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Join us on episode 333 in the 11th season of the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast. Our mission, as always, is to equip you with actionable, scientifically supported methods to hone social-emotional learning skills, boost productivity and promote overall well-being. This episode continues our 18-week self-leadership series informed by Grant Bosnick’s proven strategies. In this installment, we turn our attention to the crucial role of expectations in our lives.

Starting off the discussion in the engaging world of Grant Bosnick’s book, we dissect the meaning and importance of expectations. We then explore the crucial aspects of emotion regulation, persuasive traits, effective time management, and the vast concept of change. This episode revisits key moments from our previous chapters, ranging from the neuroscience of goals to the significance of hydration on brain performance, AHA moments, creative insights, and more.

The highlight of the episode is an in-depth exploration of the science of expectations, underpinned by Grant Bosnick and David Robson’s book, ‘The Expectation Effect.’ Here, we probe the profound influence of positive and negative expectations on our daily life, mindset, goal achievement, and even health. Inspired by teachings from luminary mentors like Bob Proctor, this illuminating exploration of expectations is designed to leave you with a fresh perspective.

Stories from an unforgettable seminar 20 years ago bring to life the immense power of expectations. Understanding the neuroscience connections, we further explore dopamine and its correlation with our level of expectations. Practical tips to apply these psychological insights in day-to-day life are provided as we take you on an intellectual journey from theory to practice.

Throughout the episode, you will discover how to better regulate your expectations to boost your happiness, productivity, and confidence. This intellectual journey will equip you with the tools to tap into the power of expectation and unlock a better version of yourself. Expect the best and join us to uncover the enormous potential within you.

Stay tuned for our next episode, ‘The Neuroscience of Emotion Regulation’, as we continue our intellectual journey.

Welcome back to SEASON 11 of The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, where we connect the science-based evidence behind social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence training for improved well-being, achievement, productivity and results—using what I saw as the missing link (since we weren’t taught this when we were growing up in school), the application of practical neuroscience. I’m Andrea Samadi, an author, and an educator with a passion for learning and launched this podcast 5 years ago with the goal of bringing ALL the leading experts together (in one place) to help us to APPLY this research in our daily lives.

On today’s episode #333 we continue with our 18-Week Self-Leadership Series based on Grant Bosnick’s “Tailored Approaches to Self-Leadership: A Bite Size Approach Using Psychology and Neuroscience” that we first dove into with our interview on EP #321[i] the end of January.  The goal was that each week, we focused on learning something new, (from Grant’s book) that builds off the prior week, to help take us to greater heights in 2024. Today we cover Chapter 8, “The Neuroscience of Expectations” and l look at what Grant Bosnick covers on this topic, as well as a deeper dive into David Robson’s book, The Expectation Effect.

We will cover:

✔  What is the meaning and importance of expectations?

✔  An unforgettable moment when Andrea first encountered the power behind our expectations.

✔  We will explore the science of expectations to boost your happiness, productivity, and confidence.

✔  3 TIPS for applying The Neuroscience of Expectation to your daily life.

✔  Ideas to trouble-shoot applying this concept, along with belief, to achieve your goals and dreams.

I did need to take a short break from writing and recording since we last covered this book, the end of March, with new responsibilities in my work world. I’ve got my footing now, and missed researching, recording, and producing these episodes. The benefits that I personally receive from gathering this information, and sharing with it you, the listener, wherever you might be tuning in around the world, helps me in many different ways, but mostly, this work keeps me thinking, and making connections, neural connections, which we all know is important for cognition and learning. I did appreciate the notes from listeners of past episodes they have found helpful, and will continue to provide my best work here. We will resume the final 5 chapters of Grant’s book, based on Self-Leadership strategies, covering the topic of expectations today, then emotion regulation, persuade and influence, time management and ending the series with change.

Just a reminder that we left off with Chapter 7 on “AHA Moments and Creative Insight.[ii]” There is great power and immense self-awareness that comes along with mapping out a plan designed specifically for YOU and I do encourage everyone to take Grant Bosnick’s Leadership Self-Assessment[iii] so you can see the areas for you that score a high, medium or low level of importance for you to focus on this year.

REVIEW Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Before we cover Chapter 8 today on Expectations, let’s review where we left off, since this is a good reminder for me, to make the connections from these prior episodes.

It’s here I’m hoping we will take the information we are learning, (from Grant Bosnick’s book) connect the dots to form knowledge and then apply this knowledge to our daily life. This is where we go from theory to practice with this podcast and it’s the application of what we are learning that contains the magic.

REFLECT Back to Chapter 2 on The Neuroscience of Goals (and Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Theory): What are we doing to gain the momentum needed to reach NEW and HEIGHTENED levels of performance this year? How are we improving our mental and physical health to gain the momentum we talked about in this chapter? Just the fact that you are here listening to this episode, and I’m writing it, is a good indication we are all building this skill. What have you noticed with the momentum you’ve built with your goals this year? Are you on track? How can you narrow your focus more?

REFLECT Back to Chapter 3 on The Neuroscience of Inspiration: How are we using people or places that inspire us, to take our results to greater heights? Think about this as it relates to our physical and mental health. What else can we all do to take more action in this area? I recently connected with someone who caught my attention over 20 years ago, when I worked with athletes at ASU. I remember sitting in front of this one athlete, and just knew he was going somewhere. We are working on the details to have him on the podcast right now, but stay tuned for a future episode on “Diving into the Mindset of a D1 College Athlete, Turned Pro” with Nigerian-American professional basketball player, Ike Diogu. Who are what is inspiring you these days?

REFLECT Back to Chapter 4 on The Neuroscience of Mindfulness: Think about where we are in our Mindfulness Journey? Mindfulness, and breathing was listed often in Chapter 4 of Grant Bosnick’s book.  How is mindfulness helping us with our physical health?

What’s interesting to me with this topic, is that the more I continue to study, and look to improve my own areas of weakness (right now I’m looking at how to optimize sleep which is currently my weakest link) and am diving deep into this topic with Dr. Matthew Walker’s most recent 6 PART podcast series with Dr. Andrew Huberman.[iv] Mindfulness is a topic that Dr. Walker lists as integral for improving sleep. I’m curious how you are implementing this skill to improve daily results.

REFLECT Back to Chapter 5 on The Neuroscience Behind Peak Performance: How are we practicing “getting into our flow?” When do we notice we are in flow the most?  Is it during physical exercise, or meditation? Are we practicing this state to gain 5x more productivity this year? This is a hard one, as getting into this flow state requires practice for me. A month and a half away from this podcast, really did take me out of my flow state here. After recording an interview, and editing, I made many mistakes, or flat out forgot what to do next on the production side. I was rusty, and not in flow. I’d been producing episodes for 5 years, without taking a break, and this break revealed that the skills I’d developed need to be practiced. Use them, or lose them type of idea. This is exactly how my daughters explain what happens to them when they take time away from their sport with an injury. I learned that when we lose this flow, the best way to get it back is to get back to work, as best as we can. One step at a time. What about you? How are you using flow in your daily life?

REFLECT BACK to Chapter 6 on The Science Behind our Physical Health:

Where we narrowed our focus from a wide and complex field, to something we can implement immediately with “The Hydrated Brain for Improving Our Cognitive Performance.” Midway through the year, I’m thinking “How am I keeping my brain hydrated?” Do I know how much water I’m drinking every day? This is something I’ve put more emphasis on recently, as we have now introduced an Infrared Sauna to our daily routine, and this requires more water to help eliminate toxins. They recommend drinking 20 ounces of water before using the sauna, since sweating can cause dehydration, and drinking at least a liter (or four 8 ounce glasses of water) afterwards. I did think it was interesting that one of the products I’ve also been wearing since our interview last year with Dmitri Leonov, who taught us about the Taopatch[v] nanotechnology that also requires an increase in water intake to eliminate toxins. Do you know about how much water you are drinking every day?

REFLECT BACK to Chapter 7 on “AHA Moments, Creative Insight and The Brain” where we looked at the book, The Eureka Factor: AHA Moments, Creative Insight and the Brain by John Kounios and Mark Beeman. They wrote this book to “explain how these Eureka experiences happen—and how to have more of them to enrich our lives and empower personal and professional success.” (The Eureka Factor).  We also went back to PART 4 of The Silva Method[vi] on “Improving Creativity and Innovation in our Schools, Sports and Modern Workplaces” where we tapped into (once again) to Dr. Andrew Huberman’s research on creativity here, thinking about how we can have more insight to solve problems in our personal and work lives. It’s definitely a balancing act, working on implementing ALL of these strategies for an improved 2024. Some of these I’ve got the hang of, and others (like sleep) are continual works of progress for me.

For Today, EPISODE #333, we are moving on to Chapter 8, covering “The Neuroscience Behind Expectations” where we will dive into a topic that I mark as high importance in my life, right up with breathing. When I took my self-assessment, the topic of expectations showed up as low priority for me to focus on this year. Not because it’s not important to me, but because I’ve already made this topic of high importance. Expectations came out for me in the RED category, with a low score of 8% along with goals and time management, that I also put high importance with on a daily basis.

If you’ve taken the self-assessment, look to see if Expectations are of a low, medium or high priority for you to focus on this year.

Before looking at Grant Bosnick’s thoughts about the topic of expectations, where he begins chapter 8 by asking us “what did you expect?” I had to do some research first, to see what is already out in the world, and there was a lot out there, on the science behind expectations.

I first looked at the definition. What does it mean when someone has expectations? Collins Dictionary defined this term to mean “your strong hopes or beliefs that something will happen or that you will get something that you want.”[vii]

When I typed “expectations” into (a free database of more than 37 million research articles) I saw over 95,000 entries for how expectations can help a person to improve their health and behavioral outcomes, and noticed topics like “unmet expectations[viii]” or even “how expectations modulate pain.”[ix]

Before going down the rabbit hole looking to understand the science behind expectations, I found a book called The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your World[x] by David Robson that I highly recommend. He covers a “journey through cutting-edge science of how our mindset shapes every facet of our lives, revealing how your brain holds the keys to unlocking a better version of you.”

It was in the first few pages of Robson’s Expectation Effect where I began to piece together past podcast episodes where we’ve talked about how “expectation hooks us up to what we want.”

I saw the word “expectation” then BOOM, I could hear my mentor, Bob Proctor talking about this exact topic, back in the late 1990s. Who knew there was a science to this! We will get there, but here’s what I remembered learning on this topic, 20 years ago. When Proctor talked about the importance of “expecting” what it is that we want, I remember highlighting it at the top of my notebook with an ORANGE highlighter, and never thought I would years later share these notes with anyone, (sorry they aren’t neater) but look what I wrote. “Expectation hooks you up to what you want, and brings it to you.” Then further down the page, wrote “you can be hooked up to what you want (you’ve read Think and Grow Rich a billion times, and even listened to our 6 PART Series Think and Grow Rich Series,[xi] and you know EXACTLY what you want) but you DON’T EXPECT to ever get it, for some reason, that only you would be aware of. If you don’t expect it, you won’t bring it to you.

I remember Proctor explaining this concept with goals, and he said it could also work with something we expect that we don’t want, like a winter cold when we say something like, “Oh, I usually get a cold right before Thanksgiving, so let’s not meet up until after this time.” Have you ever had someone tell you they were expecting to become ill? My mind goes straight back to the orange highlighter, and how I knew it was important to highlight that what we “expect” to happen, is brought right to us.

Robson writes in his book that:

Now I really did believe in these concepts I learned back in those seminar days, (because I saw first-hand how many people achieved results from this way of thinking) but I’m sure many others thought these ideas were superstitious or something. Fast forward 20 years, and now, I see this exact concept written in the 2022 book by David Robson, called The Expectation Effect, illustrating that what scientists are learning about the connections between the human brain and performance, are nothing short of amazing! Many of us have heard of these concepts, we might have even written them down, and highlighted them in orange, but now, science reveals something new about how our brain responds to the things we “expect” to happen.

David Robson shows us in his book exactly “how those beliefs, in themselves, shape your health and well-being in profound ways, and that learning to reset our expectations (about these issues) can have truly remarkable effects on our health, happiness and productivity.” (David Robson, The Expectation Effect).

So, I’m reading David Robson’s book, excited to make a scientific connection to the word I highlighted in ORANGE in those seminar days, and here I come across the author warning us about New Age self-help books, like Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, that Bob Proctor starred in, saying these concepts to be pseudoscience.

I will say that many people misunderstand The Secret and Proctor[xii] himself said “You can’t just THINK and GROW RICH, you’ve got to DO SOMETHING with those thoughts.” So with an open mind, let’s see what Grant Bosnick has to say about The Neuroscience of Expectations.

I did mention that Grant opens up chapter 8 by saying “What did you expect?” and he gives examples in the beginning of this chapter ways that expectations are created in our minds whether it’s with an expensive glass of wine we taste, that we “expect” to taste good based on its price, or even the credibility that we “expect” from doctors verses the doctor’s assistant.

What Grant Bosnich Says About The Science of Expectations:

Grants explains that “in neuroscience, dopamine is the neurochemical in our brain that makes us feel good and is associated with feelings of euphoria, bliss, motivation, concentration and reward. If we meet our expectations, then it generates a slight increase in dopamine, and a slight reward response. If we exceed our expectations, it generates a strong increase in dopamine, and a strong reward response. And if our expectations are unmet, it generates a large drop in dopamine, and a strong threat response.” (Chapter 8, Grant Bosnick, Tailored Approaches to Self-Leadership, Page 84/85).

Grant explains that when our expectations are met or exceeded, this “increases our dopamine levels, which leads to increased happiness and well-being, which helps maximize our performance by setting up the conditions of flow and insight, which leads to more productivity and increased confidence.” (Chapter 8, Grant Bosnick, Tailored Approaches to Self-Leadership, Page 84/85).

But here’s the kicker! Grant shares that “if our expectations are not met, (however) that it dramatically decreases our dopamine levels, we feel disappointment and stress, resulting in poor performance and decreased confidence.” (Chapter 8, Grant Bosnick, Tailored Approaches to Self-Leadership, Page 84/85).

Grant asks us some questions around what we expect of ourselves and others, and it’s here that I thought about how I have high expectations for myself, and the goals I’m working on, but I’ve noticed that in order to avoid disappointment, I work on not having expectations of others. Except of when I go to the doctor for something important, I except that he will look after whatever it is that I’m there for to the best of their ability. There is this one doctor that I drive over an hour to see him, because his services exceeded my expectations. His office experience was not the best, but when I get to see him, I have a high level of care, that I expect, and I’ll look past the poor experience in his offices, to get to the high level of care when I reach him.

Grant addresses this by saying that we can influence our own, and other people’s expectations by “delivering higher than expected” (Chapter 8, Grant Bosnick, Tailored Approaches to Self-Leadership, Page 87) which is exactly what happened to me with that doctor. Grant explains the importance of “setting the expectation low, then delivering high” to avoid disappointment.


To review and conclude this week’s episode #333 on Chapter 8 on “The Neuroscience of Expectations”


That when our expectations are met or exceeded, this “increases our dopamine levels, which leads to increased happiness and well-being, which helps maximize our performance by setting up the conditions of flow and insight, which leads to more productivity and increased confidence?” (Chapter 8, Grant Bosnick)

Conversely, did you know that “if our expectations are not met, that it dramatically decreases our dopamine levels, we feel disappointment and stress, resulting in poor performance and decreased confidence?” (Chapter 8, Grant Bosnick, Tailored Approaches to Self-Leadership, Page 84/85).

I go right back to Grant’s opening statement “What did you expect” and then my ORANGE highlighted notes from 20 years ago where I learned that “expectation hooks us up to what we want.”


    1. 1. KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I’M EXPECTING (of myself and others): Understanding the science, helps me to keep my expectations tied to myself, and not others, to avoid disappointment and stress.  I expect to achieve my goals, (by putting in the necessary work) keep myself in good health (physical and mental) and will not just THINK about these expectations, but will do the hard work, take the action necessary to achieve them. This way, I’m not just “thinking” of what I expect to occur, I’m actually doing something with those thoughts, like the quote from Bob Proctor from the beginning of this episode. If I’m ever feeling “disappointed” with something in my life, a good question to ask is “what did you expect?” and see if I can backtrack to my thoughts. Was I using the science to flood my brain with dopamine, (with something within my control-that I could take action towards) or not.
    1. 2. USE A POSITIVE EXPECTATION TO BUILD RESILIENCE FOR A HEALTHIER VERSION OF ME: Understanding the science behind our expectations, and especially David Robson’s work, where I learned that “people with a more positive attitude towards their later years are less likely to develop hearing loss, frailty, and illness—and even Alzheimer’s disease—than people who associate aging with senility and disability” (David Robson, The Expectation Effect) marks a strong case for expecting exceptional mental and physical health in the future. Again, it goes without saying that we can’t just “think” ourselves into good health. We need to do the work here in order to expect results to occur.
    1. 3. CONTINUE TO EXPECT GOOD THINGS (for myself and others) AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT SUPERSTITIONS LIKE CREATING MY OWN LUCKY CHARM. Knowing that “expectations and beliefs can influence—indeed are already influencing your life in many other surprising and powerful ways. (David Robson, The Expectation Effect) makes me believe in some of the rituals I’ve heard of over the years, like lucky charms. I learned from David Robson’s The Expectation Effect, that “superstitions and rituals can boost perseverance and performance across a whole range of cognitive tasks, and (that) the advantages are often considerable.” (Page 198, The Expectation Effect). Whether you are a professional athlete, singer, public speaker, or someone like me who just wants improved results in your life, there is a science to having a lucky charm, or something that brings you the promise of success, to help you to create a feeling of control during high stress. Don’t dismiss the power of a lucky rock with a goal written on it, or whatever it is that holds significance to you with your future goals, or something that has meaning to you, that you expect to occur in your future.


Some final thoughts, before closing out this episode, when we are working on our expectations, it’s highly important to be honest with whether you believe them to be possible, or not.

This is an important part of this. David Robson mentioned in his book, The Expectation Effect that:


Imagine yourself going for a new position at work, and you are talking to your close family members about where you are in the interview process. They say to you “this sounds good, it looks like you are in the lead for this new position” and you reply “I’ll let know IF I get the job.” How you speak about your expectations (or as Robson said “our responses to difficult situations” (internally in your mind), or out loud to others, is extremely important. Keeping brain science in mind, the best way to talk about your expectations is with certainty and our reply with this brain science in mind could be along the lines of “I’ll let you know WHEN I get the new position” to keep the dopamine flowing to your brain. This response will help you to “feel good (and is associated) with feelings of euphoria, bliss, motivation, concentration and reward.” (Grant Bosnick). If for some reason, you don’t believe what you are expecting, or that the leap might be too far of a jump for you, you will feel what’s called cognitive dissonance, and you’ll need to do more internal work to get yourself to the place where you can think “truth rather than appearances”[xiii] and speak what you expect out loud, (or think it internally) and feel the alignment of this expectation in your life.

Only then will we get to this place where our expectations and beliefs can influence our life in many astonishing and powerful ways, leaving us mind-blown by our own potential for personal change.

We’ll see you next episode for The Neuroscience of Emotion Regulation.


In this 18-week Series that we began in the beginning of February, (after I was inspired to cover Grant’s book after our interview the end of January) we are covering:

✔ Powerful tactics from this Grant Bosnick’s award-winning book that illustrates how change and achievement are truly achievable both from internal (‘inside out’) and external (‘outside in’) perspectives.

✔Listeners will grasp the immense power of self-leadership and its transformative effect on personal growth and success by applying the neuroscience Grant has uncovered in each chapter.

✔Explore practical strategies for habit formation and the impact of a self-assessment system.

✔Gain insights from Grant’s expert advice on maintaining a balance between strengths and weaknesses while chasing after your goals.

✔Embark on an intellectual journey that has the power to elevate personal achievement and self-awareness to uncharted levels while we map out our journey over this 18-week course.


[i]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #321 with Grant ‘Upbeat’ Bosnick

[ii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #330 “Aha Moments and Creative Insight”

[iii] Self-Assessment for Grant Bosnick’s book

[iv] 6 PART Series on Improving Sleep with Dr. Walker and Dr. Huberman

[v]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #318 with Dmitri Leonov on “Understanding Nanotechnology for Health and Wellness of the Future”

[vi]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE 264 “The Neuroscience Behind The Silva Method: Improving Creativity and Innovation in our Schools, Sports and Modern Workplaces”

[vii] Expectations Definition,get%20something%20that%20you%20want.

[viii] Unmet Expectations at Work at Age 62 and Depressive Symptioms

[ix] How Do Expectations Modulate Pain?

[x]The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your World by David Robson Feb. 15, 2022

[xi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #190 PART 1 “Making 2022 Your Best Year Ever”

[xii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #196 PART 6 of our Think and Grow Rich Book Series

[xiii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #315 and PART 2 of our REVIEW of Wallace D. Wattles The Science of Getting Rich