But I still prefer to keep my expectations low because, if things turn out for the best, I will enjoy it much more than the person who had great expectations from the onset.
The thing with low expectations is that it restricts you from demanding and getting what you actually deserve. The lower your expectations, the lower your likelihood of demanding what you deserve, and the more likely it is that you will not be getting what you deserve.
Here in Ethiopia, we are so much used to suboptimal goods and services, suboptimal governance systems, suboptimal security situations, etc.
So I feel that we have come to the point that our expectations from things and people have come down to the bear minimum. And this brings us to the vicious cycle where expecting the minimum leads to demanding the minimum and getting the minimum, and even getting below the minimum.
So, should we start expecting more to be able to at least get close to what we deserve? Of course, the answer would be yes. But I feel that sometimes, what we should expect and what we ask for should be close to the most likely scenario, to the reality, if not close to the worst scenario or the bear minimum.
I know people from the diaspora who expect in this country, the same things they would expect in the US or Europe. Because of such great expectations, many are discouraged from coming to this country and contribute the minimum. Not only do they get discouraged themselves but also discourage others. It always helps to stay grounded to reality.
As much as we may not like to hear it, the standards here cannot be the same as the standards in developing nations. I say, anyone who has willingly accepted to live in this country should live in it with the lower standards in mind. And those people who succeed in this country are not those who complain of the unmet great expectations.
Rather, they are those who accept that such great expectations cannot be met or can only be met gradually with time, and work around what is workable to achieve the greatest results possible.