This blog post is short and sweet. It's a follow up post from the recent article that so many of you have commented on already titled "Frustration is the enemy."
In that article, I hinted about managing expectations. To be clear, the easiest trick to never getting frustrated is to manage your expectations. If you've ever heard that having high expectations is a good thing, you've been misled. High expectation is a recipe for disaster. I have high standards instead. I don't expect the best, I work toward it. In fact... I expect anything could happen, good or bad. Does that make sense? I certainly don't expect the worst, that would just keep my focus in the gutter. But I don't expect the best, because that keeps my head in the clouds. I expect instead, that anything could happen and put my attention to working on progress and standards.
I can't tell you how many students I've helped with this exact problem. They expect the horse to behave, then the horse doesn't behave, then the student is sad, frustrated, or angry. You never have to feel that way. Don't expect the best anymore. Don't expect your horse to behave anymore. Don't expect your body to adjust to everything all the time. Don't set yourself up for failure that way. Instead, commit to staying through any challenges to end with progress and positivity. Commit to navigating problems instead of being surprised by them. And expect that anything could come up. I'm never surprised when a horse tries rearing, bucking, biting, kicking, or barging. I expect those things. I'm also never surprised when they act and behave perfectly. I expect that too. I like to read the situation in front of me, not set up a bunch of pre-determined guesses about how it should go.
Just two days ago I asked my horse to load on the trailer. He never has trouble loading. Never! But that day, he did. Was I frustrated? No. I knew anything could happen, and it just so happened that he was distracted by a new horse racing up the fence line toward him. Did that bother me, that he was distracted? No! A horse is a horse of course, of course, and I always remember that anything could happen. I instead gave myself a moment and then asked again. Within a few minutes he made his way into the trailer with peace and calm written all over his expressions and we made our way to our favorite trail ride.
Remember this from today's post: Expect anything, good or bad. Don't have high or low expectations, have them both. Remember that what you want, is not to expect your horse to be great but to work toward greatness, moment by moment. With this simple message flowing through your mind, you will become unstoppable in your goals and relationship with your favorite four-legged friend.
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