Monday, February 13, 2012


If you don't expect the world to be fair or kind or logical, that can do wonders for your state of mind. This doesn't mean that you scoff at fairness, kindness or logic or in any way devalue those qualities or others. It means that you don't lead with your chin.

Now before the "What you expect is what you get" crowd gets upset, let me elaborate. You will certainly do your best to be fair, kind and logical with others (and with yourself) and you should avoid expecting unfair, unkind or illogical behavior, but you should not be surprised if people fall short. Some of the most idealistic people I've known are regularly disappointed by others because they have expected them to behave like saints or near-saints.

I believe they overlook how messy life is and how experience is often a better guide than reason.


Vikrama Dhiman said...

As a leader, I'd love to do it. Its obviously less stress. But wont that lower your and your team standards?


Kurt Harden said...

Well said, Michael. The world is not fair. It doesn't mean we shouldn't lead by example, simply that we should ground our expectations in reality. Better to pleasantly surprised than constantly disappointed.


Michael Wade said...


Good question. I've found that it improves performance because there is a clearer perception of reality.


Michael Wade said...


Thanks. Your last line is especially powerful.


Bob said...

I enjoy not expecting very much, and just experiencing what occurs. I really like quality, and it's fantastic when you find it. I teach part time, second job, at night, after work, not because I have to but I like it, I like to give back to the industry that is good to me. I get such a buzz when somebody hands in a fantastic assignment that they worked hard on, most are reasonable to good, some are poor, but they tried their best hardly any are unacceptable, but that is just life.

If you have expectations make sure those expectations are from the right person.

I think as I get older that if I have to specifically ask for a certain level of performance from somebody, where they should know what is required, then they probably really are not the right person to be asking.