don’t be expecting the unexpected

The Scenario: You’re looking to the future. You want to make sound plans. You want to feel confident that you are making the right decisions based on…..expectation or anticipation?

EXPECTATION originates from assumptions based on a sequence of logic or strategy that certain outcomes will occur. Being rational – based on facts or data – the object of EXPECTATION is usually a possible or likely sequence of events.

Insight: EXPECTATIONS are an important resource because they dynamically fit into a network of future planning; you can guide your plans via EXPECTATIONS arrived at through some method of reasoning.


ANTICIPATION originates from hope that some positive outcome will occur, or worry that some negative outcome will transpire. Being emotional – based on impressions or associations – the object of ANTICIPATION is usually a single event or scenario or circumstance.

Insight: ANTICIPATION is not very reliable for planning, insofar as you must simply wait for an outcome to transpire, evaluate whether it was positive or negative, and then respond accordingly.


The Takeaway:  Since an expected outcome is a sequence of events, EXPECTATION allows you to leap-frog ahead in planning; potentially very useful. But since the sequence of events that culminate in an anticipated outcome are static and closed-ended, ANTICIPATION often proves itself an empty vessel.