I Want It Now: How Our Arrogant Expectations Are Ruining Our Ability to Enjoy
I know the saying tells us that the mind is a terrible thing to waste, but sometimes the mind is just a terrible thing.
The first time I had any real concept of this was during elementary school when I had to go to the doctor for a shot. I’m not a huge fan of doctor’s visits to begin with, but the looming knowledge of the upcoming shot sent my mind racing.
How big would the needle be? How long would the shot last? How much would it hurt?
There was no situation that I could envision that didn’t end with me being in excruciating pain. In fact, if I was being honest with you, I would probably mention that my entrance into the doctor’s office included a stop in the stairwell where I may or may not have shed some tears. But the good thing about blogs is that you can withhold some information.
However, in the end, as always happens, the reality was far less dramatic. The shot pinched for a bit, and then it was over. I felt no pain, and the hours of worry and complaining just seemed embarrassingly pointless.
It’s a moment I’ve been thinking about a lot today as I read/listen to the conversations surrounding two of this weekend’s biggest spectacles: Game of Thrones and the Mayweather- Pacquiao fight.
In a revelation that should surprise nobody, the expectations of both appear to have fallen short of public expectations. As a culture, we expected something grandiose, something to blow our minds, and then had no problem expressing displeasure when we didn’t get what we wanted.
Many people have taken to Twitter, discussing their boredom with the championship fight, calling is “anticlimactic” or commenting on Mayweather running around the ring. Similarly, fans railed against the new season of Game of Thrones as being boring:
Once again, we’re like an infant child that cries and moans for a toy we don’t have, gets it, sees that it doesn’t live up to our outrageous expectations, and then throws it back, crying again.
In both cases, the reason for the displeasure is simple: our ignorance or stupidity. There’s nothing wrong with the toy; there’s something wrong with what we were expecting the toy to do. We’re disappointed because we are stupidly expecting something that will never come true.
Mayweather is a defensive fighter. He’s not running; he waits until you throw a punch, he moves, and punches you back. He’s not going to knock people out; he’s going to frustrated people. He’s been doing that for decades. Why did people expect anything else?
Game of Thrones gets praised for its expansive universe and captivating characters; yet, we also want them to kill all of them off every episode. Since the show set the gold standard for shocking deaths, the audience is let down when it doesn’t continuously happen (despite the fact that I they’d be similarly upset if the show kept repeating the same things over and over again). In the first four episodes of this season, there have been multiple beheadings, people killed in the streets by religious fanatics, soldiers slaughtered by militia fighters, a javelin thrown through a guy’s head, and many other acts of brutal violence, yet people still call it “boring” because there haven’t been enough show-altering events.
It’s almost as if we refuse to allow ourselves to be happy. We always need to find something to complain about because we think we deserve too much; we deserve things that we will never possibly get. We want what we want, and we want it now.
“If I don’t get the things I’m after, I’m going to scream.” Seems like Twitter could certainty steal that as their new mission statement.
Sure, set high standards, but be freaking reasonable too. People expect to be pleased and entertained 24/7 nowadays. There’s always another option made available to us to capture our attention, so we’re always searching for something better.
You’re at dinner with your friends and the conversation lags? Pull out your phone. You’re watching TV in the morning? May as well have your phone and laptop on the couch with you too, just in case.
We believe that we are entitled to being entertained every waking moment, so we no longer now how to set realistic expectations for things. If it’s not “the greatest,” or “the most shocking” then it’s just another thing we’ve seen before and have no need for.
It may be relegated to simple things like sporting events or TV shows now, but it won’t be long before our outsized and arrogant expectations begin to corroded other aspects of our lives until we’re all people who can never be satisfied with anything.