I often hear people saying:

·        this is the way he or she should behave.

·        this is the way things should be.

·        this is the way something should have happened.

People want and expect things to happen a certain way. They want people to behave in a particular manner. For example, a manager expects his sub-ordinate to be innovative, responsible, communicative and have all those “ideal” characteristics (which most likely the manager himself or herself does not possess at all 😊). Citizens expect the Government to be corruption free, quality conscious & service oriented. However, the same citizens wouldn’t do their small part of putting garbage away in the right places (☹). People expect every effort of theirs, every little work to bring in successful results. People expect things to go just as they planned it to be. Everything or everyone “should be” a particular way.

This “Should be” expectation, as I have titled seems to me utterly meaningless in most cases.

Why should things be the way one expects? Things will be the way they are; and the way they ought to be. People will behave as per their nature, their character and not as per someone’s expectations.

Anyone who has met the expectations of a situation or of another person can quite easily realize the sacrifices one has to make to meet someone else’s expectations. Of several hundreds of people, there are but a handful who think beyond themselves and adapt to meet expectations – be it professional, social or personal. These people realize the meaninglessness of the “Should be” expectation. They know the effort required to go beyond one’s limitations and meet external expectations. Be it managers, spouses, family members, citizens, the “Should be” expectation would make sense only if it is practiced first.

But then it’s only natural to have expectations. It takes a good deal of practiced self-control to avoid having expectations or having only expectations which are reasonable. With expectations being natural to human nature, the question is then on how to manage them; how to get the expectations met and how to react when expectations aren’t met.

As far as situations as considered, they are mostly out of one’s complete control. There are too many variables to be in complete control. So, it’s best to be adaptable to situations as they come up. If one has a mindset open for change, if one is prepared for the worst and is welcome to working against challenges, the “should be” expectation for situations is quite easily managed.

When it comes to people, a few steps which help get expectations met would be as below:

1)     Set the expectations clearly

2)     Set the counter expectations (what needs to be done by oneself when expecting something from others)

3)     Set the external requirements to meet the expectations and variables which would cause deviations

4)     Walk the path – show that what’s expected is possible and has been done

5)     Be ready for a reasonable number of times for failure

6)     Patience

Though easier said than done, this formula can help get others to do what “Should be” done by them. With this background established, the “Should be” would not be meaningless anymore and can be achieved. It does work for me (not all the time), as it helps me ensure that what should happen can. This method also does make sure I am prepared for the condition that my “Should be’s” aren’t met.

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Subhash Iyer

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