The Secret to a Good Life

Danger expectations

A comedian uttered this piece of profound wisdom:

“Everyone says communication is the secret to a good relationship. It’s not true. The secret to a good relationship is low expectations.

I take this a step further: the secret to a good life is low expectations.

Let’s face it, expectations run rampant in our brains—many times in ways we don’t even notice. We may expect the sun to shine, the fish to bite, the computer to work, the kids to stop fighting, the plane to arrive on schedule, or we may expect that other people will never disappoint us.

I’m compelled to share an amusing story a client, Jerri, shared with me. We both got a good laugh out of this:

Jerri lives and breathes aggravation toward her ex. High on her complaint-list is how he fails to measure up as a father. One day she griped to a friend about one of his current mess-ups. The friend turned and said: “Look, Jerri, when it comes to dad skills, he’s a freaking buffoon. You keep expecting him to be otherwise when for 20 years he’s shown you repeatedly who he is. Clearly, you’re the one with the problem.”

Our very human tendency is to hang on to our dogged need to have things go a certain way. It sets us up for torment because it’s a futile quest.

When I find myself tripping over inflated expectations, a little voice in the back of my head goes, “Did you fail to notice (again!) that this is planet Earth!? What were you thinking? You know full well that certainty and guarantees are nowhere in the program.”

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.


Filed under Client of the Week, Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

10 responses to “The Secret to a Good Life

  1. Damn…did you have to remind me. 🙂 Where is the power button on our brains auto play. Meditation and Yoga….. ahhh

    • Yes, that works . . . but then we turn human again. How do we make that ahhh space (arrived at through meditation and yoga) last? Be careful. Your answer could save the planet. 🙂 Salee

  2. Marty

    Life is indeed good with low expectations – that way there’s a greater of chance of exceeding them. The unexpected joy is delightful!

  3. I will respectfully offer a different perspective 😉

    Just stating the words ‘low expectations’ sends a negative vibe coursing through my veins. What if, instead, we were able to expect greatness and accept the results, whatever they may be, with peace?

    Perhaps, it’s the same thing. But, the way it is portrayed in words can make a profound difference in how you go about making your choices for both the little things and the big things that arise in our daily lives.

    Just a little food for thought, thank you for sharing and best wishes for an inspired day!

    • Yes, yes, yes! … to the angle you presented. It entices me to sit and have a whole discussion with you on the subject . . . so many thoughts activated.
      First thing I would ask is for you to expand on your statement: “…the way it is portrayed in words can make a profound difference …” What would that look like … an example perhaps.

      I heartily thank you for sharing! Salee

      • In the world of sports, it is often stated how a team or competitor plays to the level of their competition. Meaning, they play either at a higher or lower level than usually capable, doing the minimum necessary to succeed.

        My thought process is that if we harness low expectations, we may subconsciously harbor an attitude that doesn’t allow us to reach our full potential. We go through life expecting nothing and then support that expectation by living in a manner that cultivates that outcome. At least, that’s the way my mind works.

        As the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” You can set high expectations and still be at peace with where you end up if you know that you have lived with integrity and authenticity while putting your best effort forward.

        Just my 2 cents, maybe pushing 3 cents 😉

  4. Dave,
    I like that—thanks for sharing!

  5. Don

    Your post makes a clear point about a common error we tend to make: focusing on changing things external to ourselves. That doesn’t work. What we can change is how we look a things.

  6. I was reading and had an Ahhhh ha. If I have expectations, I am always invited to compare the results to the outcome. The outcome is always inviting me to feel separate (let down) when I compare outcome to expectations. I find peace when I let go of expectations.

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