Daily Blog #287
Don’t you just love the days where nothing seems to be going your way? The days where no matter how hard you try to control something, you actually only end up making it worse? It seems backwards to think about if you ask me. I mean most of the time if we want something, then we need to be willing to work harder in order to achieve it. But when the going gets bad and you try so desperately to fix it, the going only seems to get worse.
Last Monday was just not my day. After having the check engine light come on in my brand new car over the weekend, I woke up earlier than usual to take my car into the dealership before work. Being that I have not had my car for more than six months, and haven’t put more than seven thousand miles on it, I wasn’t expecting anything to really be wrong with it. Especially because I knew that I had extended warranty. Well, I was wrong.
Now this problem is very miniscule to others problems in the world, but it caught me by complete surprise. After paying $160 just to have my car looked at, I was told that it would cost another $400 to get it fixed. While extended warranty covers 99% of most issues, guess what this issue fell under. Yep, the 1% of all problems that isn’t covered.
My initial expectation was to walk into the dealership, and be told that it wouldn’t be any trouble for them to look at. I was wrong. My expectation then shifted to having my car looked at without having to pay anything because it was still under warranty. Again, I was wrong. My last expectation was that the issue itself would be under warranty, so if anything, the most I would be paying would be a small deductible. Well, I hit the threepeat because I was wrong again.
That’s the thing with expectations though. It’s when we expect a certain reality where we will often feel disappointed. Let’s face it, life is far too unpredictable to hold expectations of what you, others, and the future will hold. As much as we love to try and plan ahead like we know exactly what is going to happen, our life is never going to go according to the plan that we have concluded in our minds.
Have you noticed that level of disappointment when things didn’t go according to the plan that you had drawn up in your head? It’s because you expected something specific and you were wrong. And boy if you are anything like me, then you hate being wrong. You are going to run into difficult and unexpected situations. That’s just part of life. Now you can either let the unexpected things in life consume your every thought, or you can accept them and move on.
I am reading an incredibly good book right now. Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, by Gary John Bishop. After a long day yesterday, I opened it up and just started to read. Ironically enough, the next chapter was titled, “Expect Nothing, Accept Everything.” Isn’t it strange how life seems to provide us that extra spark of motivation when we need it most? Some may say it’s life, but I say it’s God.
There was a line from the book that captured my attention. “Don’t expect victory or defeat. Plan for victory, learn from defeat.”
That was ultimately what became the turning point for me. I realized that I had spent so much of my day expecting a variety of certain scenario to play out. Time after time, I was left facing nothing but disappoint. And It wasn’t necessarily disappointment in the outcome itself as much as it was being disappointed in the scenario not playing out like I had drawn it up in my mind. So how did I deal with the disappointment? I decided to expect nothing, and accept everything.
After realizing that focusing on an issue that was very miniscule compared to other issues in the world, I embraced the experience for what it was, and I decided to let go. I couldn’t control what was happening around me, but I could control how I was letter the things around me impact my life. Life is too short to let the simple things bring us down, and sometimes we just need to be reminded of that.
I kid you not, five minutes after telling myself to let it go all go, to expect nothing, and to accept everything, guess what turned off. The light on my dashboard. I didn’t expect it to go off, and the minute that I started to shift my focus to other more important things in life, it turned off… just like that.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have a plan in life. Let’s face it, we all know that having a plan is a key pillar to anyone’s success. What this means is that we shouldn’t grow overly attached to that plan. We shouldn’t expect it to play out exactly how we envision it to play out in our minds. We should expect change, and learn to embrace all change when it comes. And trust me, it will come.
When we expect nothing, we are focused on life in the present moment. We are neither looking backwards or forwards. And when we accept everything, only then do we gain the power to control how we are impacted by the constant and endless amounts of changes that we experience. So live in the moment, expect nothing, and accept everything.
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