Managing Expectations

As I sit in isolation managing a very mild case of Covid, I have been gifted with the rare opportunity to reflect on life in the world as it is.


Let’s consider these current facts:-


  • We continue to battle a pandemic which, despite best efforts to contain, still continues to plague our world causing death, hospitalisations and severe disruption to the economy;
  • On the East Coast of Australia, we‘ve been hammered by a La Nina system resulting in endless rain, flooding and untold damage to houses across the eastern seaboard;
  • The Ukraine battles for its independence and shows resilience against those who would see it falter;
  • A combination of the above events has resulted in huge demand and shortages of resources including timber, metal and fuel seeing pricing surge to never seen before levels;
  • We enter an election race with a choice of prime minister consisting of two white men over the age of 50  while elsewhere around the world the majority of western powers are controlled by men of the same demographic.


Let’s take a history lesson back to the early Twentieth Century:-


  • 1918 saw the birth of the Spanish flu a deadly pandemic which was highly contagious and forced strict quarantine measures as a way of containment;
  • A La Nina system hovered over Australia causing record rainfall in parts of Queensland and Western Australia;
  • The Ukranian war was underway with the Ukraine fighting against foreign powers for its freedom;
  • The aftermath of World War I resulted in shortages of resources through Australia;
  • The 1919 Federal election in Australia had Billy Hughes and Frank Tudor go head-to-head with Billy Hughes retaining power. Both men where white and over the age of 50;
  • Elsewhere in the world the majority of western powers were controlled by men of the same demographic.


Now this may all be a spooky coincidence or perhaps some crazy conspiracy, but it begs the question as to whether we continue to expect different outcomes from the same inputs and that the more things change in our world the more they stay the same.


As a beacon of hope (and on a lighter note), I’m reminded of the the plight of one of my all-time favourite TV characters George Costanza of Seinfeld fame.


In one episode, George reflects on the decisions that have brought him to his current predicament of being single, unemployed, and living with his parents. Upon reflection George confesses to Jerry that every decision he has ever made in his life has been wrong and that his life is the complete opposite of everything he wanted it to be. Jerry suggests to George that if every instinct he has is wrong then the opposite would have to be right.


What follows is a series of good fortune for George as he applies the opposite theory. He lands a job, a girlfriend and moves out of his parents’ house.


So, perhaps it’s time for the world to take a leaf out of George’s book and try something different. We may not know what the outcome will be, but judging from history if we don’t try something different in another 100 years’ time we may well be reflecting on the same course of events and scratching our heads as to what went wrong.


Just remember, if every instinct you have is wrong then the opposite must be right…


Image Credit: Jason Alexander as George Costanza | George Lange/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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