Soup should be served hot: coffee hotter. Wait staff should smile and serve with friendly deference. Eggs Benedict means rich, yellow liquid from the egg yolk beneath the Hollandaise sauce.
Expectations: we all have them. They color our experiences in every aspect of life.
The problem with expectations is that they have the power to derail our joy when they aren’t met. If we expect to see dolphins on the boat ride, but we only see a manta ray and sea birds, our expectations are dashed, so much surf against the rocks.
Will unmet expectations ruin the day?
Years ago, a woman I worked with traveled to Maui for her daughter’s wedding. When she returned, she bubbled about the sunrise bike ride from the top of the mountain. More recently, people who learned we were traveling to Maui said, “You have to do the sunrise bike ride.”
When asked by my husband what I wanted to do on vacation, I replied, “The sunrise bike ride and sit by the pool.” These desires should be easily met, right?
When the clouds obscured the sunrise and I was tired, cold and frozen, the trip to the top of Haleakala could have been a bust.
I determined to prove a new formula for unmet expectations:
Anticipation + Expectation = Atypical Results
My mother-in-law, a travel mate, said the night before, “I hope it’s everything you hope for.”
What did I hope for? A fantastic view of Maui and heart-pounding thrills from a downhill race.
More than a few breathtaking views punctuated the speedy descent down the mountain (House of the Sun). Sounds like what I hoped for had been achieved.
It didn’t have to be a sunrise view from the summit. I had anticipated thrills and sights. My experience flourished with vistas and whoops.
Perhaps we need to carefully define our expectations. Or maybe it’s best to just sit back and let come what may.
Can you think of a time when unmet expectations dampened an experience? What recommendations do you have for turning our expectations into friends rather than foes?