The crushing weight of expectations

We won’t talk about Bruno.

No. No. No.

But we will talk about Bruno’s niece, Encanto’s Luisa Madrigal.

Encanto is the story of a magical hidden town where (nearly) every family member is blessed with magical superhuman powers.

Antonio can talk to animals.

Isabela can grow flowers at will.

And Luisa (pictured below) has superhuman strength.

caption for image

Luisa lift bridges and buildings with ease.

She can launch a boulder in the air. Then catch it with one hand.

Luisa can shoulder-press multiple donkeys.

But beneath this indestructible exterior, Luisa is breaking on the inside.

In her song Under the Surface (dang, that song is catchy) she starts with her strong self-confidence:

I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous

She describes her feats of strength:

Got a rough indestructible surface Diamonds and platinum, I find ’em, I flatten ’em

And how this impact’s her self-worth:

I glow ’cause I know what my worth is

But there’s a hidden tax to this hard-edged exterior. Under the surface, Luisa is like so many of us RadReaders. She’s burnt out and she can’t separate her identity from her achievements:

I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service

The ultimate joy-killer

Luisa is feeling the slow grind of unworldly expectations.

The drip, drip, drip and the tip, tip, tip.

We’ve all felt this.

Maybe it’s the way we button-up our emotions at work, thinking that our strength comes from never showing weakness. (“I hide my nerves, and it worsens, I worry something is gonna hurt us.”)

Or how we burn the midnight oil and grind-at-all-costs, while sacrificing our mental health and our relationship with loved ones. (“Watch as she buckles and bends but never breaks.”)

Or how we trick ourselves into believing that we can do it all, and have it all. (“Give it to your sister, it doesn’t hurt
And see if she can handle every family burden,”)

But Luisa isn’t resigned to this as a permanent state of self-destruction.

She’s sees a small crack of optimism. A ray of hope:

If I could shake the crushing weight of expectations
Would that free some room up for joy?

Unreasonable expectations are the ultimate joy killer.

So let’s run a collective 5 Whys Exercise encompassing Luisa and the collective unreasonable expectations we, RadReaders, hold for ourselves.

Question 1: Why is it important to be strong?

Because I was born with these talents, so I must use them.

Question 2: Why is it important to use the talents you were born with?

Because if I don’t use my talents, they will be go to waste.

Question 3: Why is it important to not let your talents go to waste?

Because if we waste our talents, we’re not living to our potential.

Question 4: Why is it important to live to your potential?

If you don’t live to your potential, others won’t view you as worthwhile.

Question 5: Why is it important for others to view you as worthwhile?

Because then they will love you.

And no one wants to be unloved.


Could it be that Luisa’s feat’s of strengths and get-it-done-at-all-costs are rooted in the desire be loved? (That would mean that familial love is conditional).

In her case, yes. She doesn’t want to let down her dear Abuela.

But what about your own sky-high expectations? What lies beyond that Fifth Why?

The 5 Whys exercise anchors the meaning-centric view of productivity that we teach at Supercharge Your Productivity. Our students have rarely inquired in this manner, and it completely reshapes how they approach their goals, projects and getting things done. Join us for Cohort 9, enrollment closes on January 24th.

For instant Access, Enter your Details Below:

🔒 Privacy Protected by our “Zero Spam” Policy

For instant Access, Enter your Details Below:

🔒 Privacy Protected by our “Zero Spam” Policy