What happens when you have expectations? Either they’re fulfilled or they’re not. And if I had to guess what happens to most of us, things usually don’t turn out the way we expect, unless you’re a great fortune teller. But, does that stop us from expecting? No way!!! We believe if we keep expecting, different things at different times, many of those things might actually come true.

For example, imagine when preparing for an exam you expect certain type of questions to be asked. But, the questions that actually were asked don’t even remotely look like what you’ve been expecting. Bam!

Or perhaps, you have a job interview and you think you’re prepared for all the questions. But, the panel decides to throw a googly at you by asking you to do something very unusual — like singing a song in the language you claimed you knew. By the way, this happened with me in one of my job interviews.

Now, you’re taken aback. Plus, you have a bad voice, and you don’t really know any song in that language. You’re caught off guard.

That’s exactly what expectations do to you. They catch you off-guard when things go south. Or when unexpected things happen. We’re all aware of this but we still can’t refrain from expecting.

Therefore, it only makes sense to accept it as a fact that, not a lot of us can put an end to our expectations. But, it’s also true that expectations bring disappointments. So, why not learn how to make your need to expect work for you? Why not start by anticipating?

Is anticipation the same as expectation? Well, if you ask Google what the synonyms of anticipation are, the first answer would be expectation. But, there’s a subtle difference between the two.

Expectation is when you hope something would happen.
Anticipation is when you’re prepared to face what you hoped will happen.

Simply put,

Anticipation = Expectation + Preparedness

Expectations are skyscrapers built on the foundation of hope. And these hopes are usually inclined toward positive outcomes. We don’t hope for bad things, right? Instead, why can’t we be neutral in our approach and while we hope for the positive outcome, let’s also not rule out the possibilities of negative or unfavorable outcomes. What would this do to you?

Humans are blessed with the natural tendency of fixing things or making them right. Especially, when those things affect us. So, when you imagine a possibility of something not turning out right, you’d try your best while you can, to make sure that it does in fact turn out right.

There have been so many instances in my life when I thought to myself I was better prepared. This one time I completely went blank in the middle of a speech and didn’t know what to do. Why? Because, I wasn’t anticipating that I’d go blank at all. For some reason, I expected everything would be just fine. So, when it did happen I just stood there for what seemed like an eternity hoping all this was just a dream and was not happening for real. Hundreds of pairs of eyes looking at me, waiting for me to speak. There was tension in the air.

Some of them just wanted me to finish it off, while my friends in the crowd were silently cheering me to go on. I wanted to run away from there, but I couldn’t. A few moments later, I did continue with my speech and finished it off, but by that time the damage had been done.

When I say I wish I were better prepared, what I meant was I wish I could foresee the things that could go wrong and be ready for them when they do happen. In most cases, the preparation required from your side is pretty easy and doesn’t take much effort.

If I’d anticipated that I could, in fact, go blank in the middle of my speech, I’d carry some cue cards which I could’ve tactfully looked at when I didn’t remember the next point of my speech. Being prepared does amazing things for your confidence!

One way of anticipating and being prepared is by playing out the whole event before the event occurs. If you have an interview or a pitch meeting with your client, simply play out the scenario where you play your character as well as the character of the interviewer/client, and be the worst interviewer or client anybody could possibly be.

Maybe even try to repeat this a couple of times by giving the interviewer or client different personality types and asking the toughest of questions. When you’re this prepared for a meeting or an interview, the actual event will seem pretty much like a cake walk, even if it isn’t a cake walk.

But, most importantly, you’ll have anticipated the worst things possible and whatever happens would seem manageable. You’ll not be caught off-guard but be in full control of yourself, the situation, and your performance.

The road ahead is uncertain, but don’t let the uncertainty get the better of you. Anticipate and be prepared!

This is not to say that you can predict what the possible turn of events would be. That won’t happen, but it will definitely broaden your horizons in terms of being more adaptable and accepting to the things that might happen. You won’t be left blank standing on the stage not knowing what to do, with hundreds of pairs of eyes watching you. You’d know how to handle the situation.

Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/uD190jzyf74

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