If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail. – Heraclitus
I can still remember when my friends and I were fantasizing about how life would be in 2000… We were lucid enough to know that cars would probably not be flying yet, but still creative with regards to how our future selves would look like. As far as I was concerned, I thought that on 2000, my 14 years old self would have long hair, braces and the charisma of … Jennifer Aniston (?! … Friends was running high at that time)
Years passed and as we welcomed 2000, there were neither braces nor long hair, and charisma … probably as much as what a donut would have. Life went on, and I must admit that I quite quickly overcame and accepted the fact that things did not turn out as expected.
Years passed and as I started to work, I recall a conversation I had with my boss (and friend) back at the time, around how I was seeing my career path as well as my personal projects. In a nutshell, it was : working all over the world until reaching 25/28 and then consider moving to France and settle down. Again … years passed and if I look where I am today, it is the same story as the Jenifer Anniston glam … reality can be quite skewed from expectations.
Was I ever disappointed or sad with those 2 episodes ? Hell No!!!
Surprised : Yes, and for the very best to be honest.
This is not meant to be mean or to turn the back to whoever was by my side at those times – but just to show how plans can simply derails from expectations, and get us in much different and often better situations than what we may have imagined for ourselves.
Of course, those are rather “trivial” examples of expectation vs. reality, but talking with friends and sharing experiences with them recently, we tended to come down to the same conclusion.
When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is. – Tara Brach
Does it mean you should live a life with no goals ? Absolutely not.
Does it mean that among the goals and objectives you want to achieve, there should be room for the unexpected ? I would tend to think so.
By focusing on your goal, you are taking ownership and responsibility for where you want to go, whilst by letting down expectations, you are opening yourself to a universe of (unknown) possibilities as to how you may get there. In essence, focus on the moment and on the what, more than on the should, remembering that it is not because things do not go as expected that they are necessarily wrong.
As The Dalai Lama said, sometimes not having what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.