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Power of Expectations

Published 8/24/2018

What do you expect to happen today? Maybe it's in your career or if you're job searching, maybe it's an expectation in your email inbox, but what do you expect to improve on personally, today? In today's episode, we're going to talk about our will and actions on a day-to-day basis.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
What do you expect to happen today? Maybe in your career, your job today, or if you're looking for a job, perhaps you're expecting a particular email to hit your inbox. But what do you expect yourself to do? All of us are trying to establish good habits. I don't know many people who have established every habit that they want to establish, and now they're just continuing forward. We all have room to grow. We all have room to improve. And so I'm asking you, what do you expect to happen on that course of improvement today for you? As it turns out, the answer to this question may be very important. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, and you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal in this show is to help driven developers like you do better work and connect to their career purpose so they can have a positive influence on the people around them. One of the things that you need to understand about your actions is that they're very difficult to predict. It's difficult to know what even you will do, even as you. It's difficult for you to know what you are going to do. Of course we can have a pretty good idea. We can schedule our days out. We know our routines. But if this wasn't the case, then we wouldn't have such a hard time establishing habits. Our will and our actions don't always align. And perhaps what's even more interesting is that our expectations about the world around us, they often lean towards a negative bias. We've talked about negativity bias on the show before, but even when it comes to very simple things, like for example, let's say that you, like many other people around you, most likely, you face some kind of depression or anxiety. And you visit the doctor and you make the choice to start taking an SSRI, anti-depressant. Well as it turns out, your expectations of whether or not that anti-depressant is going to work actually affect whether or not it will work. Specifically the study that showed that this was the case showed two different groups who both received the same SSRI. They both, both groups received the same specific type of SSRI. One of them knew that it was an SSRI. They were told this is indeed a SSRI. And the other one didn't know. They were told they were taking a placebo. Of course these people knew that they were part of a study, so no ethical issues there. But it turned out that the people in the first group, the ones who knew that they were taking the SSRI, it was much more effective for them. There was no difference in the drug and whether or not people took it and what the drug was made of or the dosage. None of those things were different. The only thing that was different was the understanding, the belief, the expectation that the first group had versus the expectation that the second group had. So this isn't just about positivity. It's not just about having a positive outlook. It's about what you quite literally expect. Another simple example of this, a different study, showed that 24-7 work emails impact health. That's not all that surprising. I don't think for us to talk about that on the show. But the surprising thing about the study was that it didn't really matter whether individuals received emails after work, after hours. The thing that mattered was whether or not this was an acceptable practice to expect emails, to always be looking for that email to come through. So that expectation is powerful. It's important for us to consider what kinds of things we are expecting for children who go to receive vaccinations and they are expecting the pain. The expectation is the reality of the pain for that child. So these expectations, they become very real to us, both experientially and literally. So here's what I want to encourage you to do because there's not a specific takeaway, a specific tactical takeaway for today's episode because expectations are all over the map. We have expectations about work, about ourselves, about our health, about others, about our future. We have so many expectations in life because really part of our brain's job is to try to create these expectations. So I want to encourage you to develop beliefs and a self-image that cultivates positive expectations. Let me say that again. Develop beliefs, understanding of the world around you, understanding reality, and a positive self-image that cultivate a positive expectation. So this starts with identifying what types of expectations you have that you'd like to change. For example, having no expectation at all for improvement in your career, then it's very unlikely that you will accidentally improve. Your intentions can follow your expectations, but your intentions very rarely are going to follow accidents, accidental pathways. Instead, the accidental pathway will become prone to devolving. This is the concept of entropy. Everything is naturally going to be chaotic unless you add order to it. So your pathway in your career is unlikely to be well structured unless you choose to structure it. And in order to choose structure, in order to choose intentionality, you have to have some expectation that there will be a benefit to that choice. So start cultivating the perspective that your intentionality will reap rewards. And the same practice can be applied to almost any kind of behavior that you want to cultivate in yourself, any kind of habits, any kind of outlook on life that you want to have, you need to understand that your intentionality is against the chaos. It is fighting entropy. And in order to fight that entropy, you need to cultivate the expectation of yourself to do so. As you begin to set different expectations of yourself, your habits will now have more information. You will create a sense of consistency in your actions, where previously you didn't necessarily have any expectations. Now that you have set up expectations, you can either choose to meet your own expectations or you can choose to break your own expectations. But I encourage you to cultivate beliefs and cultivate an outlook that will ultimately lead to better expectations for yourself. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Before we go, I want to mention one quick thing we've talked about it a few times on the show before. But if you have enjoyed this episode, this episode we didn't really have a sponsor, right? Our sponsors are incredible, we love having sponsors on this show. But of course, Developer Tea is intended to be a short show. So if you enjoyed today's episode, not having a sponsor, then you will certainly enjoy the ad-free version of Developer Tea. Now we've launched this ad-free version with Breaker. They have a new product called Breaker upstream and all you have to do is download the Breaker app. Right now it's available on the app store and it's coming to Android soon. So download the Breaker app and then subscribe to the Developer Teaad-free feed. And this feed is a premium feed. That means you're going to pay $4.99 a month. This $4.99 a month comes straight to Developer Tea. You're supporting the show directly. This is a great way to give back to Developer Tea. If you find this show valuable in your career, thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. And until next time, enjoy your tea.