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2012/11/12 - Author: Marco Neves

Expectations – we create them, we set them, we break them, we are broken when they end up short.

Expectations are not a bad thing just by themselves. It’s what often come with the expectations that make life harder than it needs to be.

We create expectations that everything will work according with our plans and we not only start to plan exhaustively over the expected result as we also forget to look out for contingency plans.

It’s not really the expectations that bring pain into our lives. The pain only starts when we fail to realize that life is what happens while we make plans, when we fail to realize that our expectations are not the solid present over which we can build.

It’s a good thing to know what we want from life, but when we start to leave what is for what we expect, when we build our lives over what we hope will happen, that’s when we set ourselves for pain.

I’m not saying that you should not create expectations. Expectations are a normal part of live.

However, always check if the plans you are making are built over what you now have or over expectations of what can be, over wishful thinking – and if you find yourself planning over what you expect to happen, make also a different plan that do’t need that to happen – plan for a different route, even (or preferably) if it leads to the same final destination.

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Hope and Faith

2012/11/05 - Author: Marco Neves

I told you about Hope – in Pandora’s Box – and about Faith – in the Power of Faith.

Because it is usual to mix hope and faith, let me explain why they are so different and how to tell one from the other.

Hope is, mostly, wishful thinking. You are being guided by your hope whenever you place your destiny completely in someone else’s hands.

The best example is when you pick a set of numbers, fill a paper and spend a few coins to play lotto or lottery. You are hopping that the numbers you chosen are the ones that will end being selected.

It is really unlikely  that they are. In most weeks there is a winner – not all weeks – and for each winner there are millions of persons that just lost their money.

That’s just the nature of most games, for someone to win, someone else must lose. And that is specially true, whenever there is someone who always wins – casino, state, brokers, …

You are having hope whenever you do something you did several times before and expect a different result.

You keep hoping whenever you consistently repeat a risk behavior and expect never being called on it – you are doing this when you drive over the speed limit, you are doing this when you travel on public transports without paying for it, you are doing this when you have unprotected sex with people whose health conditions you are not aware of.

Luck, or coincidence if you prefer, have some impact on everyone’s live, you can’t predict the weather, you can’t predict where you’ll meet someone special, you can’t predict where you’lkl find the job of your dreams, you can’t predict… well, you can get the idea. You can’t predict the future and what it will bring your way.

But you can live with it, protect your self and what is important to you the best you can, prepare for the most likely events and walk the next meter, take the next step.

Most of the time you don’t need to guess what live is sending your way, you can see it coming. Often enough your previous actions took you where you are. You don’t just happen to get to the side of a street you want to cross. You got there somehow. And, more that the side of a street, you shouldn’t often just appear in the middle of it. Most likely you started somewhere else, got to the side of the street, and then you started crossing it. If you are at least as aware of how streets work as 90% of the people who cross streets, you looked for cars before starting crossing. And this is how it should be.

If you just cross the street and expect that it will be ‘okay”, you are not having faith – even if you think that some god will protect you. That is not faith, that is hope.

Hope is wishful thinking. Faith is wishing for the best, but reducing the risks as much as possible, and making our best to improve our odds. Faith only starts when we do our part, otherwise is just hope, just wishful thinking.

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the Box of Pandora

2012/11/04 - Author: Marco Neves

Pandora’s box story is wrong! It always has been. Here is why it is wrong, and the revised version.

The story (as usually told) says that Zeus, the Greek god, gave a box to Pandora, and told her to never open it, no matter what happened.

Told not to do something, Pandora had no option but to open it – as her curiosity would not accept any other option – and when she did, all the worst evils in the world – who were previously locked in the box – escaped and started pestering the mankind.

And, the story goes on, when Pandora looked inside the box, only one thing remained inside the box – Hope.

Hope, the story says, was inside the box because Zeus did know that Pandora would open the box, so he thought that Hope would help the  mankind better endure all the pain, all the suffering that would come from the released evils.

And this is where the story got it wrong. What is more likely to have happened is that while capturing Hope, Zeus was touched by her, and when giving the box to Pandora he hoped that she would not open it.

And that is where it all started. But not where it end.

When Pandora opened the box, mankind had still one more opportunity. Pandora could have close the box and leave Hope inside.

You ask why would Pandora leave Hope locked inside the box? Well, because Hope was never a gift. Wishing it was a gift was Hope already in action.

Hope was not just another of the many evils locked inside the box. It is the worst, the darkest, the biggest of them all.

Hope is a evil so big that it can’t move by itself. It needs someone to carry it along.

But, you ask, why is Hope that big evil you say? Isn’t Hope supposed to help ease a bit our pain in the hard moments?

You are right. Hope does indeed help us when life is difficult – it makes our pain a bit more bearable, and that is exactly what makes it so perverse.

Just by making life a bit easier to endure, it keeps us from reaching our breaking point and from being forced to find a solution to our problems, from investing the time, the energy – and sometimes the money – needed to make our life better.

Most of the time is hope that keep us in jobs that don’t make us happy, that don’t pay us enough to empower our lives, that have co-workers, bosses or clients we don’t tolerate. It’s the hope that the boss changes, that we get a special bonus or a special raise.

Most of the time it’s hope that keep us on relationships that don’t work – sometimes they don’t work anymore, but some relationships never really worked. But we don’t move on because of the hope that everything will get better, we have hope that in the end everything will be ok.

But life don’t change just because of wishful thinking. It takes your own effort to steer  your life.

Before you ask, no, Hope is not the only thing that keep us from improving our lives, from doing what needs to be done. But lets keep fear for another time.

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