How To Be Happy By Lowering Expectations

Can you live a happier life by lowering the expectations you have from life? Can you moderate your expectations and live a more fulfilling, content and happier life? On the face of it, lowering your expectations from your life might seem like a defeatist/negative strategy. One could argue that by lowering your expectations, you might achieve less. I am not sure I agree with this thought process. In my own personal experience, I've observed that by lowering one's expectations about a particular outcome, one gets the strength to deal with setbacks better. If on the other hand, instead of a setback, you were to be pleasantly surprised, the happiness you derive from it is that much more. So, it seems to me that no harm can come from moderating one's expectations.

I've come across people through my life, who have been extremely positive, which in the general sense is a good thing. It would be hard to argue against a positive mindset. All the literature would tell you that being positive is a good thing and an essential trait to achieve success. I couldn't agree more, but most people with a positive mindset also tend to have high expectations. Well, nothing wrong in that too!! Provided that the outcome of their expectations are positive, all ends well, but what if things don't go to plan and instead of a success they come face to face with failure? How would a person with high expectations or sky-high expectations, who would have thought of the outcome to be a 100% favorable to him/her react? In most cases, the reaction is one of depression, varying from mild to severe depending on the event/importance of that event to the person concerned.

One could argue that in the normal course, a person is likely to suffer more disappointments than successes, and hence the stress these negative outcomes can have can only be harmful to the person.

Ground Your Expectations - It Won't Harm You One Bit!!

 

It is therefore a far better strategy to always ground your expectations. You may want a certain thing to happen in the way you envisaged and could desperately hope that it would turn out the way you anticipated, but if they don't happen to your expectations, you should always be prepared to deal with the consequences of the unfavorable outcome. If one were to train one's mind to always ground one's expectations by anticipating both success and failure in a 50:50 ratio, one could avoid being shocked or feel let down immensely by a negative outcome.

An overtly positive person (and I've met many of these persons), in my view, needs to learn to lower his/her expectations. Now, this doesn't mean that you stop being ambitious or being positive, just that you learn to anticipate failures just as you would successes. The higher your expectations, the more disappointed and heartbroken you would be if things don't work out. On the other hand, by having moderate expectations of life, you find yourself more pleasantly surprised at your successes and be more better prepared to deal with failures. I really do believe that your perception of happiness has a direct bearing on your expectations. If you can learn to manage expectations, you would find yourself a happier person and in the long term would achieve more as a direct consequence of being healtheir (without the added stress) and being a more well-rounded individual.

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24 comments

cashmere profile image

cashmere 6 years ago from India

I guess its all in what your attitude is like. If you are a positive person, no matter what the situation you will expect a positive outcome.

Personally I feel, have no expectations from any situation. Then if its good, you are happy and if its bad, you are not too disappointed.


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thanks, once again, cashmere for your comments. Exactly what I was trying to say with this hub. Thanks again for dropping by:)


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

Hi Shil

This is very similar to the way I view life. I'm not pessimistic or optimistic I'm realistic!

Amber:)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Shil - I totally agree - it just makes life so much easier and happier, doesn't it? Not to forget healthier as you mentioned!


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thanks Amber for dropping by and for your comments. You are much like me in that sense :)


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thanks Shalini for stopping by and for your comments. Yes, it does make life much happier and easier, as you say!! Its just a simple way to live life and stay happy. Each moment that you live is so very precious - no reason why you wouldn't want to live it fully and happily!!


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York

Hi Shil! I've learnt over the years that the root cause of human suffering is 'over expectation'. The more you expect the more is the yearning and even greater is the suffering if you don't get what you expect. So you are quite right about maintaining low-key expectations. I always used to believe that one should be prepared for the worst and if one gets the best, it should be considers bonus. That's something similar to what you mentioned in your hub. Thx for this wonderful hub.


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thanks Anjali for your comments. You have it right - I was talking about the exact same thing. Glad we share this approach towards life. Thanks again for dropping by!!


Madison22 profile image

Madison22 6 years ago from NYC

Hi Shil, For the most part I try to maintain a positive attitude toward most things. But, I also try not to set my expectations to high on others. Being realistic also helps. Thanks for a great hub! I really enjoyed reading it. :-)


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 6 years ago from New York

Sorry for the typo error in my earlier post. I somehow missed it. I chose to come back for this small thing, as an error like the one I mentioned (considers ..to be read as ..considered) is like a sore in my eye. Ok it sounds crazy but that's the way I am. Lol (I know you just read my last hub). :)


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Hey Anjali - I am just like you in that sense. I am pretty meticulous and don't like typos myself. It's not just limited to typos though, but a lot of other things as well :)


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thank you Madison for your comments. You have a good attitude in that sense. I'd guess you are a happier person for having that approach. Thanks again for stopping by and glad you liked this hub :)


projectmaster profile image

projectmaster 6 years ago

I think you need a good balance you need to dream and know to work hard and when you do good things will happen , but keep a good healthy balance expectation


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Quite true projectmaster. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments!!


britneydavidson profile image

britneydavidson 6 years ago from united kingdom

yeahh--it's fantastic--it is really motivational--i have read this 10 times!


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thank you Britney for stopping by this hub!

Ten times - wow - Britney, I feel wonderful that you found this hub interesting enough to read it 10 times. I am flattered.

Thanks so much for your kind words!


charanjeet kaur profile image

charanjeet kaur 6 years ago from Delhi

Shil what a timely hub, Well I guess sometimes it is necessary to read something this inspirational and motivating to have the zest for life back again. Thanks for sharing a wonderful hub and Expectations indeed reduce the thrill of life.


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thanks Charanjeet for dropping by and for your comments. I am glad you found this hub inspirational and motivating. You are welcome, I had a great time writing this hub!!


Marty Magee 6 years ago

Shil, I agree with your view. My daughter and grandchildren from the Middle East plan to visit us next month, but for only a week, hardly long enough each year. So, I had already decided to take this approach: Enjoy them while they're here. Let happen what happens. The perks will be gravy. Thanks for your good thoughts.


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Thank you MM for stopping by this hub. You have a great attitude, way to go MM :)

Thanks again for your comments - much appreciated!!


createmyeconomy profile image

createmyeconomy 6 years ago from USA, Australia

I have noticed that we get what we expect, not what we want. So, I focus on raising my expectations.


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 6 years ago Author

Hi CME, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Well, we do work towards fulfilling our expectations and so, yes, in most cases, we do get what we expect.

However, it is also important to not raise your expectations too much. It is important to have a coping mechanism in cases where your expectations aren't met.

Personally, I've always worked hard towards a goal, but once I've done my part towards achievement of that goal, I have sat back and relaxed and not focused too much on what would come out of it. After all, your job is to do your best - the outcome isn't in your hands!!


andrew mogbolu 5 years ago

I guess its all in what your attitude is like. If you are a positive person, no matter what the situation you will expect a positive outcome.

Personally I feel, have no expectations from any situation. Then if its good, you are happy and if its bad, you are not too disappointe


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 5 years ago Author

Thank you, Andrew, again for commenting. Yes, it is all in the way we look at things really. The disappointment you end up feeling at a given outcome is directly proportional to the expectations you had of it.

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