A story I was listening to on NPR today really caught my attention. It was about a blind man named Daniel Kish who lost both of his eyes to cancer as a young child. One would expect…yes a person’s expectation would be that this child would lead a sheltered and protected life. A life where his parents would protect him and seek to keep him from being harmed due to his “disability” But, Daniel Kish himself had differenct expectations for his life. He expected to be able to do things that normal sighted people could do.
He developed a system of his own, using vocal clicks as he moved about, in order to locate things around him. As he grew he became more adept at finding his way using this unique sonar system. He came to be able to do things that any normal sighted person could do. He rides a bycycle anywhere he wants to go. He can identifiy items exactly, using his sonar system. The main part of his philosopy is that he is not bound by other people’s expectations of what he, a blind man, should be. He essentially became a real “Batman”.
Therein lies the idea which made me think and reconsider expectations.
Our first set of the expectations are from our parents. We are guided into the precepts of their own expectations for us. Kids are expected to play sports, or to be involved in some way. We must keep our kids busy doing the things we expect a child of their age, in their environment, to do. If a child asks to do something out of the ordinary, we sometimes tell them they “can’t do” that. “Momma I want to be an artist”. You can’t do that…your too little. “Daddy, I want to be a writer”. Son, you know we’re already doing football. “Mom and Dad, I want to be the person who cures cancer”. “Mom and Dad, I want to discover how to exceed the speed of light”. Say what?
Then there are the limitations we put on ourselves about our abilities. “I want to be a writer…publish a book”. What you talking about boy…your 65 years old…an old man!”
“I want to start a new chapter in my life, I want to live to 100 years old, I want to discover new possibilities for my life that I never thought possible!” Everything is possible if we believe we can exceed our expectations. Contrary to a popular myth which says we only us 10% of our brains, we humans use practically every part of our brain. What we do not do is expect success which exceeds our wildest expectations.
We should never sell ourselves short. We certainly should not put limitations on the expectations of our family.
We should not only expect them, and ourselves to be Batman, we should expect Superman.