I mean, we see this portrayed all the time in films, sometimes quite blatantly (500 days of summer)! It’s the concept behind the phrase ‘never meet your heroes’ and as a kid, I felt like toys were a constant source of disappointment because what I had imagined set the real thing impossible goals. It’s usually thought of as expectations being set too high and reality failing to meet, but it does happen the other way. We can expect little of people then they surprise us, that’s always great! There are dangers in viewing life like this, too far either way can hurt you or potentially those around you. I do like to think I’m good at matching my expectations with reality now. I tend to not actually worry about what to expect when going to new places or travelling, trying to live more in the present moment than worry about things that haven’t happened yet. When it comes to people though sometimes I think I’m a bit tough, I can put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect and take on too much. It’s also difficult when you love people sometimes it’s easy to forget they are human when you’ve, maybe unintentionally, put them on a pedestal. Other people are fallible and so are you. I guess the key is managing the disappointment and your expectations so the gap between expectation and reality isn’t so jarring.
This often happens artistically as well,to me anyway, I often have an idea of the finished product in my head that I just blindly work towards. It’s a habit I’ve been trying to work my way out of, and allow exploration and process to inform the work not a rigid predetermined outcome. Allowing yourself to make mistakes or explore starts to break down the fear of failing and creating something bad. After all just because it’s bad doesn’t mean it’s not been useful!
I’d like to show you an example from a workshop yesterday. Yesterday was origami, the reality in the picture was often difficult to achieve. We were attempting an origami toilet, yup! Expectation = origami that looks like a toilet. Reality = giving up at step 27 and having an origami earthworm.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with this, please comment below.