Inspiration! Hope or expectation?


"Hope is fuel, it moves us forward and it amplifies our best work. Expectation is the killer of joy, the shortest route to disappointment. When we expect that something will happen, we can't help but be let down..." - Seth Godin

I think Seth Godin is, as usual, right on the money. The trick is, how on earth do you tell the difference? How do you keep hope from turning into expectation?

If I think about it, I think that hope is more positive and open. Hope looks forward with optimism and sees possibility. Expectation, on the other hand, is specific and clingy. It needs and grasps and can only be satisfied in one specific way, and even then, will it really be satisfied?

Intellectually, this makes sense, but I honestly have no idea how to apply it to life. If there is a possibility hanging out right in front of you, how to you keep yourself in the realm of hope and out of expectation?

Okay, here's something: maybe it's about the outcome. If we fixate on a particular outcome, picturing what our life will be like and planning around it, then we are living in expectations. If we don't worry about what will actually happen and just focus on the process, on moving and doing and working and trying, then we can just hang out with hope.

Except then that sounds dangerously close to the life philosophy of expecting the worst so that you're surprised when good things happen, which I generally don't subscribe to as a great way to live.

Besides, hope isn't entirely removed from outcome. Hope doesn't generally refer to enjoying the process and not the product; hope generally refers to some end result. We hope for change, for improvement, for love, for happiness, for things to go well, and for help, among other things.

If you haven't noticed from my back and forth here, I am genuinely trying to figure this out. What do you think? Any ideas on what the actual difference is between hope and expectation?

Comments