by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
life, I have always expected good things to happen. It could be a
result of my family, education, or many experiences, but I think it may
be something else. From a very early age — as far back as I can
remember — I always did well in school. For all the home work and
preparation I did for my classes, I was continually rewarded
positively. This buoyed my confidence, of course, but also, it
propelled me to continue in the same direction. Positive results
provide a template for continued similar performance.
I would read,
explore, and learn with a great deal of interest and enthusiasm. I was
what some teachers defined as “a teacher’s student” — well liked,
confident, active, involved, and informed.
I can’t remember
ever engaging in a new project or taking on a new task when I did not
have great expectations going in — great expectations not just for
getting through the project or task but getting through with
excellence. I’m an extremely competitive person; however, I was so
confident in my skills and abilities, that throughout my education, I
seldom worried about others. I didn’t have to compete, for I knew (at
the outset) I would excel.
What I have
discovered is that the worldview you adopt — having great expectations
for success — can affect every aspect of your life. It doesn’t matter
when or where it happens nor does it matter the stimulus. Suddenly
(perhaps it is an evolving reality! you expect good things to happen in
every facet of your life from health, personal and family relationships,
to friends, career, and abundant prosperity.
expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. They have the power to
alter your actions and, thus, come true. Put another way, if you don't
have great expectations, they are less likely to happen.
I knew, for
several examples of self-fulfilling prophecies, that when I first took
swimming lessons, that I would succeed and learn to swim. (I followed
with swim-team competitions, and all of the American Red Cross
lifesaving classes.) I knew that as a youngster, when I would sell pot
holders door-to-door, that I would be successful. (I sold out.) I knew
that if I wanted to befriend someone, he or she (mostly females), would
become my friend. (I had a large number of female friends.) I knew
that when I ran for student council, that I would serve on the council.
(I did for 3 years.)
failures? Of course. But, great expectations can guide your losses
just as they do your victories. That is, when I ran for president of
the student body in high school, I took the loss in stride. It was a
positive loss (never one where I considered myself a failure), and
considering the responsibilities tied to the position — which I did not
know about prior to running — winning the office would have been a
serious detriment to my studies.
When I didn’t get
tenure at the University of Massachusetts, it was a blow to my ego and
to my self-confidence, it is true. Considering the other senior faculty
members at Massachusetts who duplicated my expertise and credentials, I
knew there was no way to succeed there. In that discharge, however, I
never lost great expectations. I believed that a new position would
increase my opportunities and successes., and when I won the interview
and landed a job at Bowling Green State University, it was the
fulfillment of a dream.
teachers for parents, it was not a surprise that I would pursue teaching
as a career (after changing from pre-medicine). But, when I set my
goal to be a teacher, I wanted to influence as many students as I
could. That was the very same goal I had as I started writing college
textbooks; they were simply an extension of my teaching. What better
teaching position could I have acquired than directing a large, basic,
speech-communication course? Talk about having influence! (I taught
over 80,000 students in my career as a teacher.)
writing college textbooks, that exercise, too, resulted from great
expectations. I was first asked to write by a student-colleague of mine
at the University of Michigan, but when I said yes to her, I really had
no doubt the book, Speech/Communication (Van Nostrand, 1974) would
be a success. Van Nostrand’s list was purchased by Random House, and the
same book was re-named (by me!), Communicating Effectively and went
through several editions until McGraw-Hill purchased the Random House
list, and the book became one of their best sellers and has gone through
ten editions! (12 editions counting the first two editions of the
first book) Talk about successful great expectations!
Have there been
failures in my writing? Of course. Based on my success with the books
mentioned in the previous paragraph, I wrote two for the publishing
company, Prentice-Hall. With the exception of one called Research in
Speech Communication which I wrote with Raymond K. Tucker (senior author
because of his seniority), and Cynthia Berryman-Fink, and sold well, I
had two books, Understanding Public Communication and Understanding
Business Communication that went nowhere.
two failures, I had wonderful success with a HarperCollins textbook,
Understanding Interpersonal Communication that went through seven
editions. I was writing these textbooks, writing close to 100 academic
articles, giving speeches, and directing a basic speech-communication
course all at the same time. For me, it was a gratifying fulfillment
and, at the same time, anecdotal proof that a worldview of great
great expectations offered numerous opportunities to date and then find
a relationship partner with whom I have lived for more than 45 years.
They (great expectations) supplied a family life that has been truly
exceptional, supportive, encouraging, and positive.
If I were to
suggest a bottom line to this essay, I would end in the way I began:
“From a very early age — as far back as I can remember — I always did
well in school. For all the home work and preparation I did for my
classes, I was continually rewarded positively. This buoyed my
confidence, of course, but also, it propelled me to continue in the same
provide a template for continued similar performance.” I truly believe
that success in school, for me, is what allowed or prompted, if you
will, the production of (or adoption of the worldview) great
expectations. And it is those great expectations that have, on a
continuing basis, resulted in the great successes I have experienced.
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Jason Osborn, at web site EzineArticles,
has a brief essay, “Great Life - How to Live Your Life Full of
Happiness and Success,” that offers three suggestions: 1) Do what makes
you happy, 2) Create successful habits, and 3) Learn to enjoy life.
From the Associated Content from
Yahoo web site, in the essay, “Five Steps to Live a Happy and
Successful Life” (February 8, 2006), JS Anandrahi offers five rules.
They are the rule of 1) priority, 2) learning, 3) sincerity, 4)
discipline, and 5) change.
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Copyright September, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.