Expectation and Disappointment

I woke up this morning thinking about disappointment.

My daughter and I went to the final Knicks home game of the season last night, a loss to the Cavs. One of 53 we have endured this season.

The season had started off with expectations of better times. Melo was gone. KP was emerging as one of the best young players in the NBA.

And yet we end the season with less wins and more losses than last year. And it wasn’t because of letting Melo go.

But this post is not about the Knicks.

It is about disappointment.

Life is full of disappointment.

Many things don’t work out the way we hope or plan.

Investments don’t pan out.

People we are excited about don’t live up to our expectations.

A film we are excited to see turns out to be awful.

There are big and material disappointments that can set us back for years or longer.

And there are little ones, like the terrible Knicks, that we should be able to shake off in a good night of sleep.

I think this Knicks thing will take me a few nights to be honest.

It is often tempting to become cynical and lower our expectations to protect us from the pain of disappointment.

But I don’t think we should do that.

I think it is human to hope and expect.

And it is human to feel the pains of disappointment.

We just need to shake them off, get out of bed with a jump in our step, and move forward.

And find something new to get excited about.

And start the cycle all over again.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Did you ever watch the Sopranos?You’re sad about the Knicks the way Tony was sad about the ducks leaving his yard. It wasn’t about the loss of the ducks.This isn’t about the Knicks. You’re sad, it’s ok to acknowledge that. We’re here for you.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks Jim. I appreciate it .The Sopranos was about human psychology more than anything else a tremendous work of art that I loved

      1. Richard

        I didn’t watch the sopranos when it initially aired. Growing up in Staten Island it was a litttle to close to home, which I ran from at 17. I binged watched it a few weeks ago and the human psychology was was indeed captivating at times.

    2. LE

      For those that are not familiar with this:Tony describes a dream where a bird steals his penis — Dr. Melfi extrapolates from this to reveal that Tony projected his love for his family onto the family of ducks living in his back pool and this brings him to tears, to his consternation. She tells him that their flight from the pool sparked his panic attack through the overwhelming fear of somehow losing his own family….

  2. Chimpwithcans

    Why did the disappointment hit you so hard after enduring a whole season of losing? Taking emotion out of the expectation seems to be the hard part. That and coming to terms with sunken costs.

  3. kidmercury

    “Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness.” -The Matrix Reloaded

    1. fredwilson

      I agree

      1. James Seely

        Camus also wrote a great essay on this topic, “The Myth of Sisyphus”: https://amzn.to/2H58t2H.James Freeman, founder of Blue Bottle, references this essay frequently when talking about the disappointments and challenges in his career.

  4. William Mougayar

    Time heals everything.

    1. awaldstein

      Ahh–not an existentialist I see.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        In college, there was a required course that was awash in existentialism: I read it. I upchucked. I had the green apple quick step. But I learned that such total nonsense existed; before I wouldn’t have believed that anything could be so dumb; but there was some benefit: Now I’m immune to that disease.

    2. LE

      True and I have also noticed that the process takes less time as you get older. Which is great.

  5. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Romantic to think we can really be both happy and have high expectations. Too much disappointment that way. I think the poor kids in Brazilian favelas are the happiest because they have a big community and small expectations.Are great expectations something you really deeply believe in, or something you think you just need to say?Get more, or expect less.

  6. awaldstein

    Albert Camus wrote the book on this post Fred and his final statement is the truth of life and of the Knicks situation.”The struggle itself […] is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy”.

    1. fredwilson


    2. mplsvbhvr

      Looks like I need to brush up on my Camus… thanks for this

      1. awaldstein

        As will I.Just ordered a bunch of his work to read on the plane.Including his theatre pieces with a tangent to Artaud as well.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      That’s why I always thought that Camus was a total wuss and a loser. No way should Sisyphus be happy, or have even a happy moment. Instead he should have “maned up”, had some good ideas in engineering, etc., and gotten that rock up that hill. Get some mules, rope and pulleys, chains, build a sled, lay track, break the rock into smaller pieces, borrow a D-9, organize a team, whatever, but get the GD rock up that hill.

  7. Tom Labus

    The times that I’ve had limited expectations is when things worked well.Who knows…

    1. Girish Mehta

      I wonder if there is a difference between limited expectations and lowered expectations.Like the difference between being content and being satisfied.

      1. Tom Labus

        Maybe more relaxed and looser. It’s very hard to say.

      2. cavepainting

        Expectation of any outcome usually leads to pain and misery.If we enjoy the work and the journey, and learn to be equanimous about the results, we will be happier on the whole.Now, saying that is so much easier than living it.

  8. Michael B. Aronson

    on the other hand you could be a 76er fan… Or start watching PENN basketball!

    1. fredwilson

      I am a sixer fan. I love Ben and Joel

      1. kidmercury

        fair warning, sixers fans are (1) from philadelphia and have all the inherent annoyingness and (2) have had losing pent up for almost two decades. we will break twitter out of our own insanity if we win just a playoff round this year. apologies in advance. #TTP

        1. LE

          No way you are from Philly?

          1. kidmercury

            philly suburbs to be more precise (horsham, if you are familiar). i grew up there, first 18 years.

          2. LE

            Familiar? Well of course. Let’s say I was not far from Bryn Athyn.

      2. PhilipSugar

        I love college and PENN more than pro. But the 76ers really have started firing up the city. People were so psyched about the Eagles (I am from Dallas)Joel seems to be a genuinely nice guy. My business partner sat two rows down from him at the Super Bowl. He legitimately did not mind taking pictures with people. He got a great picture of him and his son. There could not be more opposites but Joel hams it up, gives a priceless memory. That is class..I love how he took on the nickname “The Process” What a judo move. The sportswriters derided him as Hinkey’s “Trust the Process” So he takes on the name. Genius.I think that actually Joel’s injury (never want to see that) in a strange way will help the 76ers because Ben is now able to show his skills and gain confidence going into the playoffs.

        1. LE

          Fun fact to show the role of luck. My ex wife’s uncle was business partners with Harold Katz (former 76ers owner) before he owned the sixers. Harold went on to found Nutrisystem and make enough money to buy the team. My ex wife’s uncle? He had a small furniture store and sold crap to poor people in North Philly. Or at least he did when we were married (which was a long long time ago).. One of the things they sell are used mattresses. They price them according to how stained they are. People buy used mattresses because they don’t have enough money to buy new etc. Even in that condition.Never forget at a family function her uncle telling me ‘you know what your problem is?…You know what your problem is? You think to much’.

          1. PhilipSugar

            That is truly disgusting. We were at the ecumenical society and they asked if anybody had extra beds for a family that had been displaced by a fire. My daughter piped up and said she really had been bugging me for a new bed (mail order memory foam with a frame that had drawers underneath).They said GREAT. I said I’d rather just give money. My daughter said it was only four years old and she was the only one who slept on it. She would sleep on her couch until the new one arrived, they could have today.PLEASE can we have?It is not lost on me that was a smart move by my daughter. There was peer pressure from 100 people. I went home and got it.

          2. LE

            So do you think it is disgusting to sell (as a business) or disgusting to use?First we are talking about people who don’t have a pot to piss in that buy this type of thing. Not Bill, Hillary, Fred and Joanne.Second the opportunity was created by the ‘Mattress industrial machine’ that sells new ones. Right? High prices for new complete with showrooms and salespeople. Also no way to compare all private label. By the way there was an expose article iirc on those memory foams that they all come from just a few vendors and are essentially marketing on the web with nothing to back it up.Of course I think it’s gross as well. But then again in one of my rental units it comes fully furnished with a mattress and different people rent. Sure if it was stained I’d have to replace. But honestly the health jeopardy is mainly cosmetic and appearances. Not a live organism or anything. (This is my ‘wash the suds off’ lawyer speak for the defense btw as I often do). We are buying a place down the shore for us to use. My wife is ready to keep the mattresses that are there. Not me. But then again I can afford to buy a new mattress (like BHFJ).So here is a guy with a high school education who has found a niche and provides a service in the community. Sure I make fun of it as well. And it’s disgusting. But assuming it’s legal (and he operated out of his furniture store) you have to think others do worse things (and you know they do, corporations on a large scale).

  9. Girish Mehta

    From The West Wing, episode: The Long Goodbye. I like the last sentence.”…because every generation has promise and every generation fails that promise in some respects.[…] But failed promise only truly fails when it leads to lowered expectation”.

    1. Amar

      Yes, yes, yes! Another west wing fan! non-sequitur – one of my favorite episodes is “Noel” and the pseudo father son conversation between Leo and Josh on “the guy in the ditch” .. man – breaks my heart every single time!!

      1. Girish Mehta

        The friend jumps into the ditch.The Guy says – “Are you stupid ? Now we are both down here”.The Friend says -“Yeah, but I have been down here before. And I know the way out”.

        1. Amar

          Yes! x 1000. That episode (Noel) and the Ava Maria episode .. oh man -> Aaron Sorkin soared on eagle’s wings as a director 😀

    2. sigmaalgebra

      No. 10^10 times no. A failed promise is a case of FAILURE. That’s the bad stuff, the stuff we work hard to avoid. We don’t want that stuff around. Talking about just “lowered expectation” is a dirty band aid over a serious wound.To heck with that “expectation” stuff: Instead, correct what the heck was wrong and next time be SUCCESSFUL.Success really isn’t much about expectations or emotions and, instead, is nearly all about seeing the opportunities and obstacles, solid planning, and execution. We measure twice and saw once. We have both belt and suspenders. We have extra food, water, batteries, and ammo.Or, any man, ANY REAL man, and any man not a REAL man should be ashamed of himself and right away “man up”, has no trouble with expectations or emotions and, instead, ups his game, corrects what’s wrong, does good planning and execution, and then is SUCCESSFUL.”Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”.So, sure, maybe are in a foxhole, have dead buddies all around, and enemy bullets are going 6″ over your head. That just means that the bullets are missing you. But night is coming. THINK. Think about a way to sneak out in the darkness, circle around, pick up a sniper’s rifle with a good sight and silencer, find a good hiding spot, and slowly pick off the enemy, maybe get two dozen before dawn. And, for that last shot in the clip, don’t let the clip pop out with a bell sound that gives away what you are doing and where you are. Then sneak back to own lines, bring some good recon, and plan how to be successful that day.Uh, yes, thoroughly check the code, desk check, running with scaffolding, comparing output from a second, independent coding, with careful documentation about assumptions, alpha testing, trying hard to imagine what might be wrong, include good logging, monitoring, and anomaly detection, where it breaks with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, etc.

  10. Emotion fan

    Life is nothing without emotions.

  11. JLM

    .It is all perspective. You spent a lovely evening with your daughter. What is that worth to you?Since Easter I have been to be with my daughter, husband, granddaughter (3 months, My Perfect Granddaughter from My Perfect Daughter) in Savannah and My Perfect Son in Charlotte, and experienced Spring in Texas, Phoenix, Savannah, Lexington, and Charlotte.Perspective lets us count our blessings first.Perspective.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. cavepainting

      The truth is there are no highs without lows. Contrast is what makes life meaningful.We immerse ourselves in work or support our favorite teams because it is fun and enjoyable. Most times, it does not work out like we expect. But we take it on the chin, learn from it, and move on. Once in a while when we get the outcomes we seek, it is even more special because of all the times it did not.

      1. PhilipSugar

        You took the words out of my mouth. The best and worst part of being an entrepreneur are the highs and the lows. I have said before many times…..this is the biggest difference from having a corporate or just “regular” job.I love listening to “The Bug” from Dire Straits.Well it’s a strange old game – you learn it slowOne step forward and it’s back to goYou’re standing on the throttleYou’re standing on the brakesIn the groove ’til you make a mistakeSometimes you’re the windshieldSometimes you’re the bugSometimes it all comes together babySometimes you’re a fool in loveSometimes you’re the louisville sluggerSometimes you’re the ballSometimes it all comes together babySometimes you’re going lose it allYou gotta know happy – you gotta know gladBecause you’re gonna know lonelyAnd you’re gonna know badWhen you’re rippin’ and a ridin’And you’re coming on strongYou start slippin’ and slidin’And it all goes wrong becauseSometimes you’re the windshieldSometimes you’re the bughttps://www.youtube.com/wat…

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler is amazing. His guitar and voice still a pleasure to hear.Here he is in concert in Sevilla in 2015.https://www.youtube.com/wat

          1. LE

            Big fan of Knopfler!

    2. Lawrence Brass

      Grandfatherhood was and still is an unexpected gift from life to me. My life partner and I share eight grandchildren today. Four coming from her side, four from mine. Lawrence, the latest, arrived this world March 29. :-)Payoff from being both young parents I guess. It was hard sometimes.Friends my age who chose to be employees and which I have met recetly are thinking about retirement. One of them asked me if I have considered to retire yet. I said no. In my mind, from monday to friday I am working for this new generation and enjoy doing it.From my perspective, I feel lucky and I am very thankful for that.

  12. Vendita Auto

    If I’m hacked off I play the song & sing along Love the lyrics : )http://www.youtube.com/watc…

  13. Steven Kane

    There is no such thing as false hope. There is only hope.

    1. fredwilson

      Well said

  14. jason wright

    the vicarious life is disappointment.

  15. bijan

    well said and timely. thanks.

  16. karen_e

    You brought this one on yourself, Fred. At the beginning of the season you called the current Cavs team “terrible” or something to that effect. Right here, in the blogosphere! 🙂

    1. sigmaalgebra

      FANTASTIC!!! Full attention to the crucial REALITY!!! Uh, you don’t happen to have any unmarried sisters, do you???? :-)!!!

  17. DJL

    I agree with the idea of a continuous cycle. Most of the things I hope for do not happen. But the time of “anticipation” is usually longer than the hangover of something not working. So if I keep the cycle going I can wake up most mornings with the awesome feeling of anticipation and excitement about what is to come.

  18. Salt Shaker

    When you buy a product and are dissapointed, most retailers have a lenient return policy. If it’s a type of consumer product that can’t be returned, then many manufacturers will offer free coupons or discounts on a repeat purchase. The auto industry has “lemon laws” protecting your purchase (sports only has lemmings). None of that applies here. An inferior product (the Knicks) IS actually the product! At some point perpetual disappointment turns into masochism, though the beauty of sports is one seasonal sport quickly segues into another. The Mets are 8-1.

  19. curtissumpter

    I ordered a copy of this book for my niece. Then I thought it over and ordered one for me too. It’s the quickest motivational read you can get.https://www.amazon.com/gp/p

  20. Pointsandfigures

    Yesterday I was at Cubs opening day (snowed out). Then I went to a wake for my friend age 49 that died of a heart attack. It’s always nice to be able to get out of bed in the morning because the alternative is not good. At the Cubs pre-party, I got in a conversation about the American economy being a fixed pie vs expanding pie. If you assume that America is a fixed pie, you can make assumptions and they are all negative. If you assume that America is an ever expanding pie, you make assumptions from hope.It is amazing to me that the Knicks have gone since 1973 without a championship. I am old enough to remember Walt Frazier etc. I guess it’s just a lesson in bad management. The Cubs have good management now, and with a little luck they will be in the mix again this year. The Bulls had one of the best basketball players in the history of the game, great coaches, and built a short term dynasty.You have hope for the Knicks, because they made the lottery: http://www.tankathon.com

  21. iggyfanlo

    “Man in the Arena” delivered by Teddy Roosevelt: tldrIt is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

    1. Kate Delhagen

      Iggy: love and agree with this and TRs sentiment. However as with Kipling’s “If,” I’m even more hopeful when there’s a female lead. Substitute “Woman” and “She.” #equalpayday

      1. iggyfanlo

        Fair enough. It’s about time

      2. iggyfanlo

        Kipling’s IF is my favorite poem… I gave a framed copy to both my children when they were small

      3. sigmaalgebra

        Sorry, I’ll give you some really warm, wise advice: Equal pay is about the last thing you want and is a big, huge, life destroying situation, gigantic step down from what you DO want: What you DO want is a good husband, a good marriage, being mother and father, being good parents, and together building a good home and family, for life. If at some point for a while you have to take a job as a secretary, retail clerk, nurse, school teacher, CPA, etc., fine. Generally, “equality” for women is a really big, highly destructive, life ruining, weak, sick, or dead limb on the tree, step DOWN.

        1. Mike Sheppard

          Can you support this notion with something more substantive than subjective? And, presuming this is “wise advice” is incredibly egotistical.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            As in E. Fromm, The Art of Loving, one of the most important objectives for a good life is to avoid being alone.Well, if a woman is to be “equal” in earning money she will about have do to what men do. Men have zero children. So, to compete, she will about have to have zero children. This means that she will not be part of a marriage with all of husband and wife, mother and father, parent and grandparent, and, thus, much more likely be alone. Bummer. Okay, she can be in a childless marriage. So, as she ages, she’s also not a grandparent. So, she will have her husband, and, when he dies, she will very likely be very much alone. If she doesn’t want to be alone, then basically she needs to be good at motherhood in a good marriage, and such motherhood strongly conflicts with “equal”.Here I’m passing out wisdom because currently the US pop culture is all wound up saying how great it would be for women to earn the same as men. So, a lot of women have been fooled.For a woman to set aside being good as a wife and mother in a good marriage, home, and family is a really big step “down”.Part of the “evidence” is the US birth rate: The number of children born per woman is just over or a little under 2, and that means that slowly we are going extinct. In particular, that means that women who do not emphasize motherhood will have their genes removed from the gene pool. Bummer.Also, as a source of wisdom, I’ve seen enough of life, women, families, marriages, women in the world of work, etc. to see clearly the disasters of women who want to be “equal” and neglect love, home, marriage, family, and motherhood. Net, that equality stuff is a bummer.I’m not “egotistical”, and, instead, I’m correct.You can take seriously what I’m saying now or you can discover it all for yourself later. For this wisdom, I “paid full tuition”. You don’t want to do that.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Naw: Instead, “Measure twice, saw once.” Planning, good planning. “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Okay, the Knicks failed. Fine. That happens a lot in sports. But something was WRONG. So, to understand, call up a really good basketball coach, have them slowly watch the game films, and THEN explain clearly what the heck was wrong. Don’t take seriously a team without an expert coach who knows what the heck to do and gets it done.Thankfully for US national security, a LOT of just astoundingly amazing stuff really, actually, with high reliability works the first time or nearly so. Do I have to be pedantic enough to give a list? Okay: Starting about 1940, radar, in a huge range of forms. Sonar, similarly. The proximity fuse. The B-29. The atomic bomb. The hydrogen bomb. The US nuclear powered submarines. The version of GPS by the US Navy and, then, the version by the USAF. The SR-71. And there are lots more. Lesson: It really is possible to see a problem, think of a good solution, accurately evaluate the solution, plan the execution of the solution, execute the plan, and be successful.

  22. Jeremy Shatan

    I couldn’t help but think of this classic Edwyn Collins song, performed here after he recovered from two strokes: https://www.youtube.com/wat

    1. meredithcollinz

      Well, if that doesn’t give you hope and faith in the human spirit, I dunno what will. Thx for sharing.

  23. BillMcNeely

    The sooner in life that disappointment and failure happens the more opportunity you learn how to process it in a constructive manner.

    1. PhilipSugar

      This is why youth sports where there is an actual winner and a loser is so important.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        One of the best ways to learn how to “process it in a constructive manner” is to learn how to do better, hopefully good enough to win.

        1. Adam Sher

          Stan Wawrinka, a professional tennis player, admitted to thinking he was not good enough to win a grand slam. He also has “Ever tried. Ever failed. … Fail again. Fail better.” tattooed on his arm – a mantra to help overcome his self doubt. I like it! He’s won 3 grand slam singles titles past his prime playing age (mid 20’s). You can learn from failure, even with great self-doubt.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Well, apparently the tattoos didn’t hurt TOO much! Apparently for the top level of athletics emotions are a big deal: E.g., as Dad used to say, on the 18th green of the last round, need “ice water” in veins. That is, can’t just walk up to the ball and swing as just one more swing of the 500,000 or so already practiced. So, if a tattoo can help with the emotions, so be it.

  24. LE

    I will relate this disappointment that you face almost like a variation in a way of munchasen’s syndrome. How? Well you place a great deal of importance on something (in this case a sports game) in order to set yourself up to feel happier when you either a) Get over it (in a few days – I call this the ‘after the sickness bump and it is real’) [1] or b) Your team wins. And of course the pattern repeats because you are positively rewarded with the bump of ‘a’ or ‘b’. Intermittent reinforcement. If the team won all the time and everytime you would get bored, there would be no feedback of positive feelings, and you would stop watching.This is true for most things we really like. Eating, sex, movies, tv, radio, weather, skiing, boating, travel.[1] More exactly the euphoria that you feel after a major event is done and there is no bad outcome. Like after a doctor appointment where you are told that everything is fine.

  25. Ovidiu Schiopu

    When all is said and done, you got to spend the evening with your daughter…how cool is that…!!!

  26. JamesHRH

    Terrific post.Abstract thought, and in particular, abstract thought connected to abstract concepts like time and expectations are what make humans human.Hope is the concept that is the most human of these concepts.Progress is fiuelled by the cycle you’ve laid out.Nail. Hammer. Contact.

  27. JaredMermey

    The biggest disappointment re: Knicks is they seem to be destined for no man’s land of too good to get high lottery picks and not good enough do much of anything in the playoffs.Need to get lucky with the ping pong balls or hope a healthy KP is a draw for a free agent.

  28. sigmaalgebra

    ForWe just need to shake them off, get out of bed with a jump in our step, and move forward.And find something new to get excited about.And start the cycle all over again.Sorry. No. Wish it were so, but no. That attitude appears to be recent, but it’s dangerously wrong. It’s another pervasive, debilitating, destructive norm from current pop culture. I don’t know how that norm got started, but mostly it’s going to quit, the easy way if we will just wake up and pay attention a little and the hard way otherwise.This norm is full of wishful thinking and willfully blind and ignoring rather obvious reality: The norm has us just ignore obvious obstacles, opposition, competition, duplicity, manipulation, deception, etc. Just to “shake them off” is being willfully blind, brain-dead, irresponsible, self-destructive.Some of the old movies, starting, say, about 1935 when the technology started to be good enough for good story telling, are something of a gold mine of the history of US cultural norms, e.g., the ones relevant here. Why? Well, some of the writers and directors were bright people who put up on the screen in ways relatively easy to see story situations that fit, and, thus, often, revealed, US cultural norms of the time. So, we can begin to see how some of the norms have changed. Then we can ask if, really, the changes are justified or good?E.g., we can look at the original Disney Cinderella. The IMDB site gives the date as 1950. There notice the step mother: About as nasty, manipulative, etc. as can be. I’ve seen people like that. I learned the hard way, “paid full tuition” (@JLM:disqus ).Lesson: There really are people like that. If you don’t have a fairy godmother, a loving prince charming, and a totally doting royal father in law in a grand palace to bail you out, they can ruin much or all of your life. So, have to watch out for such dangers. I can assure you that a lot of such dangers are quite well hidden; some people are grand masters at acting, role playing, and manipulating deliberately to hide their hostile and selfish intentions. There is some wise, quite general, first-cut advice: “Always look for the hidden agenda.”. A special case is the now old, back at least to the 1950s, case of hidden manipulators with flocks of “convenient idiots”. The movie about Cinderella was fully correct: There really are people like the step mother and the step sisters, the cat Lucifer, etc., and it is just crucial to watch out for them, avoid them, defend against them, etc. I’ve never seen a cat as bad as Lucifer, but I’ve seen too many people like Lucifer the cat.US movie audiences in 1950 were prepared to believe that a step mother, etc. could be like that. The audiences were correct. Now US social norms want willfully to ignore such nasty truths, and that’s what’s wrong with the quote I included just above.For one more, IMDB says that the original The Wizard of Oz is from 1939. Okay, it has a Wicked Witch of the East. Apparently the writer and director were prepared to believe that from norms of the time the audiences would see some reality in that character: While the witch may have been something of an exaggeration, the norms and audiences were correct. For that witch, err on the safe side and assume that the portrayal was fully accurate.And, for my last example, of course also from 1939 was Gone with the Wind: Yup, the writer, director, norms, and audiences were correct — there really are young women like Scarlett O’Hara. Nasty woman. Home wrecker. 120 pounds of pure destruction and the rest water. A poisonous snake in human form. A dead limb on the tree.Sure, Rhett Butler, with his pride, arrogance, and self-confidence, thought he could tame, subdue, and seduce her and tried for a good chunk of his life. Okay, technically he seduced her, but that relationship was 100% hollow, and he never tamed or subdued her. His final conclusion is the one he should have started with and, thus, had him save a lot of time, money, energy, opportunity costs, etc., as we all know well, “Frankly, my Dear, I don’t give a damn.” Now the audience was warned. The movie was fully correct: That’s just what the heck to do with a Scarlett O’Hara, from the first 10 seconds of observation when she’s about 17 — don’t give a damn.For success, we need to see as clearly as we can, see the threats, dangers, manipulations, deceptions, possibilities of hidden agendas, sabotage, hostility, shaky platforms, disloyal colleagues, self-destructive people, deluded candidate associates, general incompetents, etc. In 1939 — 1950, US norms had movie audiences accepting of such dangers, but now our norms have us too often willfully blind. Bummer.

  29. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I have friends and family members who would give anything to be here right now experiencing a disappointment. I always try to remember that. It’s the experience, itself, that is the gift.

  30. Tom Hart

    Thankfully we have Steven Pinker.

  31. Greg Mayer

    I guess being a Knicks/Jets fan teaches you a lot about life.

  32. Tiger Kim

    So much thanks. What a Great post. Again, Thank you.

  33. LissIsMore

    It pains me to see the Knicks used as a lead in to a post about disappointment. But, yes, it is a real thing.