How to change your expectations

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have very high expectations. Of myself, of my students, of my friends, of my family, and of the world. So, it’s probably not surprising that I often find myself in a situation where people aren’t meeting them.

I wish I could answer the title of this post, and let you know how to change them. But I’ve yet to figure it out. I always thought I was a pessimist, but my experience of always thinking people are going to finally change do do better, doesn’t match a pessimistic view of the world.

I feel like I’ve been fighting against two major cases of people not meeting expectations recently, and both of them are dragging me down.

The first, is my supervisor. He’s busy – I get that. Except somehow, now, he’s decided to focus on this one course he’s preparing to the detriment of everything else. There’s a journal paper I’m suppose to work on with him and a fellow student. The other student and I did the first draft and first editing pass back in August (AUGUST!) and we’re still waiting for comments. I managed to send him two chapters last week, and the reply was that he might get to them after Dec. 20th (and he has two chapters of another student that were sent back in September that he still hasn’t made it to). This behavior drives me nuts, because my ability (and the other student’s ability) to graduate depends on our supervisor. And right now, these delays, are meaning affecting graduation dates. As i knew I wasn’t going to make it for January, it’s not a huge concern for me. But, this other student had the chapters written early enough that he could’ve defended in January and skipped having to pay another semester of tuition. However, with the 8 week lead time needed and early January deadline, this is pretty much out the window as a possibility.

The other experience is with the startup. I’m trying to balance my expectations against everyone else’s, and I know, from a discussion with one, that we have completely different thoughts on how fast things should move. But, it gets frustrating, when stuff is done and two weeks later it’s still waiting for someone to start testing. From my perspective, our customers are losing out, because these are features we agreed are a huge necessity for our site, and yet there seems to be no worry/concern/caring about actually making sure the users have access to them. I know that statement would be considered completely unfair from the other members of the startup, and that’s fine. But, for me, this just keeps grating on my nerves and I keep wondering how do learn to lower my expectations?

I’ve been trying to focus on doing more research than startup, hoping that if I’m too busy to work on the startup, I won’t feel like things are moving too slowly. But I find myself constantly being pulled back in to work on this feature or that bug. I swear, I’m my own worst enemy.

Have you ever learned how to lower expectations? Do you have any tricks to share?

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