If you have ever made any substantial decisions in your life or if you have set out to achieve any sizeable goals, you have no doubt come to appreciate the importance of having realistic expectations. Whether we are looking at a career change, pursuing a degree, or making a large purchase, we must be realistic in our expectations. For example, an MBA from Harvard sounds like a great goal (dream) but the likelihood of being accepted to the program, funding it, and making life’s logistics fit the required time commitment might not be realistic. However, there are a lot of quality MBA programs that might fit our current life situation and provide the opportunity and growth we seek.
Chad Carden (2016) addresses the importance of realistic expectations by stating “Expectations impact attitudes and mindset. If we meet or exceed someone’s expectations (ours included), we tend to have positive attitudes and mindset. The reverse is also true: If we don’t meet expectations, we tend to have a less-than-stellar attitude or mindset.” While we definitely do not want to aim low, setting unrealistic expectations can result in a loss of motivation and limit future success. The challenge we face is setting expectations that will push us and yet be achievable.
Do you find it challenging to set realistic expectations for yourself and others? If so, what are the causes that influence us to have realistic expectations?