The Expectations Effect

My friend sent me a message two years ago. He told me that he was very happy to have met his soul on a plane. We both fell in love and I am going to marry her soon and live a great and happy life.

In the message, there is undeclared expectation- to live a happy new life.

This morning I received a new message from my friend in which he told me he is happily divorced. That marriage was the mistake of his life.

Thinking again, I find a big gap between my friend’s initial expectations reality. With such big gaps loss of faith, feelings of failure, and disappointment prevail. Should we not then expect anything? To live the moment without any expectation is the best we can do for ourselves.

Can we stop expecting?

Can I publish a post without any expectation? Do I expect heavy engagement and I hardly get any comment?

If I have high expectations, my disappointment shall be great. I failed and now negative feelings may sweep me.

I publish a post that negates commonly accepted beliefs. I get so many criticisms. Many negative feelings may fill me. Did I expect to negate the majority and meet no resistance? Again, should I free myself from expectations?

Unmet expectations lead to displeasure. The paradox of expectations- you expect good to get bad things.

It is the Expectations Effect that the more you expect the further you get from achieving them.

To explain more take the example of two married couples. If they expect from each other and these expectations fail what would result. In my friend’s case divorce resulted.

Goals and Expectations

When we set goals, do we not expect their realizations?

When we set targets for salespersons, do we not expect them to meet the targets?

Are organizations suffering from the Expectation Effect? We try to make the goals SMART. However, how do we know they are in a VUCA world?

Are there better goals than setting goals? What are they?

The complexity of expectations is above my expectations.

Expectations and Healthy Living

Ella-Marie Rivero wrote in a recent post:

“💖Being able to create and discover yourself as an individual without caring about the judgment of others.
💖 being human means making mistakes and being flawed and having and showing emotions.”

Are expectations a hidden form of judgment no matter what the source of judgment is?

Please share your thoughts.

Ali Anani
Ali Ananihttps://www.bebee.com/@ali-anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.


  1. Ali,
    You have really touched on a critical topic here on expectations. It is a slippery slope.
    I learned from a mentor many years ago to have “High Participation – Low Attachment.
    I will always play ‘full court’ but will not attach myself to any solid outcome.
    I am committed in all/most endeavors to absorb this mindset with my whole heart and every facet of my life.
    It has given me a greater sense of connection to myself and the end game.

    • Every bell of wisdom should toll for your wisdom Carolyn Lebanowski. You really summed up critically the issue of expectation “I learned from a mentor many years ago to have “High Participation – Low Attachment”.

      You enjoy the journey and what comes shall come.

      I greatly appreciate your comment.