Let me show you 3 different situations and in the end, you need to tell me the similarity between all the 3 situations. So should we start?

  • Joseph and his aunt Marry

4428735-cartoon-baseball-player-swinging-a-big-batMarry – Hey Joseph, heard from your mom that you’re participating in inter-school baseball competition?

Joseph – Yes, aunty. And I’m much excited about it. We’ll rock.

Marry – Wow! Great. So who’s gonna be the captain this time?

Joseph – Me. And who else?

Marry – But how can you be so sure about it?

Joseph – I mean I’ve been the captain since last 3 yrs. People like me.

Marry – Don’t you have a contender, someone to fight for the captainship?

Joseph – Ah, no no. I’m the best.


Aftermath – Joseph was not selected as captain. A classmate of Joseph – Ricky – was selected instead since his leadership was better than Joseph.


  • Ron and his business executive Sarah

can-stock-photo_csp12489313Sarah – Ron, don’t you think we need to improvise this version of our mobile device?

Ron – What kind of improvement? I mean customers love this.

Sarah – But Ron, business curves are showing something else. People want to share contents with devices of other brands too. This may affect our sales in future. We are only allowing people to share contents among devices of our brand alone.

Ron – Sarah, see, we are very reputed. And we want a level of privacy and purity. If we let people share with other devices, may be, we will not do that well in market. With this feature, our business will soar high.


Aftermath – 4 years and the company went bankrupt. People actually want to share contents with everyone.


  • Martin and her daughter Nuria

pco5epyriMartin – Hey, I think this blue jeans is perfect gift for your mom in our anniversary.

Nuria – But dad, mom has enough blue jeans. She wants a black jeans.

Martin – Black? Does that even suit your mom? Blue is perfect. She will love it.

Nuria – But you see, she has blue jeans. She is even planning for a black jeans.

Martin – Nuria, you don’t understand. She would love this one.


Aftermath – Martin had to face a tragedy in their anniversary. His wife actually didn’t want one more blue jeans. She was actually expecting a black jeans. Nuria was right.


So what’s the lesson? What you learnt? Any similarity between all these 3 different scenarios? Let’s do a brief analysis of them –

  • Despite the fact that there’re better leaders than Joseph, he ignored this fact and instead expected himself to be elected as captain again. May be because of that, he never worked harder to make himself better.
  • Ron just lived in a world made by him. For him, what he thought was the best. No matter, whether customers like it or not. He never bothered to look upon the real charts.
  • Martin was overconfident with the fact that his choice would coincide with that of her wife. He never bothered to ask her what she loves. Instead, imposed his choice without knowing the reality.

Though all these situations seem different, but they have one thing in common – every one of them expected in a wrong way. In these cases, they expected more than it’s required without trying to confront the reality.

In many episode of my own life, I expected either more than what I should have or less than that, which later resulted into depression and discouragement. And the immediate question that followed was – ‘Why me?’ It hurts when you don’t get what you expect. Be it in personal life, professional life or wherever…Anywhere and everywhere, when our expectations are not met, we consider ourselves failures.

But for every failure, there are hundreds of different reasons and your wrong expectation is also one of them. Let’s say you know your capacity is to bring ‘B’ grade in school tests. Despite your efforts, you usually bring a ‘B’. Now, if in a particular test, you’re expecting an ‘A+’ then that would hurt you. That doesn’t mean that you can’t bring an A+. You can. But for that the old strategies will not work. You’d have to change. Carrying on with old philosophies doesn’t lead to new results. For a new destination, the old path has to be changed. You need to take on new strategies, new philosophies and a whole new road.

It’s a common problem with many of us – that we expect without confronting the reality. Let’s say you applied for a new job. You did your interview pretty well according to you. But when the results are out – you are not selected. Why? May be that the interviewers didn’t like you. It’s just that you considered yourself good. And you kept on expecting. Now does that mean you shouldn’t expect at all?

Not really. If you don’t expect anything, that means you’re giving up on your hopes. And then, you would amount to nothing. You need to expect. But in a right amount. And there comes the EXPECTATION vs. REALITY curve. So that you can confront the reality without hurting your expectations.

Ok, so, what’s an EXPECTATION vs. REALITY curve? Well let me clarify you that I’m not giving you a statistical result. It’s just an analogy to understand why our expectations are not met in the way they should. If you know a bit about curve, you know that the horizontal line is x-axis and the vertical is y-axis. And we would plot reality (in y-axis) against expectation (in x-axis). Are you comfortable with that? Okay, so here’s how it will look like:


Now before that let me make some revelations – first, I’ve taken this image from internet by searching ‘downward facing parabola’ and then edited it. Second, I’ve not conducted any experiment on that so this curve is not meant to be scaled. Third, this is just an analogy. It’s not necessary that the curve is a regular parabola.

So if you’re comfortable with that, let me continue. You see, as we start from the origin, the slope of the graph is increasing and then somewhere (in the middle) we arrive at the point for which we get maximum reality. And as we continue that slope decreases. That point for which we are getting maximum reality is the ‘optimal expectation point’. Go little right from that and reality starts to distort and go little left and the same happen. I am not being technical. This is not a technical series. I’m just trying to give you an analogy. The truth is that only when you expect in a very right amount, you get the realistic version of your expectation. Else you need to meet with disappointment. Not confronting the truth and still expecting is a pure foolishness.

You see few years from today, Nokia was the hit. Everyone talks about Nokia handsets. Isn’t that true? The key pad was the new hit. I still remember how we used to talk about mobile phones back then. But then came Steve Jobs and he disrupted the market. Love it or not, screen touch came into play. And now it’s 2016. Ask how many of people around you use screen touch mobile and how many use key pad mobile. Though at times, that screen touch model had to face skepticism. But with time, we know how that screen touch uprooted the key pad from the market. Now who is the winner – one who ignored the reality or one who tried to confront it? Here I’m not declaring winner or loser, but I’m just telling about the change that came about. Today people don’t use Nokia as much as people use other brands. Not because Nokia is not good, but because they couldn’t sustain the new change.

The point is – if you are just expecting your sales curve to go up, that’s not gonna happen anytime soon. You really need to go outside and confront the reality instead of just naked expectations. Too much expectation is also dangerous and too little of it is also. If you expect nothing, you can’t do anything. You’re hopeless. And if you expect much, you put yourself in disaster. You should only expect properly. And how to do that?

Let’s say you have cooked a new recipe for your guests. You are not sure if that would save your day. Now if you’re expecting much from it…I mean you just want your guests to clap for that, then may be that you meet with disappointment. And if you’re not expecting at all, may be that you wouldn’t put any effort in cooking. Now the right one? Simply, expect your guests to like it.  Nothing much. Isn’t that cool? I mean you’re not putting any unnecessary stress on yourself.


Anyways, if you really want to be happy in life, just chill, don’t expect much. Over expectation will always make you feel failure and little expectation would make your life hopeless. You don’t want either. Right? So what should you do? Just expect according to the real situation – only then your expectation would meet the reality to maximum extent.

Still, I suggest it’s better to accept than to expect. Accept what you get and then try to change it for good. But still if you want to expect, expect properly. Remember that ‘optimal expectation point’!

©Sandeep Deva Misra. 2016. All the images in the post are taken from internet. For more information on our copyright policy, go to COPYRIGHT

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