Great Expectations

I have a short list of pet peeves. At the top of this list that I’ve seldomly edited over the years is the phrase “Don’t get your hopes up.” I can’t think of advice that’s more unintentionally damaging.

The wounds that it inflicts are so severe usually because people whose opinion we care deeply about often say it. In their attempt to give age-old wisdom, they serve up a blanket statement that should be reserved for children who are asking for every toy in the store while their parents grocery shop. Only there, is it appropriate.

The adage becomes deadly at rapid speed because we all have at some point or another, given ourselves permission to deeply desire something that didn’t pan out.

Jon Acuff says it best.

“When we realize that expectaions can cause damage, our natural response is to think, Stupid expectations. I’ll fix this by never having any!

Good luck. No matter how hard we try, we carry ripples of hopes along with us that in a swift breeze can flourish into a tsunami. Jim Rohn says, “Send your emotions to school.” This, I believe, is the answer to people who say not to raise your hopes too high.

The goal isn’t to lower your expectations but to become skilled at refusing to accept defeat. My dad once told me that people’s number one complaint they had when working with him was that he wouldn’t accept ‘no’ as an answer.

I want to become that person. Someone who everybody recognizes as a force to deal with whenever I’m confronted with “It’s not possible.”

So just remember, it’s good to get your hopes up. Without raising your hopes into great expectations, (see what I did there?) you’ll never be able to accomplish the seemingly impossible. What’s worse is you won’t even try, and before you know it, you’ll wind up “with those cold and timid souls that knew neither victory nor defeat.

So when things go wrong, and they will, just remember.


Your life is composed of many seasons. Some seasons you won’t have a warehouse large enough for the harvest you reap. Other times, you’ll dance for joy when you find a single crop undamaged by the winds and the rain.

But success is not hitting a homerun every time. Success is not in the arriving; it is in the reaching. So get your hopes up. It’s high time you did.