Expectation (quotes)


Expectation is a belief something will happen


Arguments in favour of having and harnessing expectations


You tend to get in life what you expect you’ll get …

  • The Law of Expectations tells us that whatever one expects, with confidence, becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy. When one expects with confidence that good things will happen, they usually will. If, on the other hand, one expects a negative outcome to a situation, then the outcome will usually be negative. Peter Jordaan
  • We tend to get what we expect. Norman Vincent Peale
  • Faith is expectancy. You do not receive what you want; you do not receive what you pray for, not even what you say you have faith in. You will always receive what you actually expect. Eric Butterworth
  • Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy. Brian Tracy
  • You see what you expect to see, Severus. K. Rowling
  • We find what we expect to find, and we receive what we ask for. Elbert Hubbard
  • When you expect things to happen — strangely enough — they do happen. John Pierpont Morgan
  • We tend to live up to our expectations. Earl Nightingale
  • We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect. Henry David Thoreau
  • Life is largely a matter of expectation. Horace
  • The Law of Attraction

… for your expectations effect your actions and attitude and therefore can become a self-fulfilling prophecy

  • The quality of our expectations determines the quality of our actions. Andre Godin
  • Release all expectations after you’ve set your goal. You never know what the universe might deliver to your doorstep. That’s why you want to have an open-mind, because what if the universe has something better in store for you? Henri Junttila
  • Your attitude is an expression of your values, beliefs and expectations. Brian Tracy
  • Our minds can shape the way a thing will be because we act according to our expectations. Federico Fellini
  • Faith is an act of rational choice, which determines us to act as if certain things were true, and in the confident expectation that they will prove to be true. Dean Inge
  • ActionAttitude

The world is a mirror of your attitude and expectations

  • Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations. Earl Nightingale

Positive expectations are the very foundation of our dreams and hopes that energise and inspire us

  • If you expect nothing, you can never be disappointed. Apart from a few starry-eyed poets or monks living on a mountaintop somewhere, however, we all have expectations. We not only have them, we need them. They fuel our dreams, our hopes, and our lives like some super-caffeinated energy drink.   Tonya Hurley
  • There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow. Orison Swett Marden
  • Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again. Sarah Ban Breathnach
  • I can’t imagine going on when there are no more expectations. Dame Edith Evans
  • I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed. M. Montgomery
  • DreamsHope

High achievement usually takes place in the framework of high expectation

  • Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event. Brian Tracy
  • Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations. Ralph Charell
  • High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. Jack Kinder
  • High expectations are the key to everything. Sam Walton
  • It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.  John Steinbeck
  • You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. Michael Jordan
  • In order to win, you must expect to win. Richard Bach
  • Our limitations and success will be based, most often, on our own expectations for ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon. Denis Waitley
  • The real winners in life are the people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better. Barbara Hetcher
  • Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality. Ralph Marston
  • Few enterprises of great labor or hazard would be undertaken if we had not the power of magnifying the advantages we expect from them. Samuel Johnson
  • Achievement

Expect nothing and that’s probably what you’ll get

  • To expect defeat is nine-tenths of defeat itself. Henry Louis Mencken
  • If you expect nothing, you’re apt to be surprised. You’ll get it.  Malcolm S. Forbes

The power of expectation is a force you can harness

  • The power of expectation—the kind of expectation that embraces a deep belief that what is expected will actually occur—has long been recognized as a significant mental and emotional force. Herbert Benson
  • The universe is energy that responds to expectations. James Redfield
  • Intention and expectation of outcome guide our reality. Adam McLeod
  • Expect victory and you make victory.  Preston Bradley
  • There is abundant reason to believe that optimism – big, little, and in between – is useful to a person because positive expectations can be self-fulfilling. Christopher Peterson

Crystallise your expectations by creating a clear vision of what you want

  • The more you can internalise your vision, the more your conscious and subconscious behaviour will be aligned with that expectation.  Robin Sharma
  • If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy expectations, you put yourself into a condition conductive to your goal. Norman Vincent Peale
  • Vision

Today, live in the quiet expectation of something good

  • Today I live in the quiet, joyous expectation of good. Ernest Holmen
  • Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. Sarah Breathnach

Use the power of expectation to create abundance in your life

  • Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem. Expect abundance on every level. Expect to grow spiritually. Eileen Caddy
  • When you ask it is given – but at some point you have to stop asking and start expecting. Abraham-  Hicks
  • When you expect good, it’s available constantly, and it makes itself a reality in your life. Alfre Woodard
  • The world is full of abundance and opportunity, but far too many people come to the fountain of life with a sieve instead of a tank car, a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel. They expect little and as a result they get little. Ben Sweetland
  • The Universe is abundant with everything that you want. It’s not testing you. It’s benevolently providing for you. But you are the orchestrater. You are the definer, and you do it through your joyous anticipation. If there is an emotion that you are wanting to foster, that would serve you very, very well, it is positive expectation. It is excited anticipation. Abraham-Hicks
  • For, he that expects nothing shall not be disappointed, but he that expects much — if he lives and uses that in hand day by day — shall be full to running over. Edgar Cayce
  • Your expectations open or closes the doors of your supply, If you expect grand things, and work honestly for them, they will come to you, your supply will correspond with your expectation. Orison Swett Marden
  • Abundance

Use positive expectation to overcome your fear

  • Fear is nothing more than a negative expectation. Think about it, when you’re afraid, what are you imagining? You’re imagining what could go wrong. If you want to get rid of the fear, you’ve got to swap your negative expectation for a positive one. It really is that simple. Brian Johnson
  • Fear

Use positive expectation to help you heal

  • Since the human body tends to move in the direction of its expectations–plus or minus–it is important to know that attitudes of confidence and determination are no less a part of the treatment program than medical science and technology. Norman Cousins
  • Healing

More thoughts on the benefits of expectations

  • Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. William Congreve
  • An attitude of positive expectation is the mark of the superior personality. Brian Tracy
  • In expectation there is happiness. Shi-ka-shiu
  • It’s a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. Somerset Maugham

Arguments in favour of letting go of expectations


You suffer when you have fixed expectations that are not met

  • Expectation is the root of all heartache. William Shakespeare
  • Anger always comes from frustrated expectations. Elliott Larson
  • If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. Dan Millman
  • The gap between your expectations and reality is your suffering. John St. Augustine
  • We can start to see that our pain lies between what we think should happen and what actually happens. Then, if we remove the secret demand for this or that to happen, the pain- gap vanishes. Vernon Howard
  • As humans, we also suffer from not getting what we want and not keeping what we have. Kalu Rinpoche
  • Oft expectation fails, and most oft where most it promises; and oft it hits where hope is coldest; and despair most sits. William Shakespeare
  • SufferingDisappointment

Life is not obligated to give you what you expect

  • Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect. Margaret Mitchell
  • I discovered life sometimes has a way of giving you what you need, but not in the way you expect. Lisa Kleypas
  • Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation. Charlotte Bronte
  • What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expected generally happens. Benjamin Disraeli
  • A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes. Mark Twain
  • Expectations are blossoms; few only mature in fruit. Emperor Ye-Wang

Expectation is a form of attachment that can bog you down

  • Loving, hating, having expectations: all these are attachments. Attachment prevents the growth of one’s true being. Lao Tzu  Love without attachment is light.  Norman O. Brown
  • The secret self knows the anguish of our attachments and assures us that letting go of what we think we must have to be happy is the same as letting go of our unhappiness. Guy Finley
  • A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Douglas Adams
  • Non-attachment

Let go of expectations and be free

  • Act without expectation. Lao Tzu
  • I let go of expectation. I visualise cutting the cord to my expectations. I imagine them drifting into the air until they are gone. Susan Jeffers
  • Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustration, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgments and opinions. Die to all that and fly free. Lama Surya Das
  • Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are. Rachel Naomi Remen
  • When you let go of your expectations, when you accept life as it is, you’re free. To hold on is to be serious and uptight. To let go is to lighten up. Richard Carlson
  • When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is. Tara Brach
  • I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free. Nikos Kazantzakis
  • When you demand nothing of the world, nor of God, when you want nothing, seek nothing, expect nothing, then the supreme state will come to you uninvited and unexpected. Nisargadatta Maharaj

Have intentions and desires for the future but let go of your expectations of the result

  • Desire is a powerful force that can be used to make things happen. Yet do not confuse desire with expectation, or with need. Desire has an entirely different quality to it. You can desire something without needing or requiring it. That little difference makes everything work. That little difference is the whole trick. Desire, do not Require. To desire propels. To require compels. Life will not be compelled, but it can be coaxed. Neale Donald Walsch
  • Release all expectations after you’ve set your goal. You never know what the universe might deliver to your doorstep. That’s why you want to have an open-mind, because what if the universe has something better in store for you? Henri Junttila
  • Have intentions but let go of attachment to result

Trade your expectations for acceptance

  • When you let go of your expectations, when you accept life as it is, you’re free. To hold on is to be serious and uptight. To let go is to lighten up. Richard Carlson
  • Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.
  • My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. Michael J. Fox
  • Acceptance

Expect nothing and be open to surprise

  • Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise. Alice Walker
  • The best things in life are unexpected, because there were no expectations. Eli Khamarov
  • I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than fatally disappointed. Julia Glass
  • The element of the unexpected and the unforeseeable is what gives some of its relish to life and saves us from falling into the mechanical thraldom of the logicians. Winston Churchill
  • Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks. Samuel Johnson
  • Surprise

Expect the unexpected

  • If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail. Heraclitus
  • Expect everything so that nothing comes unexpected. Norton Juster

The rewards of letting go of expectation


Letting go of expectations brings greater happiness

  • My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. Michael J. Fox
  • Happiness is living without expectations. Peter Cajander
  • It is your judgments which keep you from joy, and your expectations which make you unhappy. Neale Donald Walsch
  • When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have. Stephen Hawking
  • I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations. Bill Watterson
  • There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations. Jodi Picoult
  • Happiness equals reality minus expectations.  Tom Magliozzi
  • Happiness

Letting go of expectations saves you from disappointment

  • Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. Alexander Pope
  • I have a strategy. Why expect anything? If you don’t expect anything, you don’t get disappointed. Patricia McCormick
  • No expectations mean there is no risk of disappointment. Jude Morgan
  • Those who live on expectations are sure to be disappointed. Joachim Murat
  • Disappointment

Letting go of expectations brings peace and equanimity

  • Equanimity allows you to open your heart and offer love, kindness, compassion, and rejoicing, while letting go of your expectations and attachment to results.  Frank Jude Boccio
  • When we become the observer, we take ourselves one step away from the drama. Becoming observer allows me to let go of expectations and to create a sense of wonder instead of fear about the future. Susan Jeffers
  • Inner peaceEquanimity

Letting go of expectations lets you live in the now and enjoy what’s at hand

  • Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today. Seneca
  • In our pursuit of the things of this world, we usually prevent enjoyment by expectation; we anticipate our own happiness and eat out the heart and sweetness and worldly pleasures by delightful forethoughts of them; so that when we come to possess them, they do not answer the expectation, nor satisfy the desires which were raised about them, and they vanish into nothing. John Tillotson
  • We part more easily with what we possess, than with the expectation of what we wish for; and the reason of it is, that what we expect is always greater than what we enjoy. E. Ayscough
  • Live in the present

Letting go of expectations opens you to new and often better possibilities that the universe may have in store for you

  • I discovered life sometimes has a way of giving you what you need, but not in the way you expect. Lisa Kleypas
  • I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I have ended up where I needed to be. Douglas Adams
  • A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect. Jonathan Lockwood Huie
  • Release all expectations after you’ve set your goal. You never know what the universe might deliver to your doorstep. That’s why you want to have an open-mind, because what if the universe has something better in store for you? Henri Junttila
  • Just because things hadn’t gone the way I had planned didn’t necessarily mean they had gone wrong. Ann Patchett
  • Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable. Mary Oliver
  • Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find. Ann Patchett
  • The Zen of it was, by not getting what we wanted, we got more than we ever imagined. Nile Rodgers
  • Possibility

Let go of your expectations in all areas


Let go of your expectations that life be a constant high

  • There is an ebb and flow to life. Rather than fight it or resist it, let us embrace it. Let us adjust our expectations of what is “normal” and practice accepting the highs, the lows and everything in between.  Chris Assaad
  • What makes earth feel like hell is our expectation that it should feel like heaven. Chuck Palahniuk
  • The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. Theodore Rubin

Let go of your expectations that life is always fair

  • Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian. Dennis Wholey
  • FairnessJustice

Let go of your expectations in relationships too …

  • Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations. Leo Buscaglia
  • Change in others often occurs when you no longer need them to change. When you drop demands and expectations.  Eckhart Tolle
  • Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations. Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit. Robert Brault
  • I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped. Frederick Perls
  • If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed. Sylvia Plath
  • Principles for healthy relationships

… for true love drops expectations and accepts people as they are

  • Love does not obey our expectations; it obeys our intentions. Lloyd Strom
  • Unconditional love is not romantic love. It is the acceptance of others as they are without judgment or expectations. It is total acceptance of others without attempting to change them, except by our own positive example. Dick Sutphen
  • Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. Anthony de Mello
  • When you do not require a person to show up as you imagine you need them to be, then you can drop expectation. Then you love them exactly as they are. Yet this can only happen when you love your Self exactly as you are. Neale Donald Walsch
  • Love is always bestowed as a gift, freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved, we love to love. Leo Buscaglia
  • Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood. Karen Casey
  • Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others but by simply accepting them as they are. True acceptance is always without demands and expectations. Gerald G. Jampolsky

Stop expecting yourself and others to be perfect

  • When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. Donald Miller
  • You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you. Lisa Kleypas
  • Perfectionism

Manage your expectations in your marriage, and best drop them altogether

  • Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Keeping that going is hard work. Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The expectations you bring to your partnership can make or break your marriage. Don’t miss out on the sterling moments of marriage because your ideals are out of sync with your partner’s. Don’t believe the myth that you and your partner automatically come with the same expectations for marriage. Instead, remember that the more openly you discuss your differing expectations, the more likely you are to create a vision of marriage that you agree on– and that is unique to the two of you. Leslie L. Parrott
  • Marriage

If you must have expectations, keep them moderate and don’t cling to them too tightly

  • Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack. Brandon Sanderson
  • Keep high aspirations, moderate expectations, and small needs. William Howard Stein
  • Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment. Samuel Johnson
  • Expectations are dangerous when they are both too high and unformed. Lionel Shriver
  • Letting go

Don’t place unreasonable expectations on yourself for this causes only stress

  • We often create enormous amounts of stress with our ridiculous expectations of ourselves and with the belief that we can, and should be able to, control everything that is going on around us. Amanda Harvey
  • You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you. Lisa Kleypas
  • Stress

More thoughts on letting go of expectations

  • I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path. The Dalai Lama
  • Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation. Elbert Hubbard
  • Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. Aesop
  • Meditation is at its most potent when you have no expectation, when you’re open to everything and when you maintain an attitude of naive fascination. Paul Wilson
  • Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectation that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Sara Paddison
  • Letting go

The expectations of others


Stop living your life based on others’ expectations for you

  • You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations. Stevie Wonder
  • I am not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor should I feel the world must live up to mine.  Fritz Perls
  • In the big and small decisions in your life, do you follow your heart? Or are you swept along by the tides of circumstance and the expectations of others? Amanda Harvey
  • Today I will realize that I’m powerless over other people’s expectations of me. I’ll think about what I want and consider that how I respond to others’ needs will affect the course of my life. I will own my own power and choose the course that’s right for me. Melody Beattie
  • I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine. Bruce Lee
  • There is no joy involved in following others’ expectations of yourself. Miriam Toews
  • He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that. Robert Jordon

Success happens when you exceed the expectations of others

  • The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be. Og Mandino
  • Formula for success: under promise and over deliver. Tom Peters
  • Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more. Lou Vickery
  • Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable. Wendy Wasserstein
  • Success

Final thoughts


Make your expectations clear when delegating work

  • Another mistake is making your expectations unclear. When people aren’t quite sure what it is they are trying to do, the outcome they are striving for, and how they are going to be accountable for it, they’re not motivated or inspired. Stephen Covey
  • The key to successful delegation is being absolutely clear about what you’re expecting for the outcome. Nellie Akalp
  • If you don’t clearly communicate your expectations, the job will never be completed to your satisfaction. Stop being in such a hurry. Clearly give instructions and have the person you are delegating to respond, verifying what you expect. Everyone needs to be on the same page before you hit go. Christy Graham

On a lighter note

  • She not only expects the worst but makes the worst of it when it happens. Michael Arlen
  • Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Albert Einstein
  • Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  • A dog thinks you are the greatest, coolest, smartest, most successful person in the world. Get a dog and work hard to live up to its expectations. Brian Johnson
  • A nurse is a girl who holds your hand and expects your temperature to go down.
  • A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t. A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, and she does.
  • Blessed is he who expects no gratitude for he shall not be disappointed.  C. Bennett
  • Blind Date: When you expect to meet a vision and he turns out to be a sight.
  • Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get. Robert A. Heinlein
  • Don’t expect me to be perfect all the time but please recognise it when I am. Ashleigh Brilliant
  • Everything takes longer than you expect ; even when you expect it to take longer than you expect.  Ashleigh Brilliant
  • Expecting something for nothing is the most popular form of hope. Arnold H. Glasow
  • Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.  Dennis Wholey
  • Happiness equals reality minus expectations.  Tom Magliozzi
  • I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it; I expect to die at 110 shot by a jealous husband.  Thurgood Marshall
  • I think the secret to a successful marriage is low expectations.  Jeff Stilson
  • I’ve never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith — it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe. Robert A. Heinlein
  • If history is going to repeat itself I should think we can expect the same thing again. Terry Venables
  • If you lend someone an ear don’t expect to be repaid with interest.  Alfred E. Neuman
  • In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.  John Pentland Mahaffy
  • It is great to be a blonde. With low expectations it’s very easy to surprise people. Pamela Anderson
  • Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market. Erich Fromm
  • Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man.  James Thurber
  • Perfection is what American women expect to find in their husbands but English women only hope to find in their butlers.   Somerset Maugham
  • She not only expects the worst but makes the worst of it when it happens.  Michael Arlen
  • Some people pay a compliment as if they expected a receipt.  Frank Kin’ Hubbard
  • Specialist: A doctor whose patients are expected to confine their ailments to office hours.
  • The only problem with doing the impossible is that everybody expects you to duplicate the impossible.  John McKay
  • The philosophy exam was a piece of cake which was a bit of a surprise actually because I was expecting some questions on a sheet of paper.
  • They expect an umpire to be perfect on opening day and to improve as the season goes on.  Nestor Chylak
  • This is what I expected but not so soon.  Epitaph
  • To expect life to treat you good is as foolish as hoping a bull won’t hit you because you are a vegetarian.  Roseanne Barr
  • Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening.  Barbara Tober