Duff O'Melia

Expectations and Mental State

I’ve been wondering about how much of our mental state is based solely on our expectations.

Consider this. The day begins and I plan on accomplishing 10 specific tasks. By the end of the day I’ve only achieved 6 of them. I can feel discouraged. I can feel like a failure. I can feel as if I just wasn’t very productive.

Now change the scenario just a bit. The same day begins and I plan on accomplishing 4 specific tasks rather than the 10 I was predicting before. I work just as hard and I’m just as productive so I get to the end of the day and I’ve accomplished those same 6 tasks. I feel great! I’m an efficient machine. I accomplished 2 more tasks than I thought I would. Can anything stop me?

The only difference between the two scenarios was my prediction for how much I thought I’d accomplish. I worked just as hard and just as efficiently but my mental state at the end of each scenario was markedly different.

It’s interesting to me that we know that we’re not clairvoyant yet our mental state can be affected by our ability to predict the future.