Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Expect the Expected

(Photo Credit: Cindy W. Yount)
In life you should expect the characteristics of the place you live to shine forth.  For example, I live in China and to be successful, I have to make prevision for China to be like China.

Just as sure as the sun will rise in the East and set in the West, I can expect certain things to happen in China.  The expat and even local Chinese person who lives in China and hopes to grow (physically, spiritually, economically, etc…), should have certain expectations.  Wherever you live and whatever you do, you should be expectant. 

 I’ve been here close to 10 years and I can accurately predict something that will happen, say during the process of a manufacturing order, that other Chinese folks cannot predict.  I’m not necessarily referring to technical processes but human actions and responses.  Those are also predicted via my experience.  But don’t the folks born and raised here have more so-called “China experience” than I do?  Yes, they do, but they don’t expect China to be China.  They don’t realize that telling someone something once is the same as not telling them at all.  They don’t realize that the factory, even though they say they understand the process, really doesn’t understand the process, and I could go on and on..they don’t expect “x” to be “x”. 

You mean local people don’t realize that China is China?  Definitely.  Here’s an everyday example:  when driving down the street, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that people are going to aimlessly walk out into traffic.  Then, when you honk your horn, they will jump up startled as if they didn’t expect a car to come barreling down the road, as if they don’t live in a country of 1.3 billion people, as if this doesn’t happen every day.  This is an example of what happens when people don’t mix experience with expectation.   

Without expectation, the result of experience doesn’t bear fruit.  When we mix our experience with an expectation, we then build a corresponding action to the expectation.

1.)  Experience 
2.)  Expectation
------(leads to)----
3.)  Planned course of action or Navigation. 

Just this week there was an issue with a design from the factory.  The person in charge of checking and confirming the design told me they “didn’t expect the design to be wrong”.  But why?  Why did they not expect it to be wrong?  Doesn’t their experience from so many other designs tell them that usually the first one is wrong?  Their experience would, but you have to filter your experience with an expectation.  Then, to not get beat down by life’s storms or to maximize life’s advantages, you should add a planed course of action to your expectation. 

An assumption is an expectation from an experience you never had or wish you had, not the reality through which you actively navigate. 

(Photo Credit: Cindy W. Yount)
Many times we say, “expect the unexpected”, but that can becomes a clich√© without any real power behind it.  I say, “Expect the expected”.  From our own experiences, we can determine possible outcomes and then prepare to battle, avoid, put out fires, change, react, beat to the punch, miss, hit etc…  I think this is how we can be proactive instead of reactive.  This is not making up and relying on assumptions.  Assumptions are failure seeds that generally take the least planning and analytical thought. 

Ever notice when folks “assume” something their assumption usually falls on the path of least effort?  

If we’re expecting the expected and not just mindlessly coasting through life or on a smaller-scale, our day at the office, there are a few things we’ll extract from our vocabulary.

“How could this have happened?”

“We’ll I assumed…”

“They should’ve done this…”

“Why did you do that?” 

We should be asking ourselves, “why didn’t I expect this?”

Don’t get caught off guard in life.  Use your experiences but experience without expectation is wasted energy.  Take your fruitful background, your seasoned experience, shoot it through the filter you call “your mind”, expect certain results and then hold the mindset of “what’s next?” to the predicted results.  It’s not that hard and mainly comes from experiences.  By planning your steps you’ll find yourself ABOVE the circumstances and not UNDER. 

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