I learned today · thoughts

How to get what you want?

This morning I stumbled upon insightful TED talk video.

To go straight to the business, my wow moment happened here:


The speaker gives a great example to illustrate what this means:

“How many of you want to win a lottery?” – everyone raises their hands.
“How many of you have bought the ticket in the last month?” – I see all hands going down back on people knees.

And then comes the revelation: you act based on what you expect, NOT what you want. Nobody expects to win the lottery, and yet everybody wants it.

Can this be applied in other areas of life? You don’t expect to lose those 5 or 10 last pounds. You don’t expect her/him to stay in a relationship with you. You don’t expect to get the job you want.

You fool yourself thinking you act based on what you want, but in reality all your actions are based on these expectations.

“When you are motivated by what you want, change is possible.” – Jennice Vilhauer

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
― Henry Ford

Happy are those who learn to let go of expectations. This is a higher level of consciousness. It’s a constant effort not to expect, but take things as they are. You let the tree grow, enjoy every imperfect branch, every fallen leaf. You don’t expect your forest to be in a perfect round shape, grow in a shape you imagined it before, never turn brown when winter is approaching. And yet it is so hard to love people just the way they are: changing, imperfect, moody. It is easier to stop expecting them behave in a way you planned them to behave. Tell you things you want to hear. They are not dolls. You have liked this person for his character and individuality, but what’s with the expectations now? Just let them be as they are. Keep them in your company if they bring you joy, but let go if all they bring is a misery.

The speaker in the talk offers to shift your thinking which is an easier solution. You can watch the video for more detailed explanation, but in short it is pretty much hoping for the best. It is still expecting, but for something good to happen, be inspired and motivated by the possible outcome. Act in a way to get this wonderful possible outcome. She gives couple examples of sad people who don’t expect a positive thing happening in a life (or simply love life) and they don’t even try anymore. They stay in this sad place with no hope, no light in the tunnel. Simply because of the sad expectations.

The funny thing is, the speaker mentions: well, you probably don’t expect this simple solution to work on you, right? However, 5 year studies showed that this works. Expect the best and work for it. Believe that all the good is going to happen in your life.

I would like to stay to the position where I lose all sorts of expectations and just work towards what I want.

Or maybe I am afraid to expect and then fail?

I do expect to someday have readers of this blog, find my voice and sustain myself with my writing. That’s why I put an effort to write as often as I can. Imperfectly, but still write, practice, grow better, express thoughts easier. I know good things will happen.


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