Have you ever been on a holiday that was that good that you booked the exact same holiday for the next year? Having the expectation that it would be as cool as the first time? But then everything was different and you were disappointed.
Our expectations control the way we think and act. In the course of our lives we gain experiences. We use this knowledge we have collected to predict the course of future events. In combination with the information we get from other people we create a picture of future possibilities and events. As it will run – usually. What is possible and impossible. And based on that we align our actions. But how often does life actually stick with standards? How often are we in a bad mood because of our expectations? Or do we think that we cannot reach something we want to reach?
In her Ted Talk the Hawaiian Kimi Werner speaks about one experience she made with her expectations. Kimi Werner is a freediving fish hunter. Which means that she dives without oxygen flask into deep water to hunt fish with a spear. She is able to hold her breath for over four minutes. She started this special way of hunting to feed herself, but later took part in competitions. Her first competition was the U.S. National Spearfishing Championship in Newport, Rhode Island in 2008.
Up to that point Kimi had just been diving in Hawaii, where the water was clear and she could see through it from the surface to the bottom. She used to observe the fishes from the surface, planned her actions and went down very targeted. However the Atlantic Ocean was not clear, but dark and murky. She didn’t know what would await her at the bottom, neither she knew where the bottom actually was. Jumping into the Atlantic was like a blind jump into the darkness for her. After a while she could see a green layer. And she was happy that she had found the ground. Then she realised that she could dive right through it. Next she saw a brown layer and again was happy that she had finally found the ground when she also could dive through that layer. The uncertainty about where the bottom was made her so insecure that she swam back to the surface gasping for air. She thought she would never find the bottom of the Atlantic.
That was when she knew that she had to give up her expectations about where the bottom of the Atlantic should be and simply trust in her abilities and in the fact that this bottom would come. Changing her mindset like that was what made her succeed. And against her expectations she could see something at the bottom, because there were mussels which filtered the water. And she learned a new ability: She started to listen to fishes swimming around her. For the first time she could hear fishes under water and learned to hunt them that way. In the end she won the championships.
When it comes to the future we all jump into a dark ocean of which we don’t know where the bottom is or what will await us there. Even though all present evidences are little inviting, that doesn’t mean that at the bottom of the ocean there is no clear water waiting for us or there is no possibility to learn a new ability and in the end turn out to be the winner. Our expectations surely serve us well in many cases, but they shouldn’t control us that much that we lose our courage. Life offers much more variations than we can expect.