Unless you have one overriding goal in life, it’s better to hope, not expect.
The thing about expectation is that for most people, it does more harm than good. It is true that high expectations can motivate you to excel, but you and those around you will be generally miserable. When you meet expectations, you are merely satisfied because that was what you were ‘suppose to do.’ You’ll never get any credit, but you will be bitterly disappointed when you fall short. Without joy and surprise, life simply becomes a series of ever increasing goals – a rat race – and you will lose the ability to share in the joy of others.
Chronic unhappiness abounds in the developed world because people have chosen lives of expectations. They take for granted things that their developing world counterparts only dream about – things such as basic healthcare, sanitation, nutrition, and safety – and grumble about less essential things like customer service, driving times, and prices. The materialistic machine feeds on and perpetuates this unhappiness by constantly raising the standards. Every year there are new models, fashions, etc.
To break this cycle, consider a life of hope, not expectation. With hope comes the possibility of joy and surprise, and life will be more enjoyable for you and those around you. Sure, you’ll still be disappointed when things don’t go the way you want, but you’ll bounce back much quicker.
Most of us cannot control life’s circumstances, but we can control our attitude. Will you choose a life of chronic unhappiness or intermittent joy? The choice is yours.
One thought on “Hope not expectation”
Ah, yes, I totally agree with this. I’ve worked in many jobs at many organizations, and I wasn’t happy at any of them. I finally realized why. With expectations, you’re never happy. If you fail to meet them, you’re unhappy. If you meet them, you are merely satisfied. If you happen to exceed them, you’re momentarily happy, but then your boss concludes that you’re capable of more or that the expectations were too low to begin with! He then raises the bar, and now you’re trapped in a rat race. You just can’t win.
Surprise: it’s the key to happiness. When you lose the capacity to be surprised, you eventually lose the ability to feel joy.