Why do we often know what we want and still feel stuck: like as much as we try, we can’t achieve it? The answer, according to psychologist Dr. Jennice Vilhauer, is not that we can’t get what we want. It’s that we don’t expect to.
“Most people go about their daily life thinking they’re acting on what they want, when in reality, they’re acting on their expectations.”
Dr. Jennice Vilhauer explains the psychology behind getting what you want in her brilliant TED talk, and offers three practical ways to shift our thoughts and actions to get what we want. Vilhauer explains that most people don’t know: “You act based on what you expect, not what you want.” Essentially, she says you can spend your life knowing what you want and trying desperately to get it, but if your subconscious mind doesn’t expect you to actually get it, you will unconsciously self-sabotage all actions taken to get there.
“Expectation + Action = Creation of your life experiences.” This realization regarding the crucial role of expectation isn’t only important in getting what you want, it’s also an important factor in our overall happiness. The larger the gap between what we want and what we expect, the larger the likelihood for anxiety, stress, and depression.
Fortunately, there’s a way to circumvent this. Vilhauer tells us, “If you’re aware of what your expectations are in a situation, then you have the ability to use your conscious mind to override the automatic thinking and plan for how to create a different outcome.”
Check out her concise and thought-provoking TED talk for more practical tips on how to recognize self-sabotaging expectations and transform them into bold and confident action.