YELLOW WATERMELONS AND HIGH EXPECTATIONS
My sister called me a few days ago with an unusual question: ´what do watermelons look like when they go off?´ – she asked.
´Hmmmm´- I hesitated, not knowing what to say, as I have never recall letting a watermelon last that long in my fridge.
´Do they go yellow? I think the supermarket has sold me a watermelon that is off, because it is totally yellow inside´- she added.
´Does it smell bad?´ – I asked in surprise. Intrigued by the picture in my mind of a yellow watermelon, I headed for my tablet to google ´yellow watermelon´ as I was talking to her.
´No, in fact, I tasted it and it was absolutely sweet and delicious´- she remarked – ´but I´m going to ask for my money back, this watermelon is off… it´s all yellow inside!´… she said, sounding very determined and disgusted to the thought of the delicious yellow watermelon.
´Hang on… you just said it tasted delicious, maybe there is a kind of watermelon that is yellow inside!, have you asked the supermarket? – I asked, my mouth watering as I looked at the multiple entries and pictures of yellow mutated watermelons up on my screen.
The yellow watermelon is tastier and sweeter than the red one we are used to, Mr Google confirmed. My sister experienced it, yet still, she was not having it. Her conditioning was so strong about watermelons being bright red, that even though she tasted the yellow watermelon and it was sweeter and more delicious than her red expectation, she would not have it. She was blinded to the fact that there is another world beyond Spanish red classic watermelons.
And that got me thinking. How many times we reject wonderful things because they don´t fit with the expectations we had set in our minds of them? How often do we wonder if we are making the right decision or choice, because the object of our desire is not the expected outcome to the standards of society or the limitations of our own mind? How often have we or someone we know fell very disappointed with what the results they´ve got because it was different from their expectations of it or what other people expected of them? Even when what they´ve got was an equal or even better option?
Setting expectations limit us to the value of the expectations set. Often, we don’t see that the unexpected result can be much better than the expected one if we just let go of the expectation itself.
When we set expectations, we are aiming for disappointment.
First, we risk that if the result is not as good as we expected, we will be disappointed if we had expected different results.
Second, if the results are equal to our expectations, we may feel we could have done better, that we didn´t push hard enough, that maybe we are losing out on something better.
Thirdly, if the results are higher than the expectations, we may feel we don´t deserve it or, like my sister, we may fail to recognise the result as a success because we don´t identify the result we had (the yellow watermelon), as wonderful as it may taste, with a suitable outcome, just because the unexpected but much better quality result, didn´t adjust to the expectations previously set.
So, are we not supposed to set expectations? Is setting expectations not a good idea after all? Setting goals or expectations puts us into action mode, it gets us started. Setting expectations gets us excited. The key to success however is to set expectations or goals while practising detachment. Detachment from the outcome. Work towards your goal, yet detach from any expectations of achieving the goal. Prepare to achieve any outcome, even failure. Be prepared for anything, for awesome success, for extreme failure and for anything in between. Prepare for anything, always aiming towards excellence.
How often have I seen my coaching clients setting up goals on the first or the second session, just to realise that, as they transform and go through their coaching process, the original goal transform into something totally different? Often, they find that setting up their goal got them started, got them moving, got them focussed. Sometimes, they find their purpose and the original goal does not make sense anymore, hence they change it. Is that failure? No! It is a natural process, the process of change, of being adaptable, of being flexible.
It is good practice that the aim of setting up goals is to get into action, to have a reason to start moving in the direction we want to go. If in the path towards our goal of getting red traditional watermelons we find tastier yellow ones, let´s be open minded enough to taste and accept the delicious flavour of victory with detachment and an open heart.