This is the life application of the Expections blog...what do expectations do to me in my life? Ready?
Freedom. It is more than not being in a prison. It's a hard earned, elusive state of being. A unnatural and deliberately attained state of mind, heart and body. The Mindfulness movement captures the kind of work it takes to attain that freedom. Let me tell you a story.
Ten years ago this month I had a job offer to join J&J. I told my wife whatever I did, I would do it well. That meant I'd end up at corporate at least for a time. J&J was headquartered in an obscure city called New Brunswick, in an even more obscure, undesirable state of New Jersey.
I declined the job offer for one reason. I did not want the risk - even the chance - to live in New Jersey.
Fast forward to 2011 and my consulting work takes me to....yep. Never say never. Not to mention that I'd be on a project with J&J working out of their New Brunswick site for at least a year. I suppose that was funny to the Orchestrator of all this. It wasn't to me.
I ended up selling my Orbea road bike, certain that the streets of Newark were representative of the rest of the state. A neighbor in Princeton worked on me for months. Why would I ride my bike on the Turnpike?? Now? Now I don't want to leave. Now I'm in love. So in love I do tours just to share it. And I bought my Orbea back.
The life lesson was critical. Free your mind, and the rest will follow. So true in so many ways. My mind was forced to be free of stereotypes, assumption and absolutes by a friend who knew better. And once it was opened and free, I was humbled to realize that I, who consider myself an open, unassuming person could be limited by my own unwieldy brain.
Heard of Stephen Greenspan? He wrote the book "Annals of Gullibility" which explores how even smart people are able to be duped, taken advantage of, and not see reality. Weeks after publishing, he gets a call from his broker. One third of his savings have disappeared. A guy named Bernie Madoff had taken his money and duped him....it can and does happen to the best of us. Your mind, like mine, is subject to limiting itself and your life's fulfillment.
So, if you hear yourself say "Never" or "Always" or "Should" or "Must" or "Can't" just stop. Take a meta-cognitive position and observe your thinking. Are there absolutes, expectations or assumptions that might be keeping you from your joie de vivre....your joie de vivre that could be right under your nose but you're mind is too captive to see it?
Free your mind, and the rest will follow.