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How To Be Happy By Lowering Expectations

Updated on December 19, 2016
Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 is a science buff who likes to explore fascinating questions and share her opinions with the wider world.

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? I believe you can. On the face of it, lowering the expectations you have 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. You should not aim low, but you should keep your expectations in check. In my own personal experience, I've observed that by lowering my expectations about a particular outcome, I've gotten the strength to deal with setbacks better. If on the other hand, instead of a setback, you were pleasantly surprised, the happiness you would derive from it would be that much more.

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 is 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's Easy To Do So

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) 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 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 healthier, without the added stress, and be a more well-rounded individual.

© 2010 Shil1978

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    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      andrew mogbolu 

      7 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

      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!!

    • createmyeconomy profile image

      createmyeconomy 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

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

      Thanks again for your comments - much appreciated!!

    • profile image

      Marty Magee 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

      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!!

    • charanjeet kaur profile image

      charanjeet kaur 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

      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!

    • britneydavidson profile image

      britneydavidson 

      8 years ago from united kingdom

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

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

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

    • projectmaster profile image

      projectmaster 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

      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 :)

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

      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 :)

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 

      8 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). :)

    • Madison22 profile image

      Madison 

      8 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. :-)

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

      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!!

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

      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!!

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

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

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      8 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!

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 

      8 years ago

      Hi Shil

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

      Amber:)

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shil1978 

      8 years ago

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

    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 

      8 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.

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