‘I expect you to get good marks in Maths. Look at Andrea, she does so well.’
‘I have always dreamt of you as an engineer from the best Institute’
‘You have to win this race. I will accept nothing less than the first place.’
‘You have to talk to my father about us.
(I get it. This one’s tough!)
All our life, our parents, our peers, our friends, bosses, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, dogs (justified) lay out a roadmap of expectations from us.
And we slowly get into this ‘box’ filled with wishes and demands – so much so that our bosses and peers then have to ask us to start ‘thinking out of the box’
But why did we get into it, in the first place? What turned our carefree souls into fearful adults that we forgot our passions somewhere in our teenage?
Take a look at your kitchen!
What do you see on the racks or cabinets you have to store the ingredients?
Boxes, containers, bottles, jars – you name it and you will see it on the shelf. Not just that, these are available in varied shapes and sizes, with a permutation and combination of the material they are made of.
If I ask you to fill a 1 kg breakfast cereal in a box that has the capacity of 250g, what will happen? Once it reaches its threshold, it will overflow. You can take 4 of such boxes to hold the 1 kg, but the job can’t be done by one single box.
Every person is just like this container that is made of different intake capacity, is born with a unique purpose and is made up of a personality that is different from the rest of the world.
Its neither the fault of the container that cannot take more than its threshold nor it is the fault of the amount of breakfast cereal – it is the fault of the unrealistic expectation that a 1kg quantity can fit into the small box.
And what happens when an excess of breakfast cereal is stuffed into the box? Eventually, the box explodes. A human burdened with unrealistic expectations is no different.
Forget thinking out of the box, a person stops thinking altogether.
“So does that mean a small box can’t contain the entire cereal? Of course, it can, only in parts. It won’t be all at one go – the box will first have to understand its threshold and then opt for the intake when the original content is consumed”
What should a box (or you) then do?
1.Understand your Limits, than being an Egoistic Prick!
Once you accept and observe your own threshold, you have a far better chance of succeeding at it. Ignorance is NOT bliss in this scenario; if a 250cc box believes it can take in 1kg of breakfast cereal all at one go, there exists no box that is as stupid as it is.
2.Find out your Niche expertise!
A Plastic container can be placed on a gas stove; likewise, a steel container can be placed in a microwave. But they are designed for exactly the opposite. We can always emulate the responsibilities others execute; but without passion, love, knowledge, skills and innate abilities, we cannot achieve everything we aim for. To start thinking out of the box, you need to focus on
3.Not all the expectations people have set for you, can be met with!
It doesn’t matter what your father, mother, colleagues, boss or team thinks or expects from you. Whether or not you can (or want to) do it, lies entirely upon you. Yes, you should always work towards being the better version of yourself, but shouldering unrealistic expectations and desires will take you spiraling down.
4. Focus on what you can do better than the rest
If you were meant to be a leader, you will be a great one. But if you are meant to work alone, you will not excel as a leader, no matter how hard you try. You might be average at it, maybe make mistakes here and there. If you have an art that many lack, be the best in it; so good that your seniors and peers look upon you as an inspiration.
Don’t be disheartened if you could not stand up to someone’s expectations. You have stood up to yours, and that is the only difference you need to make.
To ‘Think out of the Box’, Remember this:
1. Don’t bound yourself with a box made of unrealistic responsibility today for your morale to eventually touch the earth’s magma
2. The person who hurled the unrealistic expectation doesn’t really know you or the job (or maybe both). So stop giving fucks.
3. A lot depends on what you are made of – your personality, your skills, your mind and your soul. Choose them over any expectation anyone has for you
4. Stop being an emotional fool for people to manipulate and pressurize you, your fears and your limitations. Only you can decide these for you.
Only by staying out of it, can you start thinking out of the box! To excel in what you do, you need to break free.