How often have you heard the following statements, "I will believe it when I see it" or, "If I don't expect too much I will not be disappointed". Taking them at face value, these statements seem to make some sense. However, the reality is that they violate some essential universal principles. The truth is that we have a belief and expectation about everything in our current reality. That is why we experience whatever it is that we experience. To say that you do not believe or expect anything is, as far as universal principles are concerned, erroneous. It is more accurate to say you believe something is not so or you expect for something not to happen.
What are the universal principles alluded to above? Firstly, let us look at the principle of thought. Everything that you experience in your reality is an effect created by a cause. Nothing is an accident, but was intended as a result of cause and effect. (For further clarity, refer to the article "Stress and the Law of Cause and Effect".) The principle cause of every effect in your reality is your thought. Every thought has creative potential as well as intent. " As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." If you think negative thoughts, you will over time create negative circumstances, intended by the thoughts. If you consciously think positive thoughts, you will over time create positive circumstances, intended by your thoughts.
The second is the principle of belief. Whatever thoughts you perpetually entertain in your conscious mind, will eventually settle as beliefs or faith in your subconscious mind. These beliefs are what determine your life experience, whether conscious of unconscious. "You will have (experience) whatsoever you believe". The only reason you do or have anything is because you believe you can do or have it. The only reason you cannot do or have anything is because you believe you cannot do or have it. It is important to understand that these beliefs are rooted in the subconscious mind, and you may not necessarily be consciously aware of them.
The third is the principle of expectation. The perpetual thoughts in your conscious mind that have over time settled as beliefs in your subconscious mind create expectations, whether you are consciously aware of them or not. A simple but relevant example is the issue about money. Everybody has very specific thoughts about money, positive or negative. Most of those thoughts are as a result of conditioning from our parents. The thoughts may include that money is hard to come by; money does not grow on trees; you need a lucky break to make money etc. Those thoughts over time become beliefs, which will determine your attitude toward money. You may have developed the belief that wealth is only meant for a lucky few, and that you are not one of them. What will your expectation be about money? Possibly, you will expect that money will always elude you, seeing that you are not one of the lucky few. Your experience will then be a lack of money. It is true that poverty is not essentially a lack of money, but a belief system that creates the expectation of poverty. Similarly, wealth is not essentially an abundance of money, but a belief system that creates the expectation of wealth. In a practical way, either belief systems will cause expectations and behaviour that will result in either poverty or wealth.
A number of years ago two experiments were conducted in the USA and Canada. In the first, a block of project apartments in a certain area of the Bronx was renovated and refurbished at no cost to the residents. A few years later, inspection of the apartment block revealed conditions to be very similar to what they were prior to the renovation and refurbishment. In Canada, the experiment included a survey of 20 instant millionaires over a period of 20 years. After the 20-year period, only two of the 20 instant millionaires still had a significant amount of money and assets. Most of the others were in a worse financial situation than before they became millionaires. The only logical conclusion from both experiments is that money in itself does not cause either poverty or wealth, but the thoughts, beliefs and subsequent expectations about money do.
The three principles mentioned above namely thought, belief and expectation, are captured in the following references: "Faith (the perpetual thoughts that have settled as beliefs in the subconscious mind) is the substance (physical manifestation) of things hoped for (expected as a result of the beliefs), the evidence (physical reality) of things not seen (yet in your experience of reality)." Hebrews 11:1.
"I desire (intend) above all things that you prosper (experience success in all aspects of life) and be in health (physically and emotionally), as your soul (state of mind [thoughts], will, emotions) prospers."
3 John: 2.
It is clear from the above references that whatever you experience in your reality is the direct result of what you think, believe and expect. Your counter argument may the many times you expected things to happen and they turned out in a way you did not expect. The response to that is the fact that most people confuse wishing or wanting with expecting. The truth is that you do not get what you want or wish for, but what you expect. Wanting something is really based on a sense of lack, which keeps the focus more on what you do not have, creating more of what you do not have. Wishing is based on the desire for things to be different from what they are, which still keeps the focus on what you have, creating more of what you have. Expectation however is based on the desire of how things should be, positive or negative. The subtle difference is the focus. Expectation has the correct focus if positive, as opposed to wanting and wishing. The difficulty is that we are not necessarily aware of our true expectations as these are often subconscious, as a result of inadvertent conditioning. The question then arises as to how do you find out what your true expectations are?
Firstly, learn to listen to what comes out your mouth. The saying, "from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" is very true. Most of your statements about reality come from deep-rooted beliefs about reality. Secondly, learn to pay attention to the thoughts going through your mind. There is often a cycle of continuous thought becoming beliefs and beliefs in turn giving rise to thoughts. Learn to become a deliberate thinker. Thirdly, pay attention to and observe your reality. How often do you experience that which you do not want as opposed to that which you desire? Keep in mind the truth that your reality is created by what you expect, consciously or unconsciously, and not by what you want or wish for. These practices will give you a good indication of your unconscious expectations. The solution lies in becoming more aware and moving out of default mode.
The million-dollar question is how to change from negative expectations to positive expectations. The answer is by reprogramming and reconditioning your subconscious mind. As can be deducted from what has been said already, changing the way you think would be a good place to start. As with anything else, this takes practice. Like any other habit, negative thinking is a habit. A habit cannot be broken, but can only be replaced. Practise deliberate thinking. Develop the habit of examining the quality and content of your thoughts on a regular basis. One important clue to the quality of your thoughts is the emotion created by the thought. Good thoughts make you feel good. Bad thoughts make you feel bad. In addition to your thinking, start to deliberately speak positive. Your words, like your thoughts, have creative potential. Create a positive cycle with positive thought leading to positive words and positive words reinforcing positive thoughts. This practice will start creating positive beliefs, which inevitably create positive expectations. The secret to ensure success in this endeavour is patience and perseverance.
There is great empowerment in taking responsibility for your thoughts, beliefs and expectations, as you will start moving away from being a victim of life to becoming a creator of life, creating your own positive experience of reality. It is important to accept the fact that as mentioned before, every thought has creative potential, which includes your emotions, your choices, your attitude and ultimately your experience of reality. You can control your thoughts, thereby determining your beliefs and subsequent expectations. You will start living life by design instead of default as you learn to understand that what you believe is what you expect is what you receive. Start deliberately creating your destiny and enjoy the ride.