Most things in life happen because you expect them to.
You assume to feel a certain way when you wake up in the morning – and most likely that’s what you’ll get. You anticipate a line at the post office when dropping off a letter and, voila, there it is. It’s called habituation.
Every once in a while, however, the pattern is disrupted. All of a sudden, things turn out in surprisingly new ways and for a short moment, the veil of your day-to-day routine is lifted. Maybe you overslept and your whole morning unfolds completely different from other days. Or, maybe a volcano erupts and the trip you had been looking forward to for weeks is unexpectedly canceled.
While these are all outside influences, there is yet another way of disrupting your expectations, and it’s through awareness. If you look into your life and realize that most of your activities run on auto pilot, you can consciously challenge your assumptions and create new and astonishing results. To do this you have to
1. Be Aware of Your Expectations.
To change what you are expecting, you first need to be aware of your habits. Take a look around in your life and realize how your assumptions have secretly turned into ironclad facts.
2. Challenge Your Expectations.
With more awareness, come new choices. Once you noticed your expectations, challenge them. What if things can be different? Maybe you don’t have to wake up in a grumpy mood every morning? Or, maybe there isn’t a long line at the post office.
3. Create More Inspiring Experiences.
Once you realize how much power you have in shaping your life by not knowing how it’s going to unfold, you can consciously create outcomes that are more exciting.
Below, I am sharing a story from my own life. Find out how many years ago I realized that I had created a character (my habitual self) that was utterly boring and how I went about to change it:
Most of us take on a personality when we grow up, a way of being that gets us through life unharmed and unscathed. In my case, I thought I would fare best by being responsible, dependable, and a know-it-all (my sister was the cute one, so scoring with my good looks was not an option). With this character I had developed a seriousness that as an adult pervaded my whole being.
This didn’t really bother me until I moved to Austin, TX. Boy, were things different here. People were smiling all day long in a BIG way and my serious mood was most unusual. It was especially noticeable every time I went out to dance and have a good time. While other women were asked on the dance floor all night long, few men approached me and if they did, it was only once.
I was clueless to why this happened and convinced myself that men didn’t like me very much. I talked to one of my girlfriends about it and she simply told me to lighten up and to be a bit more cheerful. “Well,” I replied, “that’s just not who I am.” Her response was, “Oh, just fake it then.”
I was confused. What in the world was she thinking? How could I fake something so foreign to my true to my nature? Surely, nobody would buy my act. Nevertheless, the next time out on the town, I tried it. Equipped with a strawberry Margarita, I put a big (fake) smile on my face. Sure enough, a handsome Texan fellow asked me to dance. I kept smiling – and dancing – all night long.
I was shocked! Men even told me that I was a lot of fun. “What? They went for it?” I couldn’t believe it. Yet, encouraged through the feedback, I kept up my act until it became second nature. I learned to genuinely enjoy myself and realized that being playful was closer who I was than my old serious self.
I hope this inspires you to try your luck with a new approach to your expectations in life. Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear your story.
As always, thank you for reading,
P.S. Did you ever fake a situation in your life? What was the outcome? Tell us in the comment section below.
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