Expectation management & Knowing when to give up

Friday, June 15, 2007

You know there are times when you were thinking, hoping, expecting something, but then it ends up totally the opposite of what you thought? You know when you keep trying to be optimistic, to the point sometimes of being illogical, and then things turn out bad? You know when you sometimes tell yourself that it's a waste of time, but yet you somehow just try anyway, doing what you can and then things don't quite turn out the way you want them to?

I guess we all need better expectation management.

Having an optimistic point of view is great. I don't see why looking at the bright side of things can be a bad thing. And then there are those times when you keep trying and trying, hoping for the best, never giving up, persevering and pushing yourself, even to the point where you can no longer push yourself, and STILL not achieve success. I once saw this book entitled "Knowing when to give up", which although might initially seem a wrong mindset to have, might actually hold some merit if you delve deeper.

I know that pursuing your dreams is not a bad thing, and neither is picking yourself up everytime you fail. To "keep on keeping on" is a phrase I've heard so often, it's become cliched, and while I still believe it holds true, I think the context ought to be taken into consideration instead of blindly applying this principle.

If you have a dream which is from God, and you KNOW it came from God, then by all means pursue it because I never believe God will let you down. I don't think God will give you a vision and then not help you as you run for it. The principle of perseverence quite obviously applies here.

But what of the things which God may not speak to you about? What of things that you don't know whether or not to pursue? I know that God speaks to you about all things in life, but there have been times when you thought He was speaking, but you were wrong. Claiming that God wants us to be "the head and not the tail" and thinking that if you work hard even when God has not spoken to you, you can excel in ALL areas seems a bit far fetched. I don't propose to put a limitation on God, but it would be naive to think that you could excel in anything just because you want it to happen.

A good illustration would be our talents and abilities. Sure, we could try very very hard to sing. We could go for singing lessons, practice everyday, listen to as many songs as we can, train our vocals and breathing techniques etc., but as much as we may want to believe that we can, there are many of us who really truly can't. There are many people who even after years and years of vocal training cannot really hold a tune, or are naturally tone deaf, and no matter how hard you work, and that's not to say you haven't tried, you just CAN'T. Even if you eventually DID, don't you think you could've excelled in some OTHER area that would probably have taken less time and bring you to that place of success much earlier?

The point I'm making is not to have a defeatist attitude, but rather to CHOOSE the areas in which we want to excel in. Why bother trying to train your singing when God has not called you to sing (in that you have neither the annointing nor the talent)? Why bother trying to train in a given sport when no matter how hard you try, you just can't have the kind of capability some other people have, especially if God has not called you to it? Don't you think a gifted musician who has all the talent to play a musical instrument, but perhaps have much less to offer in terms of physical capacity would be unwise to spend his/her time to pursue sports and be just above average instead of using it to be a genius in music?

This brings me back to the point about pursuing a dream: You have to KNOW WHEN TO GIVE UP, and that's when you find yourself pursuing a WRONG DREAM! Not everyone is called to the same field, although all are called to excellence. If you don't know which field you are called to, then as you try out each area, you have to be prepared to GIVE IT UP if you realise it's not for you.

To expect achievement and success when you're in this stage is premature. It would be detrimental as having a high expectation would undermine your self confidence if you fail. On the other hand, having too low expectations would not make you strive to do well. Hence, a balance must be struck between the two to ensure you can keep on keeping on.

So to bring all of it together, we really should know which area we are called to excel in, lest we end up pursuing something which is not from God and probably fail miserably despite our neverending perseverence. If we don't, then be prepared to give up certain things that aren't meant for you. It won't be easy, but it would be better in the long run.

I should know... I've been there...

Posted by Gerald at 6/15/2007 06:42:00 PM