Great expectations

So often in life, we have expectations. We anticipate enjoying some upcoming event (or not, as the case may be), but often our experience is different from what we expected. When we acquire things – which all of us do far more than is really necessary – we certainly have expectations and often these are entirely unreasonable …

I am certainly guilty of this. So often I have purchased an electronic device, which I anticipate will address some problem or other, only to find that it creates a whole raft of other challenges instead. Will I ever learn? No, because I am a compulsive optimist.

I recently came across some good advice. I frequently read the Simple Dollar blog, which, although the financial advice is often US-specific, I find has some interesting ideas and inspiration. The author has a mantra associated with the management of expectations when acquiring stuff or planning an activity: “Good. Inexpensive. Fast. Pick two.”

It is remarkable how often this is applicable. A car, for example may be fast and well built, but it will not be cheap; it could be cheap, but solid, but will lack performance; it might be cheap and fast, but will probably be unreliable. Food is another possibility. Cheap, fast food is rarely healthy; good food can be reasonably priced, but preparation takes time.

It is well worth thinking about this when you acquire something. Figure out which of these three factors applies to the item you are considering. Do they align with your expectations and priorities?

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2013/04/26/great-expectations/