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What Are You Expecting?

by Linda-Ann Stewart



People only see what they are prepared to see. Ralph Waldo Emerson quote


"People only see what they are prepared to see." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Imagine you're at a networking meeting where you don't know anyone. You feel out of place and just a little anxious. A nicely dressed woman walks in your direction. Uneasy, you prepare to introduce yourself and smile at her. But she never makes eye contact, walks right by and you feel snubbed.

You filtered her actions through your beliefs and expectations. Because you already felt insecure, you believed she deliberately ignored you. The truth is that she probably was focused on someone across the room that she knew and never even noticed you. But you interpreted her actions to be what you expected, which was to be ignored, rather than she just wasn't aware of you.

We See What We Expect

As we go through life, it's human nature to notice things that reinforce what we already believe. For example, a salesperson gets uncomfortable with a potential client being quiet during a sales conversation. The salesperson thinks the client has no interest in the product, when the client is actually trying to figure out how they can pay for the item.

Negative people seek out any information that downplays optimism being beneficial so they can validate being pessimistic. A self-confident, outgoing person expects people to like them. They believe that everyone they meet is a potential friend, and because of their attitude, most people respond to their warmth.

Expectations Shape Results

Everything in your life is filtered through what you expect and believe. Anything that disputes or questions your perceptions is demeaned or dismissed. When you have so narrow a focus, you won't notice other ideas or opportunities that present themselves to you. Possibilities may be all around you, but since you're not expecting them, you overlook them. And sometimes, if they're presented to you, you rebuff them because they don't fit into the picture you have in your mind.

If your beliefs and expectations are the lens through which you view life, then that outlook is where your focus is. Wherever you put your attention affects your actions. For instance, when you expect an idea or project to be rejected, you don't put a lot of effort into it. So your expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because your decisions, behaviors and actions influenced the outcome.

Change Your Filter

The way to see things differently, so your results improve, is to change the filter through which you view conditions. When you have a disappointing encounter, ask yourself the following questions.
  • What did you expect from it?
  • Was your expectation unrealistic?
  • Did you misread the situation?
  • Did your actions or inactions contribute to the outcome?
  • Were you open and accepting of other options?
  • What can you do to improve the situation?
  • How can you change your beliefs to be more aware of opportunities?
These questions will begin to break through your mental assumptions, allowing you to consider other interpretations. As Wayne Dyer said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Change your expectations, and you'll start seeing a whole new world of possibilities.

Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

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