Having no expectations is the fast track to low standards. Having unrealistic expectations is the fast track to disappointment. Having the right expectations is crucial to success. Here are some right expectations for young people:
1. Expect to be disappointed. We’ve been fed too much superstition.
2. Expect success to be difficult. Success is the achievement of one’s goals. I cannot say I’m a success and I’m quick to correct anyone who says so. I’m still on the path of chasing set goals. Along this path are difficulties, not simply because there are conditions in the way, but mostly because my internal conditions, my character and abilities, need to improve to give me the capability to reach and handle success and the credibility to earn it.
3. Expect to fight. Life has many battles. So be strong. Be disciplined. Be wise. Be connected. Be prepared. Be brave. Don’t be a baby. It’s not the idea you liked that will transform. It’s the idea you lived out and fought for.
4. Don’t expect life to be fair. It’s not. At least it will seem that way. It seems that way because we all have this funny weighing scale that judges the fairness of life based on whether we got what we feel we should get. So more than complaining about how unfair life is, go do something about your situation.
5. Don’t expect all your prayers to be answered the way you think they should be. Expect prayer to change you. An answered prayer looks more like a transformed heart than an answered prayer. I’ve been praying all my life. I can say that most of the things I asked for haven’t been answered. Does that make God bad? No. More than a wish granter, it’s more important to Him that my heart is made right than my lifestyle becomes comfortable.
6. Expect to feel like you’re doing more than others. Maybe you are maybe you’re not. It doesn’t matter. Focus on getting good at what you’re supposed to and surround yourself with people who do the same. Even as bad company can hurt you, good company can give you a huge boost. Many times we identify “good company” as those who make us feel best about ourselves. Could it be they’re the reason why you have so many unmet goals? If life were a basketball game, it’s the best team who wins not the best cheerleaders.
Whenever you feel like your life is hard and other people have it easy or better or are luckier, remember that this is not logical at all and can be easily disproven by statistics and an understanding of how life works. This kind of thinking is called entitlement, and you should guard him more than anything. He has a way of taking good things and turning them into a “right” instead of going the path of humility and discipline that tells you, “You want that? You can have it. So go out there and fight.”