The Law of Expectation that Changed My Life


Expectations can help you grow. Unreasonable expectations will only frustrate all parties involved, however. My college organ teacher, (yes, I played the organ during college) Mr. Shanko was a crusty, old, organ virtuoso whose expectations helped me become a much better organist. What I didn’t know, however, is that the law of expectation would carry over into other areas of my life. “If I accomplished so much more than I though I could in this arena, what other areas can I outperform my own expectations?” I eventually asked myself. So how can you help those around you succeed without creating unreasonable expectations for them?

The law of expectations and how it changed my life

See what they cannot. Mr. Shanko saw a talent in me that I didn’t see. He affirmed it during our lessons together. “You’re very good. You could be great,” he used to say. I though the organ was cool because I could make sounds with my feet. I took it as an elective out of curiosity, but the experience ended up shaping the rest of my college career.

Start small but keep stretching. My first couple of organ pieces were “doable” but not extremely difficult. But within two weeks, Sam told me, “I’m thinking about giving you Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” (you know, the organ song that comes on the radio every Halloween and featured on every 1950’s creature movie). I hadn’t signed up for that but my teacher convinced me I was ready for it.

Hold them accountable. The darn thing was hard. Very hard. I was over my head and wanted to give it up several times. Mr. Shanko would not let me. He had this encourager/coach/crazy professor thing going on that worked for me. “You’re making progress!” “Are you deaf? How many times are you going to play the same wrong note?” “Bigger, I want bigger and louder!!!” The man was all over the place yelling at me from the empty auditorium where the organ was, but in the process I mastered one of the most recognizable and difficult organ pieces.

I performed the Toccata and Fugue for the music faculty during the final exams my very first semester of college. The next day I was asked to be the campus organist for the next 4 years.

In retrospect, that private organ elective was one of my most, if not the most, important college experience. It shaped my view of my talents as well as it gave me a different perspective in what I could accomplish if I worked hard enough.

How has the law of expectation work in your life?

  • Ralph

    Mrs. Lovelace helped me discover the writer within me. She encouraged as well as challenged me to become my very best.

  • Your comments hold true, for sure – especially for those who are responsible for helping others. nnUnfortunately, no one springs to mind for me personally and that can’t be right. I’m chewing on your challenge, will dig through my memory banks and see who the people were that saw in me what I could not and stretched me to what I could be.nnI’m expecting some big stories to be found in the dust of my recollection attic.nLY

  • Anonymous

    My former pastor used to push me to dream and expect big things. He would always challenge me that if I can expect something, if I can think it or ask for it, I’m already thinking too small.nnIt has had a HUGE impact in how I live my life – not settling for mediocre in any area of my life or ministry, but expecting big things.

  • In order to overcome our fears , we need to be able to change our mindset. To change our mindset, we need to be mentored by people like Mr.

  • In order to overcome our fears , we need to be able to change our mindset. To change our mindset, we need to be mentored by people like Mr. Shanko…

  • Bshantz

    Convinced that math was too complicated for me, I stopped trying in high school and just tried to forget it existed. My husband had to oversee helping our kids with their math homework. nnAfter the kids were in college, I decided to go back to university for an International Economics degree. Guess what the entry exam was? Algebra. I had to fill out a form to say that my last math class was 27 years before. nnThen the nightmare class started and I remember momentarily thinking the word “denominator” was a Greek word being tried out on us. However, after just one semester with an EXCELLENT teacher, Mrs. S.diffused the jargon and fear to allow Algebra to make sense. I got the top mark of the two entry classes.nnI haven’t turned back. Mrs. S made my life very different!nnBarbara

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