Drop Expectations!

Not too long ago, a friend showed me a super epic way to live life: without expectations! It’s likely that you’ve never even thought of this before, I know I hadn’t. But its one (seemingly) simple trick to totally change your life. It takes a whole lot of practice, but I work on it every day!

Much of our suffering every day comes from expectations, think about it! You expect your friend to text you back, they don’t, you get grumpy. You expect your kids to clean their room, they don’t, you get grumpy. You expect to get everything on your list done today, you don’t, you get grumpy. You expect your dinner to be ready when you get home, it’s not, you get grumpy. The list goes on and on.

There are two ways to live without expectation. One is with no expectation towards others. When you have absolutely no expectations for what others will do, you will be saved amazing amounts of suffering, because more often then not, people do not live up to those expectations. And really, it’s totally okay if your dinner wasn’t ready. If you come home expecting dinner to be ready, and its not, you’ll probably explode on the person who was supposed to have your dinner ready, causing unnecessary tension, anger, and sadness. Or maybe you would not say anything, but bottle up all your anger inside, waiting for another thing to go “wrong” and then explode. Now, say you came home and your dinner wasn’t ready, but you didn’t have any expectations about whether or not it would be, so you just shrug it off, and happily make your own dinner. What an awesome difference! You gain the power to make a choice in every single situation every day. You gain the power to not let others’ actions tear down your happiness!

The other way to live without expectation is towards yourself. You expect to get at least an A on a test, and you get a B. So now you’re going to spend at least the rest of the day moping around, thinking negative things about yourself and how you totally screwed up. Instead, if you take a test, have no expectations about your grade, and get a B, you might think “Hey well thats pretty good! I should definitely look over those questions I missed.” You choose to be happy, accept your B, and learn from it!

Another great thing about living without expectations is that it opens the door for more opportunities! When you have expectations for an outcome, you might attract that outcome. Say you go into a job interview expecting that you will either get the job, or not get the job. So these become the only possible outcomes, and you destroy the possibility that the interviewer might ask you to be her babysitter, or the hiring manager might love a piece of your artwork, and buy it to hang up in his office! In every possible situation, there are infinite outcomes, so by imposing expectations on the situation, you limit yourself!

This sounds all nice an simple, typed out here, but it takes a lot of work. It’s like living life the opposite of how you’re used to! If you’ve read all the way through this post, I challenge you to try it out! Maybe start with 30 minutes of absolutely no expectations, and see how it goes. It might just change your life!

If you enjoyed reading this article, be sure to check out my latest plans to take over Thailand.


A lesson in witholding judgement

I got to school today, and picked a nice bench on the quad to sit down and eat my lunch, since its insanely nice out. I watched a group of people, 4 guys and a girl, playing frisbee for a while. The guys were all running around, diving and jumping for the frisbee, while the girl just stood there and stretched her arm out pathetically if the frisbee came near her. They were all wearing athletic clothes, and she was in jeans. I saw her hug one of the guys, and concluded that she must have came to play only because he invited her, and that she was less cool/interesting than the guys who decided that they wanted to come out and play on this beautiful day.

I hear her say, “Guys! What if I use my left hand?” They all refused her, and I was curious, why would she want to use her left hand? The frisbee was thrown to her, and she caught it. She took off running, all the way across the quad, then turned around and threw that frisbee further than I’ve ever seen a frisbee be thrown. I was totally shocked and impressed. She wasn’t playing before, not because she was lame, but because they wouldn’t let her because she was too good!

I am grateful to have received this little lesson in withholding judgement, something I’ve been working on lately.