Life is full of sadness and disappointment, sprinkled in with moments of great joy and jubilation. We all have memories of various events throughout or life that trigger certain emotions. But where do those emotions come from and why are they so prevalent in our way of life?

Everywhere in society today people are expressing themselves in unique ways and children are being taught that if it “feels good”, they should do it. This leads the entire world up to personal interpretation and allows the masses to run their desired course. Expectations are what our emotions are derived from, and our experiences constitute the majority of our expectations.

Take this past weekend at Augusta National. How many people out there dream of playing Augusta just one time in their life, let alone are privileged enough to play for a chance to win the Green Jacket? Many of us would be thoroughly satisfied walking the grounds during a practice round. Yet for others, such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and the majority of the field in this past Master’s expected something more out of their trip down Magnolia Lane this past Sunday afternoon.

Expectations are often built upon a combination of past experiences, beliefs, the influence of others, and self-imposed pressure to please yourself and others. Expectations in-and-of themselves are not inherently bad, but our view of expectations and the weight we place on them can have devastating consequences in life. When our perspective on life changes along with our self-value strictly because of expectations, those expectations, are more harmful than anything else.

Expectations can be used as motivation to maximize a person’s ability. BUT, if a person puts their self-worth and value in any expectation and they do not succeed, well then we have a real problem. If they do succeed, then their expectations will increase to a point where they are eventually unachievable, and their world will collapse under the weight of expectation.

There are various levels of success and various levels of expectations. As long as expectations are used as positive, motivating forces to spur someone onto make the most of their ability, then the expectations are helpful. However, once a person is so focused on what is expected of them and nothing else, they often lose sight of the true purpose of their efforts (doing the best they can), and this lack of foresight causes things to quickly unravel.

Like most things in life, an excessive amount of anything does more harm than good, and the same is true for expectations. We must encourage our students, children, family, and community to excel, but not at the cost of self-worth or respect.

If you can keep expectations in check, no matter if you blow a four-shot lead shooting 80 on Sunday afternoon at Augusta National, or never even have the chance to set foot on the grounds, you will maintain yourself worth and character, and in the end, that is how all of us will be remembered.