Have you ever noticed how sometimes the best days are those completely arbitrary ones, like that random Tuesday in March? Those days that don’t hold much expectation for anything extraordinary happening per-se – and nothing particularly extraordinary (in the oft-defined sense) happens – yet the resulting joy is somehow completely ninja and so special?
“Making yourself inviting means letting go of your attachment to the outcome of your desire. When you can engage with someone without expecting any particular result, you can receive any reply without taking it personally.”
(Marinade in that for a bit.)
Some things that jumped to my mind? Soliciting feedback on something (that first attempt at making roast lamb / leading a 250-guest event). Asking someone out. (These are the people-focused ones.)
I also extrapolate this to engaging with something – a day, an event, a book, an experience, a trip – without expecting any particular result. The “reply” can then be how a road-trip plays out, what you get out of a concert / conference experience, how that dinner party went that cutie the other night, etc.
Hopping back to the opening idea of ninja-happy days, I propose a few examples:
• Your bestie surprises you with a small and incredibly thoughtful gift. (This could be the gift of uninterrupted time on a phone call amidst mutual schedule chaos.)
• It’s a wonderfully sunny day.
• Some stranger you’ll never see again initiates a pleasant conversation for a few minutes during your day.
• Your partner clears their Thursday evening so that you can both do anything – or do nothing at all – together.
Warm & fuzzy, right?
Now imagine the impact of each of the above if:
• It’s your birthday.
• It’s your wedding day. Outdoors.
• You’re at a mingler event.
• It’s your anniversary.
Do things change? Should they? The happenings, unchanged, suddenly range anywhere from being just a “drop in the bucket” to absolute day-makers… and I contend that it’s all on us, as the recipients. We actually have full control. (Awesome.)
Note: I distinguish between (a) not being attached to a specific expectation and (b) not having any expectations, period. The latter I view as extremely useful, especially when striving towards a goal or ambition. It’s a fine line, but I’m more swirling in the former, which for me equates to letting go of a sense of entitlement.
So I propose:
Enough of the unhealthy expectations.
Enough of the vice-like grips on that one result / outcome.
Enough of the entitlement.
Instead, live with a wonderful lack of expectation just a little more often. Take in life with open eyes and gratitude. Reclaim “ordinary” and tack on the “extra” yourself.
This plugs into the whole “the journey is the reward” concept for me. By being more inviting (living & interacting more flexibly in our expectation of outcomes) we make it much easier for ourselves to see the extraordinary in the everyday. I see so many good days ahead.
Humbly, ~ H
The big dots of the post
• Expectations are not so bad. It’s when they morph into entitlement that we sabotage great days.
• Take back ordinary. Marvel in what’s around us all the time.
• Redefine extraordinary. Try living your next big event (anniversary / Mother’s Day) as “just another day” and see how incredible it becomes.
• Be a little unconventional. Don’t wait for the “special” day to do something for others. (Those days are expectation booby-traps anyways). Delight someone with a birthday-caliber surprise on any old Wednesday.
• If you hit “change something” in the flowchart above, here’s the empowering tidbit: the thing we change is us — total control. BOOM.
How inviting vs. entitled do you think you are? In this wonderful mess called life, how do you balance this notion of “letting go of expectations” with being “ambitious and driven”?
• A note from the ever-lovely Amber Rae
The above quote was one of two striking lines from an article written by Charlie Glickman. You can read it here. The second line is waiting its turn for the next post – for the sake of brevity, and to give these thoughts the space & time they deserve. So, connect away. More from me next week.