Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This I Believe

This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

Good book. If I wrote a chapter for it, it might go something like this...

I believe that the key to long term commitment is having lofty goals and no expectations. People will shake their heads at the notion of "no expectations" and confuse it with "low expectations" - this is not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that expectations, good or bad, are bad, and the inability to untangle expectations from goals in training, often leads to disappointment, overtraining, and injury.

Goals Are Good...

Goals are absolutely necessary for most people to reach their fullest potential. Goals help us plan. Goals keep us disciplined. Goals keep us focused, and goals keep us on the path. Goals keep us from adding the superfluous or injurious "extra". Goals keep us open to options. Goals are all the "why" you need.

... and Expectations Are Bad

Expectations make us greedy. Expectations leave us disappointed. Expectations get us into trouble. Expectations tempt us to leave the path. Expectations get us into trouble. Expectations lead to entitlement. Expectations give us tunnel vision and make us "bend the map". Expectations make us add weight when we shouldn't. Expectations say to us "why not this too?".

Goals, plans, discipline, and routine are all positives when it comes to training on the path to mastery. However, when clouded by expectation, those goals become cruel masters that spur you onward (and downward) and fit you with blinders called "perserverance" that could more aptly be called, at best, rigidity, and, at its worst, addiction or resignation.


Eli said...

This post really strikes a chord with me, Boris. I've found that having expectations almost always has negative consequences, whether it be while playing guitar, fixing my car, or weight training.

You're at where you're at and it's best to accept it!

Petr said...

Yes, older I'm more I believe one have to enjoy the way, the process and to focus on goal.

Stephen said...

I was only just tonight reading Gesture of Balance by Tarthang Tulku in which he suggested we can become more open to our experiences once we recognize that our expectations only lead to disappointment and frustration. I would certainly add physical injury to that list in the case of training.

Boris said...

Eli - No matter where you go, there you are!

Petr - Agreed! Process, process, process

Stephen - Expectations have certainly ruined a perfectly good training cycle or two for me.