Expectancy Theory: Where are You Going?

My father always uttered this famous quote to me as a young child: “wherever you go, there you are”. The older I became, the smarter my dad was. Funny how that works. With that, I would like to expound on his colloquialism and unpack what role expectations play in where you are headed and how that relates to where you are.

The expectations you set for your life is where you will be.

If you expect to be a successful business man, you will achieve it. If you expect to go nowhere in life and play video games all day long, that is where you will end up. The greatest tool is the mind, yet oftentimes we spend very little time refining how we think and fail to remain consciously aware of how our thoughts shape our reality. The expectations you have directly impact where you will be and how those around you will respond. For example, Jere Brophy and Thomas Good conducted a famous study in which teacher expectations of students directly attributed to classroom performance. If the teacher expected poor performance, the students meet the expectations. Conversely, if the teacher expected superior performance, the students and the teachers took the steps necessary to ensure success. Your expectations not only shape you and your environment, but those around you.

If you think you are a victim of circumstance, you are.

Two people in the exact same environment have two very vast outcomes after calamity. What differed? One was a victim in their own mind and another expected great things to come from their hardship. Examine your mind, your thoughts, and your tendencies to strengthen your resolve and seize opportunity no matter the external circumstances presented to you.

All things are possible.

The greatest things in life ARE possible. So are the terrible things. It is important to understand that anything is possible in any circumstance. The question remains, how will you expound on the fortunate events, and use the unfortunate events to equip yourself for uncertainty in the future to manipulate your environment for success? Our culture and society often teaches us that it is vain to expect great things and to reach for the “impossible”. Yet, the human mind is vastly powerful and able to create circumstances and environments conducive to what you expect. If you expect to work like a dog and live a mediocre existence, your fate will be such.


The expectations you set forth for yourself will materialize. Whether you expect great things from yourself or mediocre things, what you will achieve is what you expect from yourself. Therefore, challenge the status quo and expect the great things that your mind can only dream of.

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