transforming your expectations and your results

Imagine that most humans are in a state of repressed distress (unexpressed fears) such that a primary obsession of theirs is to avoid exposure to anything so unfamiliar that it MIGHT threaten to expose their latent distress. A possible threat may be treated presumptively as an actual threat until proven otherwise.

People in that state may fill their free time by focusing on trivial problems and controversies. Oddly enough, they may also seek out a private context (a safe haven) for them to vent their distress, perhaps toward an intimate acquaintance who does not expect it. They may actively cultivate dramas that allow them to privately (?) explore distress and fear and doubt.

Have you ever been shocked by someone else’s sudden outburst of rage or blame? Have you ever been annoyed by the naivete or stubbornness of someone close to you? What if you have also behaved in ways that violated other people’s naive expectations?

What makes an expectation naive? One issue could be whether someone recognizes that an expectation is simply an expectation. Some people relate to their own expectations from a fanatical fundamentalism: “here is how life should be.”

A recognized expectation would be “I suppose that life will happen in the way I expect, but I know that it might not. If life does not happen how I presume, then I can update my presumptions and expectations.” We could also call that humility or maturity (or alertness).

There may also be preferences and priorities. We can identify outcomes that we value, then take action to promote, preserve, or even prevent various possible outcomes.

There may be a certain range of distress that is comfortable for us. We may prefer to habitually stimulate a moderate level of distress (such as through regularly watching a TV show that is very stressful to watch). We have the familiar excuse of the show to explain any surfacing distress. We have a “cover story” to cover anything less “safe.”

Plus, we may get to calmly, deliberately practice dealing with those stress hormones. We know a familiar way to trigger moderate levels of stress or distress. We may cling to that method. We may even panic at the thought of missing the beginning of a show.

Isn’t that a remarkable thing… to be so interested in a TV show that NOT seeing it causes a venting of distress? As an analogy, if I was an investor in a company and I had a large concentration of my assets in that company, but then missed a big meeting, but then I was stressed about missing the meeting, what would that indicate? If I was stressed about missing that meeting (before it or after it), then that might be a signal to me that I am either too concentrated in that company (as an investor) or not informed enough about the operations of that company. I need to either diversify or stay better informed (or both).

When people were shocked by economic changes in Europe and the US several years ago, some of them learned quite suddenly how naive they were. Many were heavily invested without comprehension of their investments (especially in high-risk real estate speculation), then were very disappointed. They may have been embarrassed at the results they experienced, then focused on who to blame for the results of their own methods. Or, they were eager for a “savior” to come and improve the results produced by their old methods (conveniently allowing them to calm down without making any adjustments).

The time for a new challenge to popular presumptions and expectations is coming soon. The waves of disappointment, shame, blame, and rage can be expected. Some waves will be smaller and some larger.

Popular delusions will be revealed suddenly as delusional. Divisiveness may get very popular, which comes along quite naturally with panics of envy and blame.

“The government should save us from the laws of probability,” say the loyal worshipers of the state lottery. “How can my lottery ticket be worth less than I paid for it two years ago,” say the naive who gambled on high-risk, financed real estate speculation. “I am disappointed at the results of my methods, so who else can I blame for the results produced by my methods?”

“Just elect the right candidate and the laws of probability will be postponed,” says the TV star. “If you do not like the economic trends where you are, just change the channel to a station that focuses instead on the latest celebrity scandals,” says the award show host. “If we would just all work together to fix the media and make it how it should be, that could save us from the laws of probability forever,” says the holy champion of eternal political salvations.

What if the best way to change your results was not to change the government or the media or your dog or your cat, but to change your methods? “Transformation” is when you stop relating to results as a problem and start relating to results as a way to measure a method’s value to you.

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