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The difference between expectations and reality

When people go through change, people often experience frustration or disappointment, but (fortunately) also a feeling of fulfillment; sense of pride and success.

What makes the difference between experiencing those negative and positive emotions?

Of course, there are other reasons, but an important factor is the (mis)match between your expectations and your experience (the reality). When your expectations are met, you will get a better feeling, because you intended to do something and you also achieved it.
Great feeling!

So why don’t we do this more often? How can we set expectations and allow us to create this mentality?

Set expectations:

  • Expectation from who? From others or yourself
  • When are the expectations realistic? For others or for yourself
  • Should we not raise the bar … can be satisfied with lower expectations or should be aim for the sky … show our high ambition? For who? For others or for yourself?

We can not only define this by thinking about it carefully.
We have to allow ourselves to learn from our experiences and to adjust our expectations in a flexible and iterative way.


What do our emotions or our experiences tell us? And what do those emotions do to us? Examples:

Frustration: through frustration I change from a quiet, loving person into an irrational and angry person

  • What causes this frustration?
  • What is your role in this situation?
  • Do you like the image you see?
  • What else can you do, next time?

Pride: I feel a wave of enthusiasm for my achievements

  • What are you proud of?
  • What are your main achievements?
  • What can you learn from those accomplishments about yourself?

Understanding the meaning of those emotions can help us to better define expectations before we go into the experience


So take (now and then) the time to reflect on your emotions, and use those reflections to set clear expectations … the feeling of pride is just around the corner.

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