You Get What You Expect

Take a quick look around your world, and it’s pretty obvious how much of a mess we’re in. Especially when it comes to young people. Young people think they’re entitled to everything, are disrespectful, and it’s pretty sobering to think of what the world will be like once the next generation takes over. If we were to plot this reality on a graph of 0-20 (with zero being as bad as possible and twenty being incredible), it might look something like this:Low reality

But there’s more to this graph. Reality can also be referred to as “results.” Why? Because you get what you expect. In other words, reality is the result of whatever you expect. So there’s actually two parts to this graph: results and expectations. And they are very closely related. Today, we have very low expectations of young people. You might think the reason is because the results are low. But it’s actually the other way around. We have low results because we have low expectations.2

When expectations change, the results will follow to match the expectations. So if you raise your expectations, then your results will rise.3

So what happens when you lower your expectations? The results decrease.5

This is the problem with today’s young people. Our culture expects “not much” from young people, so “not much” is the result. Young people play close attention to the cues given them by adults. And they respond. Society tells us that teenagers go through a rebellious stage. So parents expect their kids to go through a rebellious stage. And so they do. Not because it’s “natural” but because it’s expected. I never went through a rebellious teenager stage. Not because I’m unique, but because my parents didn’t expect me to. In fact, they expected the exact opposite. Results follow expectations.

So if we want better results from young people, what do we have to do? We must raise our expectations. Once our expectations rise, then results will rise to match them. And this trend will continue.7

Not only are we not getting good results by having low expectations, but what are we communicating? If I have low expectations of you, what am I telling you? That I don’t believe in you. That I don’t think you’re capable of something better. That I don’t think you’re mature enough. This is what’s being communicated to young people today. But here’s the deal. Young people won’t become mature unless they’re expected to and are treated like the people they’re expected to be.

Of course, this does’t acquit young people of responsibility for their actions. Not by a long shot! Young people can fight against low expectations. Yet, they might not even realize that there’s something to fight against. The environment young people live in has a great effect on them. I was able to fight against low expectations because of the environment my parents created at home. If that environment doesn’t exist, then young people might not realize that they should be fighting to start with.

If adults expect young people to waste their life, they’ll treat them like that, and young people will waste their life. That’s what we’re seeing today. Let’s reverse that! Adults, I ask you to expect more of us as young people. And we will rise to that expectation. Treat us like the people you want us to be. We will rise to the challenge. Because you always get what you expect.

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