Expectations (almost) Always Ruin the Journey

When we follow our heart or the call of our soul’s longing, we don’t always know why. If you are a goal-setter and achiever life me, it can be frightening to do something without knowing why or where I’m headed. If I know where I am going or what it’s supposed to look like, I have no problem getting there.

The problem is the best things aren’t expected.

Think about falling in love or being in that perfect moment of presence where the whole world suddenly makes sense or the huge a-ha that appeared out of nowhere. We would not have been able to create those on our own, yet they are the markers of joy, relief and growth that we desire in our journey.

Sometimes envisioning the exact package that your dreams will come, is just as disappointing as not working on your dreams at all.  Here’s how.

Knowing the end ruins the journey.

When I know how the book or movie ends, the plot becomes secondary. I look for foreshadowing, but I am less engaged in the details that I feel do not matter to the outcome. It’s like that in life too. When we know exactly what we are headed for, we don’t engage in the process, we treat it like a means to an end. Living this way means that you are only living for the goals and sacrificing the rest of the journey. The point is to enjoy the whole story. Sometimes not having a detailed idea of what the goal is supposed to look like allows us to indulge in each step instead of running a sprint to the finish line.

Expectations hide the real gold.

When decide exactly what success looks like, we can put blinders on until all our expectations are met. This often means missing opportunities that could have served us better even though they were not in the package we had imagined. There are many gifts and opportunities to be had. Know how you want each to feel along the journey. If a path comes along that feels truer to you, take it. Not every road was made to be followed to the end. It’s alright to take a turn. There may be real gold waiting for you. It could be the whole reason you started.

Expectations shut us down. Purpose keeps us open.

Expect comes from the Latin, to look out for or to wait for. It means we are waiting for this one particular event to happen. It closes us off to all other gifts that may be offered. Instead of expectations, if we make our purpose the center of our attention we stay open. We stay open to a-has that could be telling us what we really need is not what we expect or that it is being delivering in a much better package. By focusing on purpose, it’s also easier to take each step, rather than the goal.

I’m not suggesting that you quit dreaming, actually it’s quite the opposite. Dream as many dreams as you want. Imagine many different ways that your life will feed your spirit and allow you to feel exactly how you want to. Just don’t limit your ability and potential with your imagination. Your best life hasn’t even been conceptualized in your mind yet. Whatever you think it could be, it could be so much more. We just need to stay open to what the winds bring into our lives and take one step at a time.


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