Jan 11

How Your Expectations Are Ruining Your Life

Get straight A’s. Graduate from a top ten college. Get a job making at least $X in your exact perfect city. You probably have many expectations for your life. You did not even realize that these expectations were ruining your life and were hindering you from leading a more fulfilling life.

A life spent chasing expectation (or others’ expectation for you), is merely a life running from disappointment and failure as these negative outcomes are the hidden alternatives to our specific expectations. The thought of not achieving these goals is perceived as a failure. What is driving you, your goals or your fear of failure?

In School

I am a big proponent of education. All types of education. Even education for education’s sake is beneficial. If you did not happen to get into your top choice schools, you might view yourself as a failure. A degree is a qualifier not a determinant of future successes – meaning it may get you in the door for an interview or for grad school, but there are many factors that also contribute to your success. Your expectations for your life have gone to hell and you have never even sat in a classroom. Be happy you got into the best school you could and concentrate and doing well with that opportunity.

In Relationships

I have known a few people that refuse to deviate from their expectations of what attributes their significant other should possess. Needless to say, these people are usually single as they cannot recognize a potential significant other through these clouding expectations. Relax and get to know someone for who they are as a complete person before you immediately write them off as not meeting your pre-conceived notions.

At Work

People set career benchmarks. They want to be at a certain place by a certain age. Sometimes it’s all salary and other times they are after a title. Achieving anything less than their expected career benchmark is viewed by them as a failure. A lot of people finally be made a partner at their firm for example, and they have no one to celebrate with because they alienated everyone in their lives to get their title. Keep your career in perspective. Work hard. Look out for new opportunities and make sure you are challenged continually and compensated fairly.

In Your Investment Portfolio

There is not a money manager or retail investor out there that has who hasn’t had a bad year. You have to curb your expectations and be realistic in your forecasts. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. You cannot let your fear failure and of the riskiness of the markets keep you out of the game. Read all you can about investments. Study profiles of the professional managers. Develop a sound strategy and execute it with confidence.

You need to change the way you think about your life’s goals. Instead of waiting until you achieve one of your milestone stretch goals to take a breath, celebrate the process of working towards them. Recognize all of your efforts towards these goals as successes and let your small successes drive you. It’s the journey not the destination.

Throw all of your expectations out  the window and enjoy the surprises that life throws your way. Allow your expectations for life to be dynamic. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities that you never considered. Your life will undoubtedly not turn out as you expect it to and that is perfectly ok because that’s how life works.