If you could go back in time, what would you tell your teenage self about the future you are living today? Are things as you had expected them to be, better, or worse?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I speak with students and young professionals. Their expectation of life, career, and love reminds me of the dual effect that expectation has in shaping our realities. On one side, it’s true that when things do not turn out the way I expected them to, I feel disappointed or even frustrated. On the other side, it’s also true that I was less cautious and more daring in certain decisions I made as I did not know what to expect of the future. And that helped me grow and be a better version of who I am today. So, it makes me wonder whether not knowing what to expect of the future is really a bad thing. Would I have made those same career decisions had I known that I would struggle afterward?
Did it help that as a college student I thought that I had everything figured out, even though that is nowhere close to true today? This relationship with expectation is an interesting one when we think about our creative selves. What expectation we have about our creativity, our team’s creativity and our company’s creativity may, in fact, be a core factor to our creative growth. If we expect things to not work out, most likely, there is less of a chance of things working out.
Studies show how much our will and believing matters in making our expectation a reality. Would we give ourselves more space and time to believe in our own and our colleagues’ creativity?
In truth, we do not know what we do not know. And knowing how much more complicated and fun life is today than what I assumed it was going to be is another reminder to never limit my beliefs. Because what I expect of my creative values is only based on what I know about my creativity today. And what I know today is not the same as what will manifest tomorrow.