Expectations can be dangerous.

They are one of the most powerful ways to manipulate human behaviour.

If we think something is expected of us, we’re more likely to do it (or not do it). The fruits of these expectations are called ‘societal norms’ and ‘etiquette.’ 

The expectations we hold for the world are so powerful that they even shape our experience of it, regardless of the reality.

Expectations are particularly dangerous when we hold them for other people. We call these expectations ‘biases.’ We are often unaware these are being set.

When we set expectations for ourselves that we can control, we are more likely to live up to them. But often, we are not aware that these expectations are being set either.

When we fail to live up to our personal expectations, we break a promise to ourselves and get depressed.

When we set expectations about how others will behave, we leave ourselves open to frustration and disappointment.

People rarely behave the way we expect because their experiences have created very different maps of expectation in their brains than in ours.

A safe bet is to constantly challenge expectations about ourselves and not expect anything from others.