Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2018 Finalists

What Matters 2018 Finalists

2018 What Matters? NSW/ACT Year 7/8 Runner Up


Self Expectations. They Matter


Meriden School, Strathfield


Imagine a wave. One that engulfs you, preventing you from ever reaching the surface again. A wave of disappointment, disgust, self-doubt.

That wave, being identical to the one I felt as the ball blurred passed my raised arm, colliding with the net at the back of the goal.

That wave, gnawing at the pit of my stomach. It's claws clutching at my throat, tightening at each passing moment.

Failure. Pathetic. Useless. Weak. Only a few of the words echoing repeatedly throughout my mind.

I expected better than what I had displayed.

I expected to help my team, to succeed.

I expected higher of myself.

Self expectations. They matter.

But, why do we act this way? Why do we lower ourselves?

Throughout time, society has created this 'perfect person'.

One with the perfect skills, able to score that winning goal. One with the perfect grades, able to reach that top mark. One with the perfect appearance, able to win the likes of others and become the most popular.

One expected to take example of, but no matter how hard you try, compared to this 'perfect person', you'll always seem to be behind. To be lower.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see, wonder?

Do you see that 'perfect person' being reflected across the surface?

Or do you expect to be, want to be that perfect person? Because if this 'perfect person' can do the extraordinary, why can't you?

Yet there always seems to be something missing in you, needing to be fulfilled, maybe through popularity, appearance, skill, intelligence.

Because to be this perfect person, to be the one with the perfect skills, grades, appearance, you'll be accepted into society. Accepted by the people around you, the people you love and care for.

Or at least, that's what you would expect.

The human mind set is powerful. It can easily influence us into making ourselves think lower, or even higher of ourselves in certain circumstances. How you choose to think can easily affect how you strive to achieve towards success when facing difficult problems. Elevated expectations will lead to good things just as low expectations will lead to bad. This is because by lowering your expectations, you will find yourself not working as hard as you would compared to having higher expectations, due to you working hard to reach that higher goal.

Yet this may not always be completely true; your self expectations are like self-fulfilling prophecies, because by believing in yourself, in your abilities, you are just that one step closer to success.

So yes, I did let that goal in.

Yes, I did feel crushed.

I did expect higher, and yet, I didn't succeed.

But I did pick myself up, and I did try again.

Because you can't let yourself be exposed to the fear of failure, the fear of what others would think.

Because then, will you ever know if you truly succeeded? Or had that slight chance to?

Self expectations. They matter.

How we perceive them, matter.

How we use them to define ourselves, matter.

And how we accept them, matter.

2018 What Matters?Jenna Beck