The Power of Expecting “Nothing”

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If you want your life to be more rewarding, you have to change the way you think.

Oprah

 

 

 

At the end of my UCLA Extension course, the Dynamics of Interpersonal Communication, I ask the students simply to write a two-page paper in which they tell me what, if anything, they’ve learned.

Here’s what one of my students wrote. I share it because what he learned is what each one of us needs to learn and relearn!

 

The last twelve weeks have certainly been enlightening; however, I can unreservedly say that I, without a doubt, have learned nothing.

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. Seriously…nothing

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. Absolutely……NOTHING

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. Nada

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. PERIOD

Now before you go thinking the people at the Landmark Forum have abducted me, let me explain:

Before I started this class, I had a boatload of “intentions” and “expectations” for how life was supposed to work out.

My mind, much like my life, was filled with one-liners and quips that I used to help rationalize my actions and setup frameworks that more often than not, let me down in the end.

I kept wondering why things always fell apart or at least didn’t stay glued together for very long.

I initially took this class because I had a deep conversation with my mother – the pillar of my life thus far (don’t judge – I’m Jewish). She told me I needed to examine the scope of my life and how I planned to live it a little better.

I’m glad to say she was right – but don’t tell her I said that!

You see, I’ve always been convinced that if you act a certain way, dress a certain part, do what you’re supposed to do, things will all fall into place as intended.

That is not only a naïve way of living, but also one that can be blinding. I felt, for a very long time, mislead and resentful to the fact that my life hadn’t worked out the way I was told it would.

I was always waiting for things to happen as I expected they should.

It never dawned on me that I was waiting for ten years and would continue to wait and wait if I didn’t wake up. All these expectations I had fell short of reality.

Although this class was about the dynamics of interpersonal communication, I learned something a bit more useful: how to deconstruct my thought processes and discover the reasoning behind my attitude and approach to life, loving relationships and personal fulfillment.

As a Los Angeles native, I think I can say I’ve seen it all: a fully grown man with a five o’clock shadow wearing a pleated green tutu and a wig riding a unicycle down Santa Monica Blvd., a homeless woman taking a crap on the sidewalk of Fairfax and Melrose in broad daylight (true story), a group of twelve-year-old kids who were able to spend more money in five minutes at Saks Fifth Avenue than some small countries earn in a year.

I conditioned myself to think that because I acted differently than those people that made me “better.”

As it turns out, that’s not quite true.

My own ignorance often times turned into arrogance and that was a source of many misconstrued observations.

I’ve learned that the basis of any real relationship starts with NOTHING and that the most challenging dynamic is often times the one you have with yourself.

I’ve recognized the many ways in which I am hard on myself, the areas of opportunity I can grow within myself, and most importantly – discovered the ability to be surprised again; something I thought was long gone.

I am at a phase in my life right now where everything is uncertain.

If you would have asked me three months ago what my “plan” was, I would have given you a road map I created foolishly thinking I could walk it through without falling.

Now I see that expectations can be a demise to almost anything.

At work with colleagues, at home with family, or out in the world with friends,

if you face each setting expecting nothing, you have everything to gain.

 

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

 

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

 

 

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