Have you ever heard that not having expectations is the quickest path to happiness? At first glance it may be hard to see truth in that statement. If you want to be happy shouldn’t you expect to be happy? Yes, you have a great point. However, this statement is not focused on a grand expectation like happiness. This is more focused on the expectations we have day to day when it comes to projects, plans, people, etc.
The reason you can be happier if you remove your expectations is because unfortunately, you can’t always predict what will happen in life or when it will happen. Therefore if you do set specific expectations towards a project, plan, person, etc. chances are high that the expectation will not be realized as predicted. This can lead to a lot of unhappiness.
For example, let’s say you set up a workout routine, plan all of your meals and get the proper rest you have in an effort to be healthy. Part of your effort may include the expectation to lose a certain amount of weight within a specific time frame. Yet, life is not that easily predictable. Sometimes you will lose what you predicted. Other times you will not. However, too many of us become unhappy when the weight doesn’t come off exactly as predicted. We begin to wonder if the effort is worth it. We begin to question why even try. We get upset because we “know” this should be working.
Yet what if for some reason unknown to us your body is just reacting different this time? What if your current plan just needs a little more time before you start seeing the results? If you feel comfortable that you are doing the right things and with patience your results will come then you should release the expectations. You must at all costs avoid being unhappy about a goal that you want to achieve. By allowing yourself to be unhappy you are actually hampering the goal from ever occurring.
As stated from the formula taught by Brooke Castillo of the Life Coach School, your feelings impact the actions that you take. This is important because you actions will determine all of the results in your life. An unhappy person who is trying to get healthy will give up on that effort well before a happy person will. An unhappy person will skip more workouts, eat more cheat meals and stay up much later than a happy person will. An unhappy person will sabotage their results well before a happy person will.
However being happy isn’t going to automatically make get the results you want. A happy person can still consistently give half effort on their exercises. A happy person can still consistently cheat on their meals. A happy person can consistently stay up all night and not get the proper rest. This doesn’t mean you should just be happy go lucky and do whatever you want. You will still need to stay focused and committed, which is much harder to do when you are unhappy.
To avoid being unhappy you need to refrain from specific expectations and instead follow the process of expecting the best, preparing for the worst and capitalizing on what comes. Following this process will lead to a positive outcome in every situation.
Expect the Best
It is important to always expect the best in every situation. This doesn’t mean that you can completely define how things will turn out. None of us have the power to accomplish that feat. Lose the specifics and tap into the positive power of your mind. Expecting the best is a positive thought that will lead to positive actions. Positive actions will then lead to positive results. With this power you have the ability to get the best out of every situation because you expect it. All you need to do is simply affirm that you expect the best each and every time.
Prepare for the Worst
Expecting the best can easily transition to preparing for the worst. Preparation is a self-protective act that shouldn’t be confused with having negative thoughts about the situation. Preparing for the worst is a discipline. It is a discipline that should be followed regardless of the situation. You should always avoid expecting to actually have to access that preparation but you be should prepared anyway. It is the smart and prudent thing to do and often it is one of the hardest things to do. That is where the discipline comes in. It takes discipline to save money in case you may need it in the event of a financial crisis. It takes discipline to exercise regularly in case you may need your strength in the event of a catastrophic accident. It takes discipline to read numerous books in case you need to access that knowledge when plan A crashes and burns causing the need for plan B.
After expecting the best and preparing for the worst something will happen in your life. There will be an outcome. This will be the outcome that you can’t fully control. Now that the outcome is here you only have one job left to do. Your job now is to capitalize on that outcome.
Capitalize on the Outcome
If the endeavor was a success capitalize on it by celebrating. No matter how big or small you should celebrate your success. Share your success with others so they can benefit from it as well. Many people call this action paying it forward. Study your success and learn how to repeat them in the future. Don’t miss the opportunity to develop new habits or improve current ones when they have been proven to be successful.
If your endeavor was a failure capitalize on it by learning from it. Determine what went wrong and how you can avoid it in the future. Don’t waste time feeling sorry that it went wrong. Instead use that energy to analyze and develop plans for the future. You should also determine what went right and how you can continue to do it in the future. The overall endeavor may have failed but there are things you did well that you need to continue doing in the future. There is always something to learn in failure and don’t miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on them.
Your goal in life is to avoid unhappiness as much as humanly possible. Because you are human you won’t be able to avoid it altogether. In reality some unhappiness is good for you. It is a necessary part of life. However, you must make sure it is necessary. Setting specific expectations on things you most likely can’t control is not necessary. The less you do that the happier you will be. So instead of setting specific expectations go much higher and use the approach of expecting the best, preparing for the worst and capitalizing on the actual outcome. This is a simple approach to that can be incorporated on any scale. It doesn’t matter if your endeavor is a plan for a weekend spring cleaning or the launch of a billion dollar device. Thank you Zig Ziglar for the great reminder. As always, I wish you the best and remind you to enjoy the journey.
Have a great week,