Expect The Best
Lower your expectations.
Be reasonable about what you want.
You have to take into account all these different things…
Chances are, at some point in your life, someone has told you one of the above. The general gist is always the same: you cannot expect what you always want. You have to temper your expectations, be more realistic – and a thousand other ways of saying: “not get what you expect”.
Striving to be the best isn’t frowned upon. In fact, it’s encouraged, the fodder for half of the motivational quotes that spring around the internet in meme form. So if it’s okay to expect, strive for and aim to be the best – is it really so problematic to expect the best from other people?
Some might argue that this attitude is entitled, that you are thinking you deserve special treatment – but the reality is far different to that. The reality is that you just want things to be as good as they can be. From your home renovation to the people who teach your children; it seems strange that there are societal expectations that you control your desires to account for other people.
It’s not selfish to expect things to be as good as they can be. It’s certainly not unreasonable. So long as you hold yourself to as high a standard, then there’s no risk of hypocrisy either. If you go out of your way to do things to the best of your ability, then it’s perfectly reasonable to expect others to do the same.
Discerning ≠ Demanding
It is possible to go overboard with the “I want the best” attitude. The best way to argue against this is to remember the principle: discerning but not demanding.
Discerning just means you have an expectation and you expect people to meet it. Let’s say you’re renovating your house; if the plumber says the bathroom will be finished by 6pm, then it should be finished by 6pm. If it’s not, then you can challenge it. You can be discerning for the reason for the failure.
Sometimes, that reason will be legitimate – so you can apply a filter to your expectations to take that into account. You stray into demanding territory if the reason is legitimate, but you’re still furious that it happened and vent that annoyance to the plumber.
Politeness Is Positive
Politeness is free and it’s well worth keeping in mind. Returning to the renovation to your family home metaphor: say you need an electrician. Of course, you want to easily find the best electrician on offer, but you don’t want to upset someone. If someone comes to quote, starting to badger them with demands for proof of previous work and assurances at how great they are is not a good way to begin a professional relationship.
Instead, be polite. Make requests for prior work references with a smile. Anything else will present you as a high maintenance customer who is going to quibble with every stage of the process, potentially slowing things down for your contractor. Be nice but firm – it goes a long way!
So don’t be afraid of asking for the best and having high expectations – just ensure you keep your humanity while doing it.