What are expectations? What are YOUR expectations? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines "expectations" (expect) as: "To think that something will probably or certainly happen." So the question is: What are you expecting to happen in your life? Are you expecting a life filled with success or one of many failures? Your expectations can either have a negative or a positive influence on how you live your life daily and ultimately can determine your future and quality of life. There are people who set their expectations too high, and as a result, their unfulfilled expectations leave them frustrated and discouraged, resulting in negative attitudes. On the other hand, there are people who set their expectations too low and never arrive at reaching their full potential, and thus live a life of idleness and boredom with no ambition. As it is with most anything in life, whether it is a career, relationship, or fitness, there needs to be a healthy balance of expectations in place. Therefore, your expectations should be set high enough to challenge and motivate you to go further than you ever thought possible so that you can reach your full potential, but not set too high as to place unrealistic demands on you that could leave you discouraged and worse off than before.  

The battle begins in the mind. How you think and view yourself is often what you will become. If you have high expectations and see yourself as a person of integrity, possessing moral characteristics, and being successful in all areas of your life, then one day that is probably what you will become. If on the other hand you have low expectations, and you are just hoping that everything will turn out positively and fall into place by some chance, due to not foreseeing yourself as a person of success, then most likely this is how you may very well end up. Why? Because everything begins in the mind, and your expectations of how you see yourself (envision yourself) can create either a positive environment that promotes success or a negative environment that promotes failure.

Whatever information you put or allow into your mind, whether it is positive or negative, moral or immoral, good or bad, will begin to manifest itself in the physical realm and become the main frame of how you think and make decisions. The old saying, “you are a product of your environment” has a lot of truth to it because your “engine of thought’, or in other words, your “world view” is formulated by your surroundings, your environment. It begins to be formed from the time you were conceived in your mother’s womb, until this present day. It is formulated from your family values, religion, culture, education, movies you watch, music you listen to, books you read, and with the friends you associate. Many of these elements that form your “world view” (how you think) are out of your control. But there are some elements over which you do have control, and with some effort, you can help to guide your mind in a more positive direction which can lead to forming higher expectations of yourself. Your culture and the other elements previously described in molding your “world view” will determine how much more effort will be required of you to escape a negative environment that causes low expectations.
If you are ever going to escape the vicious cycle of negative thinking that could be holding you captive in a discouraging environment, you must begin to take small positive steps in order for you to initiate the process of training your mind to think differently. You have to be constantly guarding and training your mind to focus on encouraging thoughts, as well as to think positively if you are going to raise the bar of expectations in your life. Therefore, it is important that you guard your mind against anything and everything that would cause a negative impact on your thoughts which could result in what Zig Ziglar would call “stinkin thinkin.” As previously stated, everything in your environment that surrounds you, whether it be positive or negative, moral or immoral, good or bad, has an influence on your mind, and will affect how you think and form your thought patterns. My dad would always tell me: “Son, tell me who you hang around with, the books you read, the movies you watch, and the music you listen to, and I’ll tell you who you are." I would take it a step further today by adding "gaming"--the types of electronic games you play since it is so prevalent in the lives of many people today. This is a true saying, and these elements are the ones over which you do have control. For this reason, you need to remember that the people you associate with and whatever information (from books, movies, music, gaming, etc.) you allow to enter your mind will contribute to determining the person you will be one day. Why? Because everything that enters your mind helps to shape how you think and process information; how you think determines your decisions, and your decisions determine your immediate and long term future. So if you desire to be successful in all areas of your life, Physical (health and wellness/fitness), family (relationships with your spouse and children), personal (personal growth, interests, hobbies), spiritual" (religion),  financial (personal finances), career (business, job), mental (state of well-being), and social (outside relationships), you must begin to create an environment of higher expectations that will produce positive results in your life so that you can achieve success.

Start today by examining and evaluating all the negative indicators that you have in your life that are creating a negative environment of low expectations. Write down on paper what type of music you listen to, the books you read, the movies you watch, the electronic games you play, and the friends you associate with to see what kind of possibly negative influences these are having on you and your potential. 

Below are a few tips to help you get started in the right direction to help you create an environment that promotes "higher expectations." 

Begin listening to music that has encouraging words-- words that will encourage you and not dishearten you. For example, instead of listening to rap songs that have lyrics about killing, drugs, sex, and violence, or pop songs that talk about sex, partying and drinking, listen to music that will "lift you up," encourage you to think more positively about yourself and the value of life.     

Read books about successful people who have overcome obstacles in their lives to become who they are today. I am not referring only to success stories of wealth, but of faith, courage, health, family, and friendships.

Watch inspirational type movies that leave you feeling encouraged, excited, and motivated to change. 

Hang out with friends and people who are smarter than you, people who truly care about you, and people that challenge and encourage you to change and strive for excellence in your daily life. Spend time with people who want to see you succeed, not people who remind you of your failures and how much better they are than you. These kinds of people are not your friends.

Begin spending less time "gaming" so you can make better use of your day. Imagine how many books (learned knowledge) you could have read with all that time spent on gaming. (Studies have shown that spending long hours on gaming and electronic devices "dumbs down" the functions of the brain due to the constant light glow and multiple flashes that they produce.)  

Therefore, begin today by redefining and raising your level of expectations in your life so that you can have the opportunity to create a more positive environment that promotes success. This will require effort and perseverance and can even be a little painful in the beginning, but it will be worth it in the end. Start today and ignite your abilities to reach your full potential! 

No More Excuses - begin today!


"What you expect, you become!"