Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wow, is it Thursday already?

The key to happiness is low expectations.

There's a lot behind this.   There's the difference between expectation and dreams or hopes. 

Defining terms.

Dream - something that you desire to achieve, and that if accomplished would be greatly fulfilling

Hope - holding open the possibility in your mind that a goal will be achieved

Expectation - the anticipation of the realization of a goal within a stated timeframe

So a dream or hope can be held onto for years, decades, even a lifetime, with the possibility that it may eventually come true.  Many people buy lottery tickets, dreaming about being rich, and living in style, and never having to work again.  Dreams are good things.  They keep us getting up in the morning when the rest of our lives suck.  You could go your entire life with a dream in your heart and never see it realized, and on your deathbed (or as you get hit by that oncoming train) not feel disappointment that you did not achieve your dream.

Expectations are another thing entirely.  An expectation is like a milestone that you feel should be achieved at a given point in time.  Think of it as an internal quota.  "I expect to you to get your homework done by the time I get home." or "I expect to see an improvement in your grades next semester."  are both examples of expectations - though for some people, those might be dreams <g>.   (Does anyone  but me still use <g> for an emoticon anymore? ) 

I'm not saying that you shouldn't have reasonable expectations.  Reasonable expectations are what keeps the world turning.  I expect my car to start in the morning.  I expect my roof to keep the rain out of my living room.  It's the unreasonable expectations that sink us.  If I were to start expecting dice to roll how I want them to, my life would be full of disappointment.  If I were to start expecting my dog to answer me when I talk to him, I'd be surely either disappointed, or committed.  (Even more so, because I don't actually have a dog.)

It's finding the right line to draw between reasonable and unreasonable expectations that determines whether or not we will actually be happy in life.  It's good to set your expectations high enough you can function in life. It's bad to set your expectations so high that you are met with disappointment at every turn.

Not a long post, but definitely a lot of words to say that I expected myself to post something yesterday, but didn't.  And that I'm slightly disappointed in myself.  Meanwhile, I'll go back to dreaming about being a writer someday.

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