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Great Expectations

I feel that I am pre-disposed by nature to great expectations. Throughout my life, no matter how troubling or challenging the circumstances, somehow I always expected things to work out well. Even during the days when as a teenager I was living on the mean streets of Chicago, Illinois…enduring the cold winter days and nights…living in gas station restrooms or vacant lots…I never felt that it was permanent. So, I was not surprised by my eventual success. Even then, I expected it… in a way. I mean, I never really expected anything else. I didn’t know how it would happen, certainly didn’t know when it would happen, but I sincerely expected it to happen. I thought of this recently while being visited by an old friend and former boss from my first real job. I was excited for Bob’s visit because we had lost contact and hadn’t seen each other or even spoken in over 30 years. Because I had always looked up to and respected Bob, I was also eager for his response to the person I’d turned out to be. I asked him the inevitable question, “Are you surprised to see the things I’ve accomplished?” “Well, I’ll tell you,” he said, “I just never expected anything else from you, so there really is no surprise at all.” Yes, no surprise at all excepting the miracle of great expectations. Having positive expectations, great expectations is a way of setting up miracles to happen. This is something we can all do…create miracles with positive expectations. Let there be no question about it, miracles do happen! We create them! We create miracles with our minds using great expectations. Expectations are a feeling. When you get the right feeling prior to any event it actually generates the energy, the attributes and qualities needed to attain the desired result. In a way , you are always acting as a fortune-teller in your own life by the way you talk and act about how you expect things to work out. Most of the successful men and women I know have attitudes of confident, positive self-expectancy. They expect to be successful, they expect to be liked, they expect to be happy, they expect to be healthy, and they are seldom disappointed. As my old friend and former boss, Bob said, “ All I’ve ever expected of you, Mack, is that you do something worthwhile with your life.” I further believe that great expectations are a servant of a persons’ will. There, waiting to do your bidding. Waiting to create a miracle. Available at any point in time to carry you to a higher plane of accomplishment. I realize this is far from explaining the entire nature of it, nor does it explain why some people appear more motivated or serious about their lives than others . Maybe it’s because some have a deep-rooted sense of the reward related to it and possibly the joy that will ultimately come from meeting the challenge of whatever the goal is. Some say, “I expect nothing out of life one way or the other.” Wow! That is one heck of an expectation! It kind of explains why so many people are left looking back over their lives wondering how it ended up like this. From my vantage point today, I realize what a dangerous thought process that is. “I have no expectations because I don’t want to be disappointed.” Oh, my! It’s important to remember that even when expectations are couched or hidden in negative thinking, they still make things happen. Writer and motivational speaker Brian Tracey loves to say that you don’t get what you want out of life, you get what you expect. It’s so true! When I was in high school, I wanted A’s and B’s but I expected to get C’s and D’s. If I opened my course book and saw an A, I was always surprised, thinking how did that happen? But, if I saw C’s and D’s…no surprise…that’s what I expected. Great expectations also have an impact on groups, families and businesses. Think tanks and brain-storming sessions are examples of positive expectations and their impact on performance. In his book, “Pygmalion in The Classroom”, Dr. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University describes how the expectations of teachers have an enormous impact on the performance of their students. The famous teacher from Chicago, Illinois, Marva Collins who founded a Prep Academy in inner-city Chicago and took in problem children, disabled children and even some borderline retarded. At the end of the first year every child scored at least five grades higher than the previous year. This was all documented during her several appearances on 60 minutes. In fact, within 5 years over 98% of all her students graduated from major college or university. Ms. Collins said during one of the shows that she simply immersed the children in a climate of high expectations. She attributed her success to this more than any other factor. Today, I have expectations for all sorts of things including getting good parking spaces and receiving good mail. I know it sounds funny, but I get good letters, life changing letters all the time, because I expect them. So, expect greatly, but expect, too, that expectations are usually greater than reality. Mack Newton

Mack Newton

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