Expectations are like thumbs: really important to have but every once in a while, hello, hammer! 

I have a confession to make. I work in the insurance industry. If all of you haven’t just cussed and closed the blog, unsubscribed, unfriended and bashed me on social media maybe you’ll even stick with me on the rest of the confession. It gets worse. I used to be a claims adjuster.

Now that there’s none of you still reading I can go on shouting into the void.

Yes, I used to adjust claims for our company. I won’t name it directly but it rhymes with Smartford. Now just so we’re clear, what I’m going to tell you I learned being a claims adjuster had nothing to do with company policies. It had everything to do with human behavior and human nature and here it is. The most angry, pissed off, fuming, ranting, raving, call-you-names people were the ones who expected one thing and got another. Sound familiar? It does to me.

If it doesn’t to you, next time you’re out at a steakhouse, secretly tell your waiter to bring your dinner companion’s steak out rare, bloody if possible. Or, how about this one since we’re in the holiday season? Tell your friend you’ve found the most awesome gift for them ever. You’ve gotten them the ultimate gift, one they are sure to love, something they always wanted but never knew (credit to my late father in law, Jerry Sheffield on that one). Then, watch their expression when they open the velvet picture of dogs playing pool. You might understand this week’s quitting then.

Now, I understand expectations. I have them. I realize that we look for stuff to happen and for things to be a certain way and sequences of events to fall as we think they should. Again, human nature, but ask yourself: How many times do things work out exactly the way you thought they would? That many, huh? Count yourself lucky then because you live in a rarified place of which I only dream and I’m not just talking about my DIY attempts. Things almost never go the way I think they should and if they do they don’t happen according to my timetable, EVER. So, I’m 86’ing that stuff once and for all.

Now, some may label me a pessimist, I realize. My former claims manager said that he preferred to be a pessimist so when things turned out badly he wasn’t disappointed and when they did go well he could be pleasantly surprised. I don’t think that’s much of a way to conduct business and surely isn’t a way I want to live. No, disappointment and frustration almost have to be a part of life. If they weren’t I think our time here would be pretty bland and unhappy. Ironic isn’t it? But then again, no squeeze, no juice. The key and the crux to this week’s quitting is not letting the missed expectation, the shortfall on the outcome or the delay in the process affect our outlook, our mood or our resistance of the urge to “kick the dog” so to speak.

I’ve always wondered why the dog? Why did the cat never get it? Cat people would probably say the cat was smart enough to stay away when we’re in a foul mood and maybe that’s so. For me, in this little metaphor that might just be applicable (who knows), I’d rather be the dog. I’d rather blunder in and get creamed than hide under the bed even if that is the smarter play.

I think we’re also ultimately talking about acceptance here. Disappointment and frustration will still be a part of life but if we accept that those two things (along with a raft of other not-so-good ones) are going to come then when they show up we’re less likely to throw a tantrum. We’re also less likely to take our ball and go home, which doesn’t do anyone any good.

So, I think this week’s quitting might just really go hand-in-glove with last week’s one on anger if you’re interested. I know it goes a long way toward not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So I’ll be doing my best to manage if not curb my expectations and be more accepting from now on. I think this can only be a good thing for me.


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