Round One: Reality versus Expectation

I flew home recently after my last speaking tour for what was to be a week long of reveling in friends, family, phenomenal food and relaxation. Within 24 hours of stepping into the great city of Austin, Texas, however, I came down with a 103 degree fever. The rest of my week was spent curled up on the couch in the fetal position, watching an obscene amount of movies (most of which were terrible, but I was literally a “captive audience”) interrupted by brief moments of thermometer checks, soup eating, medicine swallowing and back rubs (courtesy of my mother). Needless to say, all my plans were canceled, including my flight back to Los Angeles.

By day three of this I was thoroughly frustrated. I was like the little kid who was too sick to go to the birthday party, so instead, stared out their window at the crowd of smiles, shiny presents and the birthday cake wishing more than anything that I could join the festivities. I chatted with my brother and the tears started welling up as he asked about my trip home. �It�s been terrible,� I choked out. �Why? What�s wrong?� he said. �Well, I haven�t been home in two months and I finally fly in only to get sick and miss out on everything,� I bellyached. �Ah ha,� he replied, �Well you thought you�d be doing one thing and it looks like it didn�t pan out that way.�

What all of us have to realize is that this life is going to take us for the ride, not the other way around. So, if you can learn how to master the art of recognizing the discrepancy between your expectations and reality, you�ll be able to be ahead of the game big time.

It took some time to sink in, but I think it�s a crucial point because in that chasm between what we think should be and what really is, is where most frustration, disappointment and resentment make their home. So whatever that is for you, be aware that more often than not what we want to happen rarely turns out exactly as we were hoping. Whether it�s spilling coffee on your new blouse on the way to work, getting sick at an inconvenient time, not getting that raise, breaking up, running out of time to get your workout in, or getting canceled on by your girlfriend for dinner/ movie night; expectations often ruin reality. Not that I�m endorsing throwing out expectations, but give yourself a break and cut life some slack. It�s not who can do everything right, good or perfect; it�s who can be tolerant, compassionate and malleable enough when things don�t go as planned to roll with the punches.

Being a �silver-lining seeker� is a full-time job, but my goodness, it makes the world brighter and adds endless shades of color because you are determined to see the best in situations, in others and in yourself. We�re human, never meant to be perfect, and therefore never will be. So learn to accept life on its crazy time schedule, and I promise it will make all the difference.

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