On Definitions and Expectations


The manner in which we operate our lives can be based on two functions: Definitions and expectations. This may be putting it simply, rationalizing the world in such a way as to seemingly ignore its complexities. However, to view the ways in which we function can, essentially, be boiled down to these two points.

First, we must observe definitions. Without understanding exactly why what we’re doing is what it is, we have no way of understanding its credibility or its value. By providing a labelled understanding of our words and our actions, we’re not only able to provide limitations, but we’re able to justify everything we do–the everyday of life that we continue to live. The fact that we’re able to provide compensation for our work is possible because of both definitions and expectations. The very definition of work itself provides a basis on which we can determine that we need compensation. Compensation therefore adds to the definition of work, but must also be defined in that we must be able to know the appropriate amount. These very definitions provide the checks and balances and continue to run our very social and economic ecosystem.

Additionally, these definitions in turn create expectations by which we create another layer of complexity. After we complete the definition of what we’re worth–our time, our energy, and presence–we must continue to observe the implications of what’s expected of us. This, of course, plays into the definitions of work and compensation because the expectation of work is that we’ll function well enough to deserve the agreed upon compensation.

This, perhaps, may be incredibly dry and boring. But consider what exactly the definitions of everything we do really mean. What it means to define being awake, or defining to eat or sleep. Think about the very definition of what it means to live, beyond the scope of a dictionary. To live, perhaps, can be defined as reaching a certain expectation of accomplishments, either societal or personal, so as to achieve a sense of worth. But how do we define worth? This could, again, return to our personal sense of achievement. How do we define personal achievement? It seems as if only we can define that for ourselves, whether it’s good or bad, positive or negative. Once you’ve established the very foundation–the definition–of how you want to define yourself, consider the expectations that will arise as a result of it. Consider how every move you make toward that personal sense of achievement progresses you toward another expectation to be better.

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2 thoughts on “On Definitions and Expectations

  1. I love it this Chris…”Think about the very definition of what it means to live.”

    This post is so deep and I totally feel it. So much of our life revolves around exactly what you’re discussing. Give and receive. Work and get paid. That’s why I love writing fiction. It’s not so cut and dried.

    • Thanks, Britt! It’s really interesting to explore what our expectations mean for us when we pair them with the definitions created by society and culture, but also to see how those expectations differ–and, in some cases, remain the same–when we look at them from a personal level. How does my definition of personal achievement reflect the expectations brought on by culture, but also by myself?

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