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How Do Our Expectations Shape Our Reality?


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This morning I got up to the sound of rain falling. This made me glad, as my plants need watering.

But when I opened the drapes and looked outside, the streets were dry. What?

The wind was blowing strongly, though, and tree branches were waving and dancing in the wind. It is Spring, and the trees have only recently leafed out. I realized that the sound the leaves make in the wind is very different from the sound bare branches make in the wind.

The weather reports had predicted rain, so I expected it. And I misinterpreted what my senses told me because of my expectations.

I wonder: How often do we misinterpret data, whether provided by our senses or by numbers and reports, because of what we expect? How often do our expectations shape our reality?

If I believe that all sales people are solely motivated by money, then I will only create programs that generate behaviors that reinforce my belief. If I believe that people of a certain skin color or ethnic background behave in a certain way, then I will only notice those examples that fit in with my beliefs and use them to reinforce and serve as demonstrations of my beliefs – even if those examples are really only a small minority.

It isn’t until the curtains are opened and it is proven to me that the streets are actually dry that I realize it really isn’t raining.

Sometimes what we think is sound and current data (the sound of rain falling) really is sound and current data about something else (the sound of wind in the trees). How can we effectively interpret the data we are receiving?

Please leave a comment by clicking on this post’s title.

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3 Responses to How Do Our Expectations Shape Our Reality?

  1. Jennifer Rideout May 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    Susan, as I read your blog/articles I am really blown away! So much worth considering. Such a great perspective!

  2. Susan T. Blake May 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Thank you Jennifer! And thanks for signing up!

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  1. I Just Realized… - April 26, 2011

    […] once wrote a piece about how my expectations can shape my beliefs about reality. (You can read it here.) I recently re-read it, and I looked at the following sentence and had to pause: “It isn’t […]

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