Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blessing and Curse of High Expectations

At Northwestern we talk about the gift of high expectations.  Essentially, by expecting a lot from people, we get higher results since the bar is set high.  So if I asked you to reach as high as you can right now, then to stand are your tippy-toes and reach, then to stand on a chair and reach, then to go to the top of the building you are in and reach, you'll have higher and higher results given the same instructions of reach as high as you can.  But, if I say, reach 10 or 20 feet in the air, you'll have to find a creative way to hit that goal.

So there is some value at setting high expectations around achievement because it stretches our understanding of what is achievable, broadens our impact, and brings a greater reward.  Great.

But what I have been finding lately is that often higher expectations also have an inverse relationship to thankfulness.

For the last 6 months Kim and I have been doing well financially.  Month after month we're able to make leap after leap at saving, paying down debt, and giving.  And so I keep track of it all and set goals to hit in order to make a bigger and bigger impact.  I'm not satisfied with the same we did last month, let's go a little higher, set the bar up a notch, boost our expectations.

The problem is, I lose perspective and end up not being thankful for the amazing blessings that God has created in our lives.  Time to stop, breath, and be thankful.

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