“Aim low and avoid disappointment”…
What’s wrong with that statement?? In my opinion, it is one of the worst outlooks that any one person can have on life.
The problem is, it is the natural tendency of every person in the modern world.
Nobody really likes to admit it because it sounds so low. But too many people are neglecting to set goals or are setting very low goals that are easy to accomplish, simply because they don’t want to deal with the emotional and mental pain of failing, or coming up short.
We are all guilty of doing this.
Failing is something that humans naturally shy away from. And with good reason.
Failing kinda sucks…it makes us feel low, stupid, unimportant, bad, etc. And the simple way to avoid failure would be to not put ourselves out there, and avoid any challenges whatsoever, so that we don’t have to deal with the disappointment.
Defining Success for People We Influence
This is an outlook that we tend to have of people we influence. We usually convey that we don’t have high expectations of them, so that they don’t feel pressured into doing something that makes them uncomfortable.
We tell them that they don’t have to expect big things of themselves because accomplishing big things is very hard, and we don’t want them to be hurt emotionally when they don’t succeed.
Well, that’s exact what is going to happen when you convey this attitude…they won’t succeed.
Well, maybe they will succeed to a certain extent. Depending on your definition of success, they probably will succeed because the goals you are encouraging them to make are not goals that take a lot of sweat or effort to accomplish. They are things that anybody with a brain and 2 working legs can accomplish fairly easy.
So yes, in that sense, this person did succeed. But they aren’t really getting what they truly want…
They are lying to themselves and you are lying to them by allowing them to believe they achieved true success, when really they are just conforming to the normal standards that too many people live by.
They are not actually succeeding or reaching their true potential (or anywhere close to their true potential) because you didn’t let them believe that they could achieve big dreams.
I want to go through a few examples of how people of influence tend to shut down the dreams of people they influence:
Listen, I’m not saying that you are a bad parent if you tell your kid that going to college and getting a steady paying job for the rest of his/her life is the best thing for them to do.
I get it.
You worked extremely hard to raise your child and now you want to see them make a difference and live an independent life on their own.
So you look at their childhood dreams like becoming a baseball player, or a rock star, or and actor as just kid hobbies, and the real future is in the corporate world.
Be honest with yourself, when you become a parent, do you want your child to throw away their wild hopes and dreams to make you happy and proud by being miserable in a corporate job??
Again, in no way does sending your kid to college and telling him what you think is best for him a bad thing. But I think parents, being the strong influencers that they are, need to really evaluate their encouragement and think about whether they are ruining a possible dream-come-true situation for their kids by lowering their expectations and telling their children to strive for the average life.
I feel fortunate because I have grown up in a household where dreams are very important to my parents.
My brother, who is striving to be a professional baseball player, has received nothing but 100% support and encouragement from my parents. I believe that is the right way to go about things. He is a fantastic athlete and my parents see the true potential in him.
Yes, going after your dream of becoming a baseball player is a long road, and will take a lot of hardship, and in the end it is not that likely that things will work out for him. The odds are against him. But as a family, we believe in him and have high expectations of him.
We expect nothing less than greatness out of him and we are willing to be patient with him.
We understand it will take time to get to the big leagues, so we continually tell him we believe in him and know that he will eventually become a superstar.
Could he fall flat on his face, and be extremely disappointed?? Absolutely. But instead of telling him that the risk s not worth it, my parents have decided to sacrifice much to give the person they influence the faith he needs to become a world star.
The same goes for me with my entrepreneurial dreams.
They support me 100% in my quest to be a millionaire superstar entrepreneur and they are expecting nothing less than greatness out of me. Pressure? Maybe a little…but it’s a good kind of pressure that drives me to reach my full potential.
If me or my brother never reach our full potential for uncontrollable reasons, my parents will in no way be disappointed in us. However, if we just decide to quit and give up because things have gotten too hard, and go down a track they we do not desire, then my parents will be highly disappointed.
They have big expectations, and I would not have it any other way.
Probably not as much of an influence as parents, but teachers still should have high expectations of their students. They should vocalize their faith in each student to be great, and when a student does not put full effort in going after something they want to achieve, the teacher has the right to be disappointed.
Each teacher should expect big things from every student, and make it clear that they believe in each student.
If you have high expectations of someone, and tell them you believe that they can live up to them, chances are they will begin to believe in themselves and achieve greatness after all.
But sometimes you as the influencer must believe first.
A lot of bosses and business leaders like to belittle their employees. They have big egos and tend to make employees fell inferior or smaller because they are in a position of less power. I believe this is the wrong approach.
Too many employers think they must keep control over employees by killing their dreams and telling them that all they can really do is the mundane tasks they are assigned. As if making them feel unimportant and robotic will make them loyal and work hard to serve the boss.
The problem is that these companies tend to go out of business pretty fast.
This is not the type of environment where success is born. Success is born when an employer allows the employee to feel important and be a part of something special.
They have high expectations of every employee and vocalize their faith in each person to produce greatness. This motivate employees and makes them want to do great things for the company.
An employer has a lot of influence and the best way to use that influence is to expect big things from individuals and give them the freedom to help the company thrive in their own unique way.
Sure, maybe the employee is eventually encouraged so much that they leave and go on to bigger things. But they will have left so much more value to your company when they are encouraged to do great things.
Having High Expectations…with No Strings Attached
In the end, I believe having high expectations of those you influence is vital to their success. If you want those you influence to feel truly fulfilled and live a happy, highly successful life that they want, encourage them to do big things and expect nothing less than eventual success.
Looking to be more productive? Try this:
In your office, or wherever you do your work, post a sign that says this:
“I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT.”
Then, try living out that lifestyle for a couple days. Constantly glance at the sign and ask yourself what the most productive thing you could be doing at that moment is. Then do it, and see how much you get done in just a few days.
This is Tom Hopkins strategy that I have just started implementing in my life, and it works brilliantly.
Check It Out!
I recently finished a fantastic book on leadership and influence, called “How to Influence People”. Written by John C. Maxwell and Jim Dornan, this book shares how to properly influence those around you, so that you both benefit from the relationship. Start being a leader today and check out this book: