Life is full of expectations – it’s one of the things that drives us onwards and motivates us; it is also fertile ground for disappointment and disillusion. Much of our personal endeavour is prompted and sustained by the expectation of where our path will take us, and how we view the world and those around is, in part, derived from our own expectation of what we perceive. Similarly, of course, the expectations that others have of us can be equally uplifting or disappointing in their own right.
One of the key life skills we develop over time and through experience is how to manage expectations, either our own, or those that others have of us. And it can be a tricky thing to do, especially since unreasonable and failed expectations can lead to a whole world of disappointment and difficulty. We’ve all felt that sense of betrayal when we find that the holiday destination or movie that others have raved about and we’ve wanted to experience for ages turns out to be a disappointing and lacklustre flop. Most of us know what it’s like to find that our potential soul mate is not the person we thought they were, and we’ve all been in the embarrassing position of knowing that the fruits of our own efforts are flawed, not up to scratch and a bit of a let down.
Then there are the expectations that have no real basis, but we nevertheless choose to rely upon them anyway… Perhaps the time we were in the early days of a relationship and it became clear that your new significant other expected – way too soon for your liking – to be invited along as partner to a family party. Awkward; likely to cause offence if refused, but pretty unsettling if you’re not ready to take that step.
Managing expectations, as anyone who works in a customer service environment will know only too well, is rarely a simple matter.
This is true when it comes to realising the potential of SL. Many of us can be pretty critical about how the Lindens manage the virtual world, but in reality it’s an impossible task. Whilst I sure that all of us – The Lab included – want an error free and responsive, cutting edge virtual environment, achieving it means working within the available resources and prioritising where those resources are best utilised. You may think it’s a simple formula – reduce lag, improve reliability, build in new features, and while you’re at it, lower tier! Those however are incredibly high expectations when placed in the context of the wider arena of SL. Certainly the Lab could lower tier, but not without slamming the budget for feature development. Alternatively, they could go all out on eliminating lag, but at the expense of quality control, meaning less reliability and broken functionality. And what features do we expect then to focus upon? Will it be the shiny niceties, the groundbreaking tech, or the the boring backend utilities? You can’t have it all, but that’s often what we expect.
The virtual world is no different to the real world in this regard – if you want to own a Ferrari, then you’re going to have to make sacrifices to achieve your goal. Your expectations of whether you’ll ever actually get there will be tempered by reality, and maybe sometimes we need to remind ourselves that SL is in much the same position.
There is, however, an alternative – one that goes against the grain for most of us, yet is very effective nevertheless, and it’s really simple… Why not lower our expectations?
That may sound like a terrible idea, yet lower – and perhaps now realistic – expectations mean fewer disappointments and more chance of seeing our expectations exceeded. And, before you completely write that off as a bad idea, consider something rather less fancy than SL, but rather more successful: Minecraft. It’s simple, basic, makes no attempt to be cutting edge or technologically advanced, and nobody expects it to be. They simply make the best of what they have, innovate and creatively work around what could be perceived as deficiencies when compared with more cutting edge games, and are perfectly happy with the status quo.
SL is what it is. Sometimes you just have to accept what you have and realise that the car parked outside the house will never be a Ferrari… But it does everything a Ferrari does – maybe not as fast, and without the admiring and jealous glances of passers-by – but it will still get you to the shops, will do it a lot more economically, and is a damn sight easier to park!
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…
what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much
or berate yourself either
your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s
Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)