Don’t Expect Anything and You’ll get Everything

Life can be quite frustrating. Often circumstances are in contrast to how we want them to be, things don’t happen according to our plans, people don’t act in the way we desire, misery seems to be inevitably… After all by making our happiness depend on external factors, expectations can be a sure recipe for dissatisfaction. Ultimately, one’s thinking and feelings can only be controlled and trained by oneself. Thus, being emotionally hurt depends on one’s mental strength and attitude.

When feeling offended by other people’s actions, it’s only because I allow it to happen. I allow myself to become unhappy. My advising professor during my Master studies has sometimes taken the students of my lab out for a meal. Once when my Korean lab members went with him without asking me to join, I felt like someone punched me in my face. When trying to cope with the disappointment that I felt, I finally noticed that the cause of my unhappiness were my expectations. Because I got accustomed to the amenities that I sometimes received from my lab, I quickly felt that I was entitled to get these extra benefits. As a result, I got blind for my wonderful life. Focusing on all my luck, including that I receive a scholarship and study at a word-class university, allowed me to eventually overcome my grief.

Not only expectations about our surroundings can lead to dissatisfaction. Similarly, unfulfilled expectations of ourselves can make us feel miserable. Our mind carries a certain standard that we regard as success. If we achieve our goal, happiness hormones get released in our body and we feel wonderful. We can exploit this knowledge by adjusting our individual standard for success. I personally aim to feel successful as long as I stay at least calm and relaxed even when conditions are opposing to my liking.

In sum, our perception of surroundings and our own performance can greatly influence our emotional well-being. Thus, we can use our mind to our advantage to make us feel good. Having humble standards for success and lowering expectations doesn’t have to be in contradiction to achieving high goals. By communicating expectations openly and being prepared for circumstances that change, one can even be more successful. Chances to eventually get what one aspires are much higher when actively asking for things and making targets clear. At the same time, being aware of what can be controlled and what not should make it easier to accept if something fails and to quickly adjust one’s course.

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