Most of us want to have that peace of mind. We just want to be happy, live a modest life and have the time of our lives in our careers. But for some reason, it seems almost impossible to achieve this. And I couldn’t think of a better reason other than far-fetched career expectations. They keep haunting us every day. Deep down inside, we know for sure that we cannot free our minds unless we let go. Yet we stubbornly hold on to them because of attitudes and situations such as:
The urge for Unnecessary Competition
From the very moment we set foot in class as toddlers, we were exposed to competition. And for years, it’s was all about achieving academic excellence. Trying to outdo each other in class as we aimed for that number one spot. But things became different out here. First, we came to find out that the most hard working are not necessarily the most rewarded in life. We also came to discover that career success is actually defined by smart decisions, and not necessarily by academic excellence.
The Superficial Aspect of Career Success
Career success from a general perspective has always been about getting that 9-5 job with consistent income. This has been brought about by the education system. But we’ve come to discover that life is not a respecter of education systems. To begin with, not everyone that gets out of college gets a job. Plus, being unemployed doesn’t mean the end of life. Many are freelancers and entrepreneurs that have experienced more career success than they would have if they had stuck to the popular and superficial aspects of career success.
Social Standards and the Lure of the Majority
Social standards are defined by the majority. However, the majority are not always right. In fact, when the majority pursue certain career expectations, then soon enough careers become flooded, competition gets stiff and disappointments grow in plenty. And as we all know, competition tends to bring about the best in products BUT the worst in people.
Egotistical and Self-Centred Ambitions
We live in a time where we are constantly bombarded by materialism. ’The good life’ has been defined in our minds as simply getting more and more. Even celebrities, politicians and other influential people are defined by the material aspect of life. Talk of owning big mansions, driving sleek cars or even donning outrageously expensive clothes, we seem to be distracted by the pursuit of these things at the expense of a fulfilling career. It’s no wonder the majority make the mistake of pursuing careers according to how much they pay.
Misconceptions about Failure and Disappointment
Back in school, failure wasn’t taken kindly. In fact, punishment was the only ’reward’ for failure. Our teachers demonized failure so much so that our guilt of failure kept growing over the years. And so, we thought that life was unforgiving to failures. But the real world has challenged this notion. Most of us are not in excellent career situations, but still, we’re not that badly off. In any case, failure and disappointments have made us stronger and wiser in judgement. So our teachers weren’t so right after all...
How then does one Trash Far-fetched Career Expectations
#1 Learn to be happy and appreciate each passing moment
Many of us have this tendency of living like immortals. We look forward to achieving certain goals in order to be happy. Unfortunately, for those that have far-fetched career expectations, being happy is simply a mission impossible. First off, life is quite short and time is limited. A life lived waiting on perfect situations will never be a fulfilling one. That’s why you need to appreciate your current situation by tapping into those happy moments in your career that come once in a while. Career success is all about those small steps we take every day to make that huge success story. In any case, most people die with so many imperfections, so why should you get so worked up on expectations that you’ll never fulfil?
#2 Be bold enough to defy common culture in the society
Don’t we all just love to fit in? To be accepted, acknowledged and appreciated by society? That has always been the order of business. But when it comes to your career, you’ve got to remind yourself that it is ultimately your own business. That being said, it is important to subdue the urge to fit in and do everything like everybody else does. Case in point is the pursuit of far-fetched career expectations. Society loves ambitious expectations as long as they are within THEIR terms and not yours. In fact, society will consider you an outcast if you don’t fulfil them. It’s no wonder many people today are so frustrated because they followed common culture at the expense of a modest but fulfilling career.
#3 Forge realistic expectations
Yes, I know it sounds simple. But here’s the hard part; reality is harsh. To add to that, career expectations that are based on Hollywood fantasies simply won’t make the cut. Fantasies are just like movies. They’re fast-paced, thrilling and captivating. This comes nowhere close to the reality of many careers today. And so, if your career expectations were merely forged out of the fabric of your imagination, then you’ll need to reassess them. Not that creativity is bad, but still, the creativity of your career expectations should be within the scope of reality. After all, what is career success unless it manifests in REALity?
Many sceptics argue that it’s unwise to have expectations since you risk disappointment. That might be true but without expectations, the thrill that comes with taking worthwhile risks quickly fades away. As Brian Tracy once said, "Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of an event."
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