Express Positive Expectancy
You can find examples of positive expectancy everywhere. When Elizabeth
was about fourteen months old, I got a call from Pam one day at my office.
She was excited and wanted me to come home and see Elizabeth walk. Up to
this point, she had managed to stand up and wobble, but hadn't stuck her
foot out to take the first step. I hurried home to see. When I got there,
Pam got Elizabeth to stand up and then I coaxed her to come over to the
sofa where I was sitting.
Well, if you have kids of your own, you can imagine what happened.
Elizabeth stuck her feet out, but she did more stumbling than walking. But
what did Pam and I say? "She's walking!" Not only did we see it, but
Elizabeth obviously connected the idea of walking with the action required
to bring that idea to life. And that's really the kind of childlike faith
that is part of this thing I call positive expectancy. It's knowing that
you're going to do it even if you don't know how to do it. As adults, we
would do well to watch children more often and see how they learn. They
express positive expectancy and don't get stopped because they think they
can do it.
Positive expectancy is a term I use to mean "an action- inspiring
belief." This is a step beyond merely having a positive attitude. You can
have the most positive attitude in the world and never go anywhere and
never get anything done. But if you live with an attitude of positive
expectancy, you will be functioning in an ongoing "can do" state.
Your physicians and surgeons have a highly developed sense of vision
and concentration. Many have told me they think through a procedure many
times before performing the actual surgery. Elizabeth's first surgeon was
a young man who I thought was a little abrupt the night before her
surgery. Later his nurse told me he got that way before a major surgery
because he was thinking through and concentrating on the task at hand.
This is like the parent who finds out little Johnny or Susie picked up
a cold at school and can immediately visualize and imagine all the other
kids in the household and themselves getting sick! We know how to imagine
the worst. It's the way most of us were taught to be. It's an unfortunate
response to life. However, it is a learned response. We can learn positive
One last suggestion concerning positive expectancy. Don't architects
and farmers express positive expectancy in their work? The architect has
already made the connection between idea and action in his mind when he
puts the first lines on a blueprint for a building. The blueprint is the
building. The farmer knows when he plants a seed that a plant will grow in
due time. The planted seed is the harvest.