I am reading an excellent book and have discovered a chapter I would love to share:
“Basically you create your experience through your beliefs about yourself and the nature of reality. Another way to understand this is to realize you create your experiences through your expectations. Your feeling-tones are your emotional attitudes toward yourself and life in general, and these generally govern the large areas of experience.” The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts
I particularly love the part about expectations. Many years ago, a high school friend and I were sharing thoughts on college and he revealed to me that it was never really an option for him not to go. From very early on, his parents explained to him this is simply how education works. You go to elementary school, high school, then college. The way I understood his explanation was this; its fundamental, you walk, you potty train and soon enough you are feeding yourself. His parents weren’t controlling or cruel, rather very loving and supportive as they warmly explained this is the way it works. It was their expectation and it translated into his expectation. I might add that in the end, he did his parents great justice by spending many more years in higher education than they probably believed reasonable.
His explanation profoundly changed my perspective. This was an amazing concept to me as I was raised by folks who didn’t pursue or support goals of higher education. I now have young children and although my nine year old is pretty sure he wants to be a race car driver when he grows up, I continually say, “That’s great. Do what you dream…but study something fun while your training.” In the model of my friend’s parents, I too regularly discuss education with my kids. It is my hope that instead of growing up with a slight fear of the challenges of university, that they understand it is just like primary school. Each year you go on to the next level and learn things just a step beyond the previous year. Simples. We attend shows and events on college/university campuses so they can see these are normal school grounds only in a different location. If, as adults, they choose not to go to college, fair enough, but it won’t be from fear of the unknown or lack of exposure.
As our expectations guide our actions, it is pretty important to stop and think about our beliefs. Also, to do so fairly regularly, because hopefully, if you are in fact alive and breathing, you will have new experiences every day that will reveal or create new ideas. So if you haven’t done so in the last week, please take a few minutes now, grab a napkin, piece of paper, or notebook and pen or pencil that feels good to write with and pen this…”What do I believe about me?” Write it down and then take a few minutes to think about it. If you are not interested in yourself or ambitious enough to do a little self discovery, at the very least, you have dropped the idea into your subconscious where it is bound to rebound and maybe niggle you now and then. (You can thank me later.) If you are up for the challenge, another important question to gift yourself with is “What are my expectations for myself?” Is it to drink as much beer as physically possible between 7-9pm? To run a 5K? To own your own business?
Think of this simple little exercise as fun. If you do write it down (congratulations for doing so) and in reviewing, see that your answers are pretty basic, kick it up a notch! It’s your life so unless you enjoy being a tiny boat adrift in a large ocean, grab the steering wheel and create how your experience unfolds. As Aristotle so wisely said “The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being. (ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthrôpôi — ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ)” Thanks to the wisdom and contagious expectations shared from my friends’ folks, I can happily read the second bit. Sure, it doesn’t pay for groceries but to me, the letters sure are pretty, its a celebrated achievement and even a wee bit fun.
As for me, I’m expecting great things.
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