virgin islands scene

In the last analysis, our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves.
-- Bernard Baruch


Sunday, November 19, 1995

Expect the Best

Expect the best from life and you’ll generally get it.

Your expectations play a key role in the reality of your life. Your mind is a powerful goal-seeking device. When you point it in the right direction, with positive expectations, it will do whatever is necessary to get you where you want to go. The more consistently you keep your mind on your positive expectations, the faster they will become a reality.

Expect the best of those around you, and you generally will get it. Think for a moment what would happen if you bought something at the store and later found out it was defective. When you return to the store for a refund or a replacement, you have two choices. You could choose to expect a hard time. That is, you could go into the store with the expectation that you’re going to have to fight with them to get a refund. And if you approach them with that attitude, you probably will have to exchange some harsh words with the store clerk. Your other choice is to expect the best. Assume that they will be eager to satisfy you. Approach them with that attitude. And when you do that, they probably will be very eager to set you straight and issue a refund.

Nowhere does this principle apply more than with children. When you nag and complain to your children all day long about how naughty they are, guess what? Their behavior will get worse and worse. When you expect the best of them, and give them responsibility and respect, they will immediately sense it and their behavior will improve almost overnight.

Are you having problems dealing with someone -- a family member, a business associate, a neighbor? Have you come to the point where you expect the worst of them? Do they generally live up to that expectation? Realize that your expectation has become a large part of the problem. What do you think would happen if you started treating them as if you liked and respected them? You don’t have to really like them or approve of what they’re doing. You don’t have to back down from your position. Just treat them and relate to them as if you completely respect them as a person. Expect the best from them, and just see what happens.

More than anything, expect the best from yourself. Talk to yourself in positive terms. Don’t say “if I get a new house.” Say “when I get a new house.” Don’t say “I’ll try to build my business.” Say “I am building my business.” Words like “try” and “if” presuppose a negative outcome. In other words, you have to accept the possibility of failure in order for these words to make sense. That may not sound like such a big deal, and it isn’t when you only do it once or twice. The thing is, you are constantly talking to yourself. Your thought patterns reinforce your expectations, over and over again, all day long, day after day after day. The least little bit of negativity, repeated again and again, can build itself into an invisible wall of negative expectations.

Learn to expect the best from yourself. In the way you talk to yourself, in the way you plan for the future, in the choices you make. Ask yourself, as often as possible, what you would do if you were truly headed in the direction of your goals. And then just do it.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1995 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.