The Toxic Potential Of Expectations – Just Another April Fools

This morning I posted this story on my Facebook wall (approximate translation, the story was in Romanian):

Sometimes, enough is enough. I feel that Connect Hub is one of the most interesting projects I did in the last 17 years, and I really feel like I helped hundreds, if not thousands of people with this vehicle.

But as of today, I’m resigning from my position at Connect Hub and get back to my digital nomad behavior. If you want to meet me, I’ll be in a Starbucks, as usual.

It would have been a shocking announcement in any other day of the year. But not today. Because today is April 1st.

People reactions were mixed. Some of them guessed instantly that it was a prank, some of them had a few doubts, while some of them wholeheartedly embraced the news and immediately asked me to be part of some new projects, where they thought I could bring value. I received 2 new business proposals in the next two hours. Even close friends and relatives called (like, on the phone, you know) to ask if everything was ok with me.

Oh, the relief in their voices! The laughter and the relaxation. “You prankster, you really got me with this one!”.

As I was witnessing their reactions, something was cooking in the back of my mind. A certain pattern started, slowly, to emerge.

Somewhere in the afternoon many of my followers on Facebook realized it was April 1st, so they started to take everything on their wall with a little bit of salt. Very few actually fell for the prank. And in the evening, it was obvious for everybody that it was just a prank.

But that foggy pattern in the back of my mind, that thing was still bothering me.

And then it hit me.

The Power Of Context

364 days per year, if we say one thing, people should believe what we say. Because people expect from us verifiable, accurate information. That’s the basis of communication. Mutual trust.

But then, on April 1st, if we say something, people should take everything we say with a little bit of salt. Because, traditionally, on April 1st, the potential for pranks is bigger. What we communicate may not be accurate. It’s just the way it is. Just like money, which, in and by itself, it’s just a piece of paper (it’s the convention that gives power to that piece of paper).

But what if we forget about that? What if we forget about the specific context of April 1st and treat it just like any other day? Well, the potential for disappointment is very big. Why? Because of our expectations. We expect people to transmit accurate information, but then they fail us. They “lie” to us.

Well, they’re not. They’re actually ok. It’s just that our adaptation to the context is flaky. We’re out of sync.

Being In The Context. Sorry, In The Present Moment…

Unfortunately, most of the time we’re out of sync. We’re either living in the past, or hoping for a better future. We’re seldom here, in the very context we’re inhabiting. Our minds are wandering around in circles and when we’re brutally confronted with the context, we’re surprised. To say the least.

If we would be here and now, continuously, there will be no expectations. And without expectations, our potential to being deceived will lower significantly.

It’s like we will know all the time when it’s “April 1st”  and when it’s not. We will know. We will be prepared.

That’s all there is to this “being in the moment” thing. There’s no exotic shit going around. It’s just about being aware.

If we’re not, we’re creating some sort of a space between us and the present moment. And in that space, a very toxic creature will start to grow, like a bad tasting, toxic mushroom. Its name: expectation.

The more we have from that mushroom, the bigger the disappointment.

So, what pranks did you enjoy today?

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