Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Curse of Expectations

Children fishing
Two little boys, ages 2 and 5, were being taken on their first fishing trip. The five-year-old had great expectations. He told everyone who would listen that he was going to catch a big fish. Excitement oozed from every pore.

The two-year-old, of course, had little idea of what was going on. He only knew that the family was going somewhere and that his big brother was excited, so they must be going to have fun.

The family began fishing, and the boys threw out their lines. The older boy slowly reeled his line in and was disappointed to find no fish, but cast out his bait again. Maybe this time.

As the toddler reeled in his line his eyes widened, and with excitement he shouted, "I caught a worm!"
Girl fishing with Dad
By Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The day wore on and the five-year-old's enthusiasm diminished. His fishing trip was a failure in his eyes.

The younger brother continued to catch worms all day. What a wonderful fishing trip he was having!
He never even noticed that it was actually the same worm, time after time.
Young boy with minnow
By Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The two boys went home weary at the end of the day. They had each experienced the exact same thing, but each went home with completely different feelings about the day.

How often do we let our expectations ruin a perfectly good day? Instead, we would feel so much better if we let go of our expectations and simply experienced whatever good we could find in the moment.

Wouldn't we all be happier if we just enjoyed catching a few worms?


  1. Awwww that's so sweet! I can relate to both ideas...not having an experience live up to what you thought it would be and then the other side of being so happy for the smallest of joys. Expectations can be a definite joy kill. It's best if we get happy about those worms were catching.

    1. I think we've all experienced both sides of this coin. You'd think we'd learn.

  2. Well put. It's like finding beauty in a dead tree or a rusty latch. In your reactions box I tic encouraging. Oh wait, that isn't an option. ;)

    1. I found you! Your comment was in the spam folder. Sorry about that. I'm glad you found my post encouraging.


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