Hope vs Expect

There is a saying:

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

How about:

Expect the best, prepare for the rest.


The former is problematic in several ways. First of all, there is no way anyone utilizing a temporary physical organism to experience the richness of life could possibly “prepare for the worst” with the expectation of preserving physicality (which is usually how the saying is interpreted). Just imagine all the worst-case scenarios: the sun goes super-nova, thermonuclear war with all nations firing everything they have, an intense gamma-ray burst that incinerates all life, a gigantic asteroid slams into the earth… It is highly unlikely that any living being would physically survive the worst. Despite this, there is a way to “prepare” for the worst. That is cultivating fully awakened, unwavering spiritual awareness that is present in every moment. Then there is no more preparation, there is only recognition and the continuing unfolding of new configurations of reality arising in awareness with unending possibilities for new experiences and intellectual insights. This is a worthwhile pursuit for anyone to come to their own understanding of.

The second reason the former is an undesirable approach to life is the emphasis on uncertainty. Hope contains doubt. When one “hopes” for a result, there is automatically the doubt and uncertainty that it may not happen. It is much more empowering and effective to expect the desired result and act accordingly. Therefore, expect the best.

Thirdly, fear is a paralyzing force that inhibits creative expression and causes apathetic behavior. If one is fearing the worst, their life has been stunted. One may cease the pursuit of happiness because they are too afraid to experience failure or too afraid of all the imagined threats to their ego / survival. Fear can also lead to an obsession with activities that are frivolous. If one is busy preparing for the worst, a lot of time and energy may be wasted attempting to address and prevent harm from threats that never end up manifesting. Instead, it is much better to focus the majority of time and energy on the best and make adequate, reasonable preparations to be able to navigate the most relevant stumbling blocks along the way. Just imagine if you wasted years preparing for the worst and then die in a car accident or get struck by lightning. Your life would have been so much more fulfilling and the circumstances that arose from pursuing the best may have prevented an early, unexpected demise.

This is why it is better to, “Expect the best and prepare for the rest”.

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