Tempered Expectations

When I go out to eat, I have certain hopes for the experience.

We will be greeted soon after walking into the establishment. We will be seated soon or told to the length of the wait. We will be given menus when we are seated and our drink order will be taken without too much wait. Our drinks will arrive without too much of a wait, and generally the drinks shouldn’t be empty for too long or ever. I hope to make our food order not too long after getting our drink order and any appetizers should show up sooner rather than later.

Once the food order shows up, I hope it is cooked to order, all arrives at approximately the same time, and delicious. Must be delicious. The server will usually check in once or twice after the food has arrived to make sure we have everything and it all tastes good. Then eventually show up later with the check and pick up the check without too much delay.

I try to temper my expectations. A fast food establishment isn’t going to be as delicious as a high end establishment and a high end establishment is not going to be as focused on huge portions as the fast food establishment.

However, we have one place that breaks all the rules. I have come to expect them to break the rules.

Servers are generally ambivalent, slow, and varying degrees of friendly ranging from not friendly to non-existent. The food is always good. Which is why I keep going back. But I know better than to ask for anything other than what I am being given. And if I need anything, I know I can get it myself. And I do. I have seen where they keep most of their supplies and if I need something, I go get it myself.

This might seem extreme, but truly, they do not care. Servers have watched me get up and grab a high chair for my toddler, extra napkins, and refill my own water, get condiments, utensils, and menus. They all watch and say nothing. They are completely ambivalent to me and my resourcefulness.

Previously this establishment has frustrated me to no end. But now, I have tempered my expectations to know, I do it myself and I am better for it.

How do you temper your expectations? Do you prepare yourself for the moments when you know your expectations are too high? When you are consistently dissatisfied with an experience, do you change your expectations to be ready for dissatisfaction and take action?

Shouldn’t you be able to do better than silently suffering?

Because you read this post, you should like and share my page on Facebook, Subscribe, or support me on Patreon

Desert of Experiences

When I look at successful people, I just get plain overwhelmed sometimes. I see all the ways they shine and just cannot even fathom getting to their station or place in life. Whether it is how many years they have worked for a particular company, the size and success of the company they lead, the number of people they lead, or quite simply the quality of their lives.

I get lost in all the details of how well they have done for themselves and how they are in such a good spot. Like an inexperienced traveler on foot overlooking the Sahara Desert. I cannot comprehend how I could ever do the same thing.

I look at this Sahara desert and forget the desert is made up of grains of sand.

I forget that each grain of sand came from somewhere.

They were not born as the Sahara Desert.

It was a lifetime each little grain of sand being chipped away from stones that made them into the mighty desert they became. I forget my own life will not be born into the Sahara overnight. It will only be through the passage of time wearing away each grain of experience into the desert of my own life that I will ever be anything like the people I admire and respect.



Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Smooth Rocks

Whenever I go to any body of water. My favorite rocks are the perfectly smooth ones. They ones with no jagged edges or sharp corners. The ones that are especially good for skipping. The rocks that look like they might be an alien spaceship because they are so smooth and seamless.

My least favorite rocks are the sharp jagged rocks. The pointy ones. The ones that cut at my feet when I walk on them. They are sharp when I pick them up. They are not good for skipping usually. And they look like evil alien spaceship here to destroy us or an astroid on its way to crash into earth.

The biggest difference between these two rocks is sand. The smooth stone was once the rough ugly stone. It was a busted up angular foot killer. I was only with the passage of much water that the foot killer became the perfect skipping stone. There were no shortcuts. There was only a lot of water.

The water flowed over the stone.

Grain by grain, the stone became smooth.

There were no rock gnomes smoothing them one by one.

Only the water.

The persistent water smoothed the stone.

Where are you trying to shortcut the process instead of being patient? Where are the jagged rocks in your life? When are you giving up on the jagged rock instead of celebrating each grain of sand? Who are the smooth stones in your life? Have you told them recently?



Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon


I was reflecting on learning to drive the other day and it was so vivid. Sitting in the big white suburban, we had at the time, in the evening after dusk. Slowly getting buckled into the driver seat. Not for the first time. I had buckled myself into this seat plenty of times. However, never before did I have the keys in hand, mother in the passenger seat, and any intention of driving anywhere.

So I started it up, pressed my foot deep into the brake, shifted into ‘Drive’ and exchanged the brake for gas.

Then immediately SLAMMED back on the brake. Heart pumping. Hands shaking.
And again, exchanged the brake for the gas, was surprised by forward momentum and hopped back on the brake. After a few more exchanges like this I became accustomed to the feeling of initiating acceleration. Within twenty minutes, I felt like a pro.

According to the movies, most everyone’s first driving experience is something like this. Jerky-Jerky where the surprise of initiating acceleration is jolting enough to bring the whole operation to an immediate stop. And eventually, I learned the degrees of separation between where I tilt my foot for 10 miles an hour versus 20 miles an hour versus 30 miles an hour.

How much different is learning anything in life? I try something new, a reaction occurs, and I slam the brakes on the reaction. Examine the reaction, process the net result, assess how to do it again, and try again.

Since then, I have had an innumerable quantity of successful drives with no significant details to be reported. I have also had a few opportunities to interface with local authorities on behalf of my bad driving. And there has been a couple times my experience as a driver has kept me alive as I was dodging pets, wildlife, and navigating icy terrain.

Ultimately, learning to play an instrument or teaching myself any skill worthwhile will have many of these same moments. When I do it right, nothing of note, simply continuing to do it right and hone my skill. When I do it wrong someone will point out my error and I will learn from my mistake and potentially pay a price, preferably not too high. And there will even be a few times my experience will save me from crashing and burning.

Learning something new will have these moments of doing it right and doing it wrong. I will never experience any of successes or failures if I do not get past the herky–jerky of it all. Getting past the first few times will pave the way for a million times more.

Is there something new you are trying to work through? What is the uncomfortable herky–jerky of what you are doing? What is the next step to get through the herky–jerky for you?




Often times I am filled with assessment and analytics on what is going on around me. Not so much hard data, numbers, and graphs, but more gut feelings. I will see a friend about to do something I have done a number of times and I know there is a natural pitfall and it is easy to fall into it. So I speak up. I tell the person about the pitfall. Where its origins are, how it works and, most importantly, how to avoid it. 

When suddenly I hear a voice in the void between me and my friend telling them about the pitfalls etcetera. A voice of caring and concern. I listen intently to the voice and appreciate their care to help my friend. As I listen, the voice become more familiar. I know the cadence, vernacular, and phrasing. The voice is very reasonable even. The voice is making some of the same points and sharing experiences I have. 

I look up expectant of seeing someone I know helping my friend and sharing helpful tips and trick. 

There is not anyone there. 

The voice is mine. 

And the voice never left my head.

My friend gets up and moves along to their next destination and I have not said a word.

What will my friend do? I hope they make it ok. I hope they do not end up engaging in any of the same pitfalls I ran into. I better connect with them quickly. I better make sure they know what they have ahead of themselves. I would hate for them to hit any of the same speed bumps I did when they are so avoidable. I hope it is not too late. 

What experiences do you have? What experiences have you not shared?