Good morning,

Here's a thought I stumbled upon, I thoroughly believe and love "When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have." -Stephen Hawking

To me there are lot more than one benefit to least expectation, It allows you to do far more than you ever thought you will.

I might sound a loser when it comes to counting ROI , which is often calculated right before every action, to justify the cost. But here's my thought :
  • Least expectation allows you to perform your best , as you loose the fear of failure.
  • A situation offering no returns , remains the best option, when you want to try out something new. All you count at the end are the lessons you have learnt. Any cost relevance, would remain specific to the situation , creating a win-win situation for both.
  • You get an opportunity to bring in a change in the process.

Please contradict my thoughts to help me develop them better and wiser. Here's an HBR Article on why it is important to be Kind than clever:

HBR -Article

From India, Mumbai
Hello (Cite Contribution),

My take on this is simple and perhaps obvious!

"Being kind or being right" are positions we take in response to a situation we may encounter or anticipate.

There is nothing right or wrong about a position. It is always prompted by one's personality structure, one's objectives and one's perceptions about his strengths/weaknesses in handling such situations. And one benefits or suffers depending upon the relevance of the position assumed vis a vis the situation.

To me life is a continuous process and like nature and it requires each individual to manage the inevitable reality of fluidity of existence. This a primary challenge of life. To understand the process of life and to choose a response that is relevant/appropriate to one's objectives and to one's comprehension of the situation is inevitable!

While, to take a permanent (as it were) position and attempt to live own life is each individual's right, the deeper choice to make is to objectively accept the reality of fluidity of life or not!

It is possible that "being kind" in some situations could be harmful to self or more than to self, to others! Do I have a right to jeopardize interests/objectives of others? "Larger interests" is such a tricky concept that those in power in terms of authority or popularity, could endanger and compromise lives of those who are amenable to their influences.

I suppose one must exercise such a choice STRICTLY for own self and not let the choice affect live conditions of others.



August 29, 2012


From India, Pune

Dear (Cite Contribution)
Whenever we have no expectation we will not have the deceiving feeling. Obviously as said by you, one will not have the fear of Target & Fear of Failure and can perform better.
Being Right with humane consideration will surely make one to work with kind enough.

From India, Kumbakonam
Dear (Cite Contribution),
As my wont, I searched CiteHR and found a post about expectations at <link no longer exists - removed> That clearly explains that it's expectations that lead to problems. For example, many contributors at CiteHR are doing it without any remuneration or expectation of being thanked or applauded. Some expect an instant reply and when they do not get it, get agitated and write harsh comments.
One needs to be clever while being kind, as just being kind could have an opposite effect. Kindly see for an example at Killing with kindness - begging campaign

From United Kingdom

That's the fact Sir. Many gets demotivated due to non receipt of appreciations during initial stage, but when they understood and started feeling that they are involved themselves in helping each others (some times giving and some times getting), they are becoming the motivational centre for their team/group.
From India, Kumbakonam
Being Kind or Clever?

Well both are important to live in this social, professional and smart society/world. We are social animal, so there is ultimately we require being kind in whatever relationship (Social / Professional) we have to live together and cleverness is to survive which is becoming utmost requirement today. We cannot deny this truth.

@(Cite Contribution) : A very good discussion, really appreciating and wonderful sharing “It's More Important to Be Kind than Clever“ Ma’m .. Superlike :))

And, I agree with Mr. Samvedan. One’s objectives and perceptions about his strengths/weaknesses in handling any situations are actually matters here that allow dealing with other in an appropriate manner. However, one thing I want to say here is that that expectations never create problems but over the limit/too much of expectations, which never allow one to control the situation or self. What we require in this situation is to have a balance in life with them. Life is really strange but full of experiences and as i always say myself as "a student of life" and believe so.

I believe Expectation is also important for us and we cannot live without an expectation and that is almighty truth. Objectives, perception and nature can also be change one day because this is life that uses us in his own style but what helps us in this is SEFL-CONTROL.

Every-day every-minute we expect something or anything in our life from ourselves, from others and from life in many ways, therefore, expectation is not bad but expectation that has no control bothers us alot. There is a saying “Teacher Expectations Student Achievements (TESA)” and the same rules apply for all of us in our life here.

Our Bosses expect something from us and we expect something from our juniors, and that chain relationship actually gives us a relationship/builds a team that works for achievement. And for all these we all need to live a balance life or say mixed life with being nice and cleverness.

Point No. 1 – “Least expectation allows you to perform your best, as you lose the fear of failure.”

Right and accepted however, sometime this creates many problems.

How can a Senior and Boss expect least from juniors as he/she has to get work done and until he have high expectations and show this to them (that somehow work for motivation and create passion to reach the top/ achievements) can’t get succeed. There high expectation is also important but must not lose control or balance as stated above.

Point No. 2- “A situation offering no returns, remains the best option, when you want to try out something new. All you count at the end are the lessons you have learnt. Any cost relevance, would remain specific to the situation, creating a win-win situation for both.”

What I believe is there no situation can be found that has no return anyhow anyway. No matter at what percentile and in which context but certainly get return something and here comes the point that Mr. Samvedan has pointed out above is “difference in perception and objectives”. Depends how one perceive the situation and accept or refuse with the lesson. “To win ourselves by losing” is another thing that helps us here in this kind of situation and are inter-connected to both “Being Kind and Clever” we are discussing here.

As the query says itself about ROI which is the utmost element of today’s personal and professional life. We actually cannot live without ROI (an element of Expectations) and always expect and it runs in our mind whenever we plan to perform any task or anything. Say for example, the thread/post has allow us to discuss two important element of life is also having expectations (ROI). Moreover, I believe there is no need to say what outcomes we are expecting here as we all knows.

Point No. 3- “You get an opportunity to bring in a change in the process.”

Learning (Being Nice + Cleverness) = Experience = Change

Being nice won’t get you that you require but if you put that salt of cleverness in it can taste you the balance and successful life and winning situation. By doing this we certainly can play a good role to change the system I believe.

Have you ever heard about four letters “THE POWER OF NICE” that can change our life in actually? This is a book and im sure you will certainly found many things that we are discussing here

Ronald M. Shapiro’s (Author) “THE POWER OF NICE: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness” One must to go this book and I found it amazing and it actually gives is how nice people address problems, motivate teams, and win high profile accounts with cleverness. They just do so with a positive and memorable style.

If anyone interested, can grab it by visiting Free eBooks to Download - Positive Thinking, Success, Improvement

From India, Gurgaon
Dear (Cite Contribution),
Proximity of topic to your heart is evident in your choice.
Having waded through number of personal development thoughts, I found none equal to Stephen Covey in offering solution to \'This or That\' kind of situation. Principle centric thought process will always guide the person in a right way.
Any decision based on Love and Truth can never go wrong with people. The more we use them in our transactions stronger the bonds grow.
Unless someone wants to argue for the sake of it, being clever can never win against being kind. However, in a situation that demands, \'survival of the fittest\', being clever is a quality that sees people through the difficult times.

From India, Mumbai
Dear (Cite Contribution)

I am thoroughly aghast and shocked, (albeit pleasantly), at the choice of your topics :

- expectations (in life, from activities, from one's duties)

- " better to be kind than clever"

Why I say this is, these are very profound topics, they signify the whole philosophy of Life and are meant to be discussed not as topics of debate in academia; but, with sages, spiritual persons or those who have acquired some mastery or maturity in life.

My thoughts and views, in brief :

Expectations are complex, and managing expectations gets more complex !!!

Whether the expectations aare of students, employees, family members .... it seems expectations are 'valid' and 'justified'....

Which parent would not EXPECT his children to become the best among their neighbors and relatives ??

How can a CEO function if he does not set targets and EXPECTS them to be fulfilled ??

How can a student study well, unless he EXPECTS a good result ??

Why should an employee work hard unless he EXPECTS raise and growth in career ??

But can we just IMAGINE, for the sake of imagination - a country, a culture where the following takes place :

A child fulfills his duties to his parents (and society) NOT EXPECTING anything in return, but because its his DUTY or nature... !!!

A student studies hard and tries to excel, not because he is EXPECTING a good job, but because its his duty... !!!!

Same goes for Bureaucrats, people in power, employees etc.

Everyone goes around performing their duties; fulfilling their responsibilities; not because they expect something in return; but merely to perform their DUTIES to the best of their ABILITIES.

Will such a society progress more, or perish ??

I think this is what Stephen Hawking means and is also found in the Bhavad Gita.

- " better to be kind than clever"

I am not able to read the referred article at present.

Secondly, I have to ascertain the meaning of "clever" with reference to the context.

I shall be reverting back on this later.

Thanks and warm regards.

From India, Delhi
A Natural Thought that comes to my mind- "If we don't expect,then why do we set goals"?

As in various business & in Relationships,No Expectations does result in better results.

However,in recession nobody expects to lose their JOB,which is not the truth

Businessmen all around the world if stop expecting what the market will do the next day they would go bankrupt.

If a farmer stop expecting the rain at the crop time,we wont have grains

If a mother never expects a healthy baby we wont be born

If we never expected LOVE from family we would be orphans in childhood

If GOD ever expected from us,we wont be born

We all have purpose,LORD KRISHNA in Mahabharata was the key person to expect Mahabharata,He was the one who planted the ideas.

As an employee when he is pursing his education,every student expects to get a better job with a high package.

After reading this post I have asked this question.

What matters most in life,"Being KIND or Being CLEVER"

100% people said CLEVER.You have to be clever so that people wont take undue advantage of you

However I firmly believe & I have self practiced that BEING KIND is what pays on a long run.

KINDNESS gives results 100x more than cleverness.

Because here LAW OF GIVING works what you give is what you get.

But I am not sure "WHY should you not expect?"

From India, New Delhi
Dear (Cite Contribution),

What we trip upon day to day as "dream" in laymen terms, we see "expectation" in the corporate jargon. Let me throw that "expectation" into the psychological contract.

"The expectations between the two parties, employee and employer, of what their duties and obligations are towards one another."

Guest and Conway

We dream of getting the most out of our working relationships. With zero dreams, we have zero disappointment when they fall short of coming true...but that soothing comfort comes only at a terrible price because the world becomes unexciting, our endeavor unsentimental. Is it even human nature? Is it the human heart?

I'd rather be disappointed, upset, sad, angry, frustrated, whatever it is than having nothing to look forward to.

But that's just my opinion. Thank you but I'll keep my expectations.

And about Kind vs Clever, may I rephrase it with Customer service vs Profits?

Kind (Customer Service) is more important and that's beyond all suspicion. Forgive me for lack of experience, but I've never ever heard of/seen/experienced a bankrupt company that can delight customers. If we want to be kind, and want our kindness to deliver what it purports to deliver, we have to be clever in both the kindness's design and delivery. We don't wanna express kind words in the wrong time and in the wrong places, right? That's the role for Clever.

My opinion on this is: If it's an either/or matter, it's Kind for granted. But if you're asking about a mix, I suggest some 70Kind/30Clever ratio. Again, it's all my opinion.


Aung Ko Ko

From Singapore

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