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August 2, 2010 / alunatunes

Managing Expectations Part Two


Even within the band, if I cannot manage to persuade the members of what I see to be the next course of action, how do you expect the group to deal with the expectations of thousands of people. It is not possible.
Robert Fripp

Reality is profoundly influenced by your own expectations as well as those of others. In Human Resources, the Pygmalion Effect refers to the phenomenon that the greater the expectations of an employer, teacher, or manager the better employees and students will perform. In other words, if I expect the best of you, that is what you will undeniably deliver.  If I expect you to be an idiot or unteachable, you will be just that.

Pygmalion, in the stories of Ovid, creates a beautiful ivory statue of a woman, after he is disappointed in the real human thing. Eventually he comes to prefer the statue’s company. He names her Galatea and brings her gifts and dresses her beautifully. Pygmalion treats Galetea as a real person. His expectations outweigh reality. His perception of Galatea as a real being touches the heart of Aphrodite, who bestows life upon the ivory statue of Galatea and turns her into human form.

We’ve all heard of this ability to manifest what we most want. Sometimes the ideas are cloaked in seminars or motivational workshops or self-help books.  It’s the Power of Positive Thinking. It’s “The Secret”. It’s Esther Hicks and Abraham’s Art of Allowing.

Keeping expectations high while keeping ones feet on the ground is a tricky strategy. It’s mind over matter and materialism. It’s the ability to dream as well as do. In Ecclesiastes we’re warned that “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness…” 

The call to manage expectations is a valid one.  But don’t forget the enchanting story of Pygmalion and Galatea. Treat your expectations with the dignity and respect you devote to your dreams and watch the magic unfold.

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