As I’ve got older, I’ve come to realize a number of things. One of them is individuality. Of course, we’re each individuals, with our own minds and bodies, seemingly freely making our own choices given our set of circumstances, motivations, knowledge, ambition, and expectations of what life is.
But within that, there are countless things which can only be done as an individual. You can’t buy a perfect body, you can’t buy being strong, you can’t buy knowledge, you can’t buy ambition. These are things that only come from within, from action from within. You look around the world and see athletes all playing a similar game, attempting to improve their bodies to make them stronger, faster, with more endurance. Each individual is putting in their own effort, given their ambitions and expectations of life.
And the same is true with the mind. Professors all over the world are researching their own field of expertise, given what they think is possible to discover. You can’t buy the knowledge that comes from learning, you can only acquire knowledge through your own pursuit, whether that be reading books, traveling, or talking to people.
So much of life comes down to the individual making their own decisions. As I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve discovered that so much of what we do in life comes down to our expectations of it. The change that happens as you get older comes from experience, knowledge, wisdom, or whatever else you may call it, but the underlying change that I think happens most clearly is your expectations change.
When you’re 20 and you think you know everything, pulling all-nighters at a club seems like the best decision. When you’re 30, the thing stopping you from doing that isn’t that it is no longer fun, it is that the decision to do such doesn’t coincide with your expectations of life. Why sacrifice a good night of sleep? Why sacrifice wasting the next day?
I can definitely say my expectations of virtually everything in life has changed over the last 10 years. I’m far more aware of how things work, or at least work within the framework I have of life. Because of it, I see countless more possibilities, and an infinite ceiling above us. What does being at the top mean mentally? Physically? Emotionally? It isn’t a comparison to do better than others, it is about becoming the best version of yourself. You only have 1 body, you might as well take care of it. You only have 1 brain, you might as well make it a good one. You have each day to improve yourself in whatever form that means to you. Be aware of what your expectations are and why they are what they are. They will likely change as you change, as you grow, as you learn, as you age.
Expectations influence virtually everything you do. Perhaps my favorite quote is “if you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”. Your expectations influence your behavior, and your behavior influences your life. After all, your behavior is your life. Your life is what you pay attention to.
We don’t know when the lights will shut off. Hence why it’s important to make the most of each day. While cliche, it’s true. When you look back over the year, do you feel fulfilled of what you’ve done? Are you satisfied with the effort you put in? What changes can you make to do better?
Our experiencing self may forget the aim or the path we’re on. But our remembering self will look back and decide if it was worth it, and adjust our new experiencing self accordingly.
Make today a special day.