How Expectations Influence Your Happiness

Lower the bar but hope for the best

It’s hard not to create expectations, letting life unravel without craving events to turn in a direction you favor. Yet, studies show hankering for a specific outcome can spawn unhappiness.

You might imagine your happiness hinges on the way events turn out. If you get positive results, joy will flow. Negative results, of course, will engender the opposite emotions.

Research, however, suggests contentment springs from whether events match, or exceed your expectations. When you expect a great deal, but wind up with less than you hoped, your happiness plummets.

Get curious rather than expectant

How, you may ponder, do optimists operate? Surely they expect excellent outcomes? Yet, that’s not always true. They remain upbeat even when results aren’t positive.

The answer likely lies in the optimist’s low expectations and high hopes. They don’t always expect events to procure positive results.

Rather they would like to see them but are in charge of their outlook and it won’t change, despite setbacks. They are also curious to see what happens.

Develop the right attitude

When optimists say “everything will be fine” they don’t necessarily mean events will engender ideal results. They mean they choose to be all right, no matter what happens. Because they are in charge of their attitude, they stave off negative emotions and settle for what they’ve got.

Expecting less increases compassion

Donald Miller, author of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years states “when you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”

Miller’s proclamation applies to others and you. You won’t berate mistakes or poor performance if you don’t anticipate perfection. Rather, you’ll have room in your heart for compassion.

Treat yourself, and others, nonetheless, with the finest imagined qualities and potential in mind and you’ll encourage positive growth.

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” Stephen R. Covey

Aspire for greatness when you want improvement

What about times you want to see improvement though? Could expecting little, or nothing, mean endeavors prompt poor results?

In such a case, aspire for, or seek improvement. Hope for the best outcome, but don’t depend on it for happiness. You can still take positive action and stretch from your comfort zone.

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Writer, poet, storyteller. Author Page Amazon

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