James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, October 31, 2005

Expectations

Every success and every failure I've had in life came about because I expected them. Some of my successes weren't even longtime "goals" or "dreams" of mine. They came about because, in the situation I was in, I expected a good result, and let things unfold. Any effort or hard work I put in didn't really feel like it. Likewise, my failures also began with my mindset. When I couldn't conceive or visualize a successful outcome, I had nothing to gravitate to. There were times when I wanted something badly but I both feared and expected failure. I'd end up trying too hard - forcing things. Other times I didn't know what I wanted, I just knew what I didn't want. But one can only "play defense" to avoid what you don't want for so long. The best defense is a good offense. The best way to avoid shots on your goal is to make sure the puck is on the other end of the rink. Playing for scoreless ties means you'll never win.

We tend to get what we expect not just individually, but collectively. Everyone seeks confirmation of their suspicions. Even when they qualify their pessimism with "I hope I'm wrong," they almost unconsciously find the evidence that "proves" them right. I do this all the time. (Although I often don't say, "I hope I'm wrong." In the case of Iraq, for instance, I hope I'm right. If some good results from the Iraq War, then there's just going to be more and more wars like Iraq.)

The same goes for those who are optimistic or who trust the President and our political system in general. Whenever statistics look favorable, such as GDP numbers or the absence of a terror attack on American soil since 9-11, they can say, "See? We told you so!" The exact same data can prove the point on both sides. Some believe we've become a fascist state, and others believe that those who yell "fascism" are abusing their free speech rights and are traitors. Both sides inadvertently reinforce each other. If you expect to see the day when you feel you'd have to shoot at policemen and/or American soldiers, you are more likely to do that even as you say, "I hope it never comes to that!"

The world tends to confirm our suspicions, whatever they are. We don't see what we want to see, we see what we expect to see.

Personally, I have come to admit to myself that although the present is dark and the future seems to look bleak, I don't see either collaboration with tyrants or open rebellion in my future. In the long run, I don't expect the State to take away from me the life that I want. That somehow, we'll get through this peacefully with no catastrophic disruption.

I see better days ahead, and will live my life in accordance with that expectation.

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