Today I listened to a friend working herself up into a total lather about a vague circle of indirect acquaintances.
She was allowing other peoples’ poor judgement and cryptic, Machiavellian behavior to impact on her own mental health.
It reminded me of one of the simplest pieces of advice I ever read:
Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed.
The truth behind this is a little more complex. But that’s the essence of this lesson.
Disappointment = Hope – Reality
You see the depth of your disappointment and anger in people is really easy to measure.
It’s the physical difference between what you expect of them and what they actually deliver.
It’s the difference between the hopes and dreams we let run round our head and the actual truth of a situation.
That’s why we get really angry with loved ones and take out our frustrations on those closest to us.
We expect them to be there for us. We expect them to read our minds and know just what to say and we expect them to give us unconditional love.
When they don’t, we get frustrated. We get angry and we lash out.
But we shouldn’t.
This Is A Beta Pedestal Mentality
It’s exactly the same unbalanced and unhealthy mentality that makes some men put a woman on a pedestal and then get angry when she doesn’t turn out to be the Virgin Mary who loves them back 10 times as hard.
You might not think it, but it’s true.
It’s also the flipside of the same coin that stops you approaching a girl in a bar, because you’ve built up a toxic thought in the back of your head and made this interaction way more important than it really is.
No Expectations = No Disappointment
By simply dialing back our expectation of literally everybody in our life, we remove the possibility of being disappointed by them.
Call it nihilism. Call it stoicism. Call it losing your attachment to the outcome.
Call it what you want.
It’s not half as bleak an outlook as you might be thinking.
Expectations Are Dressed Up Entitlement
You see, what it actually does is provide everybody in your life with the opportunity to overdeliver.
A lot of them will and suddenly you’ll see you were coming from a place of entitlement, even greed.
When you expect nothing, really expect nothing, and somebody does something nice for you, you’ll genuinely appreciate it.
I’m not talking about the fake thanks, showing your appreciation because it’s the done thing.
You’ll have genuine, authentic appreciation, because they went well beyond the shallow bar you set for them.
This is showing someone genuine gratitude every time they go out of their way for you.
Authentic Gratitude Will Improve Your Life
People will feel that. They’ll go out of their way for you again and you’ll actually improve the quality of the people in your life because you aren’t going through life with your emotional hand out.
Nobody in this world has to give you anything. Nobody owes you anything.
Don’t just acknowledge that fact.
Really absorb it.
Build Better Connections With Healthy Baseline
Your anger, disappointment and even depression will simply dissolve as there are no expectations that are dashed repeatedly against the rocks.
You’ll find you make a better connection with everybody in your world.
It will be easier to shrug off life’s users and takers, too, because you simply won’t invest your time in changing their thinking.
You will leave them behind instead.
Your confidence will skyrocket, because nothing means anything and there is nothing to lose. Not for them. Not for you.
Try it, and get ready to be surprised.