How do you evaluate outcomes with no goal and no expectation? In a world filled with smart goals, standards, and evaluations, from the earliest school years to industry, are we conditioned and conditioning for unhappiness and displeasure instead of excitement and curiosity? Those were the first questions that I had as I read the recent blog post, Living without expectations. I don’t know the answer to these questions, but as a teacher who keeps reading that schools kill creativity (and I don’t think that school’s are solely to blame), I wonder if the very structure of our society and schooling is antithetical to a life of inquiry, a life open to experiences.
I read another post some time back (I don’t remember where), of a parent taking his son out of a prestigious kindergarten because he felt that the child was being taught too much compliance and structure. He argued that school should place the greatest value on individuality and critical thinking. This connected for me to conversations with a close friend with a 5 year old about the importance of choice even for young children. I reminded her that the attributes of her child that she finds frustrating right now are the same ones that will (hopefully) let her child be independent, resilient and confident in the future. How does one parent without expectations?
Building new Understanding
I think that it is extremely rare to meet anyone living without expectations. Upon first reading the post, I thought it impossible to live without goals (!!) and expectations! As I reflect, I realize that expectations are the opposite of true curiosity. I have no idea what to do right now with this information, except to ponder it, and to consider how to live without expectations. I think it’s too dramatic for me to expect to remove all expectation from my life right now, but I intend to have more experiences without expectation.
I’m thinking, based on the comments, that living without expectation is advised by the stoics. I’m adding it to my (long list) of interests to find out what they say about living with intention.