Limitations and Expectations are two powerful metaphysical forces that impact our lives.
And I ain’t talking in the positive way.
Limitations and expectations are are two of many manifestations that spring from our brain’s hippocampus, the creative center. This is the part of the brain that allows us to take information from previous experiences and not only re-construct past events, but also project our minds into the realm of possibility.
In short, we remember the past and project into the future through this part of our brain.
Being able to use information from the past to make wiser decisions in the present and imagine outcomes for the future are two strengths that have allowed human beings to avoid danger and pass on their genes for tens of thousands of years.
Life in the present day, however, is more than just making it through the day and passing on genes.
We aren’t being hunted by predators and we aren’t worrying about attacks from rival tribes….at least not yet….
Nonetheless, this software still exists. While at it’s core these abilities are positive, in our current world, limitations and expectations can stifle growth and self-actualization.
Stop Telling Yourself Stories
Have you ever told yourself any of the stories below?
“I’m not talented enough.”
“THAT level of success only happens for other people.”
“I’ll never be that fit.”
These stories all have one thing in common: they are limiting because they are grounded in comparison to others.
A way to reframe those statements:
“I work hard on things that are important to me.”
“I determine how successful I can be.”
“If I just keep showing up for myself, I’ll be strong, healthy, and happy.”
It’s so cliche to say that you need to stop comparing yourself to others. Humans are, after all, social animals. Knowing where we stand in the hierarchy of a group is hardwired into our genes. The moment we stop feeding this instinct, the moment we can unshackle ourselves from the burdens of limitations.
The World Owes You Nothing
Expecting things to just happen TO and FOR you is yet another sure fire way to fall short of achieving goals.
Now, let me know if this sounds familiar.
How many times have you been excited for annual New Year’s Eve soirees??? You get a new cute dress, or a fresh new suit, your best friends have tickets to a fantastic venue and you are ready to imbibe in some choice adult beverages. You envision yourself having a blast and right before the ball drops, you’ll have found someone to share in a midnight kiss.
Rarely does it go as planned…. The dress or suit gets a rip in it, there’s some drama between two of your friends, the venue is too packed and you have no space to dance or hear your friends, the drinks take forever to get, and you are left alone as the ball drops. Even better the next day, a hangover of unmatched intensity helps you ring in the new year!
Having expectations about how events will unfold is like believing that more water can be held in your hand if you only squeeze harder. The more you want something to happen, more often than not it doesn’t go according to plan. The water slips out of your hand as you squeeze harder and harder to hold on to it…
Thinking that you deserve something to happen because you’ve put forth the “necessary” amount of work to achieve it, is also a surefire way to end up with disappointment.
While training equal parts hard and smart for a race or a game does improve your odds at success, it does not guarantee anything.
The moment you start having expectations around an experience, you also increase the pressure around ensuring the results match your expectations. The mind starts to ruminate on “what-if” scenarios and a spiral of thoughts starts.
“What if I don’t perform like I thought I would?”
“If I don’t perform well, then what was all of that work for?”
“What will people think of me if I don’t perform well? They’ve seen me do all of this work. I’ll be such a failure.”
Expectations are a trickier thought to deal with than limitations, but there’s still a solution around them. Let’s take those statements and reframe them.
“I’ve prepared the best I can and I can’t control the outcome of anything. I can only ensure that my mindset is focused, positive, and determined.”
“I’ve truly enjoyed the process of getting here. The journey itself is what mattered. I’ve learned so much, grown so much, and developed through the hours of work. The weight lifted, pounds lost, results of the race will take care of themselves and ultimately don’t matter.
“The people who truly love me and matter will love me and care for me regardless of how I perform at anything. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter.”
“No Limitations and No Expectations” is a mantra of success that points to how to successfully navigate any great endeavor.
It’s a reminder to focus on the process. To follow the path with open eyes and heart.
You will never know how far you can go or what a journey can teach you if you’ve already set the parameters and outcomes of the adventure.
Let go and let it happen.
You might just surprise yourself.