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The Curse of Low Expectations - Erik Kondo

Many people are familiar with the English curse of "May you live in interesting times.” This is an ironic expression where interesting times are times of conflict and social discord. Pretty much the opposite of "Peace be with you." Less people are familiar with the curse of "May you live with low expectations.” since I just made it up.

Our family has two guinea pigs, Gloria and Cleo. They live in a cage in the corner of our house. They poop and pee on their hay which they also eat. The happiest moment in their lives is when they get fed a carrot or cucumber. When put on the floor, they pretty much just sit there, not blinking. Nature has determined that they live in a world of Low Expectations of themselves and by others. It is good enough for them. They seem reasonably content with their lot in life. Likely, because they don't know any better. But what if they did?

If you have High Expectations, then you want more for yourself. You want to better yourself and the lives of others. In other words, you are not satisfied with the status quo. You want to make things better. But when challenging the status quo, there will be those that say "What's the big deal? Get over it! What's your problem? You must be a snowflake. Stop complaining.", etc. These people are bothered that you don't just ignore the problems that you see. They think everything is fine just as it is. When it comes to Low Expectations, just like my guinea pigs, the status quo is good enough for them, so it should be good enough for you too.

What's the problem with Low Expectations? They can be used to justify also sorts of maltreatment against you. Here are some examples.

  • You don't deserve access to opportunities since you can't do much with them anyway.

  • You are taking away resources from those who could do more with them.

  • It's acceptable to treat you poorly since you are less than.

  • There is no need to make accommodations for you since you are unlikely to take advantage of them.

  • You shouldn't be placed in positions of authority or decision making.

  • You will not be able to handle the job.

  • You will make an undesirable business partner, husband, wife, significant other, etc.

  • You are not trusted to make your own decisions others need to make then for you.

This list goes on and on.

Human beings are hard wired to want other people to think highly of them. Evidence of that can be seen in the houses people live in, cars they drive, the clothes they wear, the colleges they attend. The careers they choose. Most people want to set themselves above the crowd, not below it.

We all know that when people have Low Expectations of you, they treat you worse. This treatment lowers your self-esteem and overall quality of life. The same goes for entire groups of people. Throughout history, certain groups have been deemed to be less competent than the rest. These groups have suffered greatly in life from having low social status assigned to them. This suffering sometimes is the result of malice, and sometimes it is the result of well-intentioned people who unknowingly propagate the curse of Low Expectations.

On the other hand, having High Expectations assigned to you drives more opportunities, increased performance and self-esteem. It raises your quality of life. Most people are naturally driven to want others to think more of them, not less.

Next time you encounter your worst enemy, if they deserve it, curse them with having a life filled with Low Expectations.


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