The Expectation Equation

October 25, 2022 by Lazer Brody

King David teaches in Psalm 32 that the person who trusts in the Almighty is enveloped in Divine compassion. Then he says in Psalms 40 and 116 that people won’t keep their promises and they’ll only disappoint you. We learn two lessons here: First, when an individual places his or her trust in Hashem, they’re surrounded by lovingkindness. And second, when people instead put their faith in human beings, they are ultimately disappointed. That’s something to remember in every aspect of life.

The more we trust Hashem, the happier we are. The more we trust human beings, the more we suffer heartache and disappointment.

The Expectation Equation

The Torah repeatedly warns against having expectations from people. The higher our expectations, the more we’re prone to disappointment. The lower our expectations, the safer we are. In that respect, let me teach you “The Expectation Equation.”

Imagine a scale of expectations from 0 to 100, whereas “0” signifies no expectations from others, and “100” means maximum expectations from the whole world.

Now imagine a scale of realizations from 0 to 100, whereas “0” signifies no realization of the expectations from others, while “100” means that all you’re the people you trusted fulfilled 100% of your rosiest expectations.

When we subtract our expectations from the realization, a positive outcome means that the realization was better than our expectations. We are therefore happy. On the other hand, a negative outcome means that the realization was less than our expectations. We are therefore disappointed. The higher the negative gap between reality and our expectations, the worse we feel. No wonder that people who trust flesh-and-blood rather than putting their faith in the Almighty suffer so many unfulfilled expectations, broken promises and disappointment. It’s therefore not surprising that so many people are sad and depressed.

The expectation equation also explains why people with emuna are always happy. They trust in Hashem and have few, if any, expectations from fellow human beings. And if you ask Jeremiah the Prophet, he’ll tell you in 17:7 that such a person is always blessed.

The Takeaway

The expectation equation is a useful tool for self-evaluation. Try your best to be honest and objective about yourself, and score your expectations against the actual realizations that you encounter in daily dealings with other people. You’ll gain an amazing insight about yourself and you’ll have so much more reason to trust in Hashem and attain true happiness. G-d bless always!

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