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.