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Low and non-specific expectations

Posted: November 18, 2014 5:41 p.m.
Updated: November 19, 2014 1:00 a.m.

I used to have high and/or specific expectations for everything. I was never cynical. As a matter of fact, I was the most optimistic person I knew.

A few years ago, a wise person told me to go into certain experiences with a cynical attitude and that way disappointment would not come so easy. At that time, I did not take it as good advice. It was horrible advice, in my opinion, because it was so negative, and I never thought that I would adopt that way of thinking.

I grew pessimistic about a year ago, after I was disappointed too many times by people and places (not Chicago) that I expected to be a certain way. Being a pessimist has more upsides than down. There are some things (few) I have been doing that are not good and sometimes cause me to miss out on things that have the potential to be worth my time. When I was a strong optimist, I would try almost everything from different foods to events. I rarely had doubts about taking part in something out of fear of it falling short of my expectations.

The bad thing about having low expectations for almost everything is just that -- it is all a disappointment until it is tried and because expectations for it are low (unless what to expect is known and it is known to be interesting), I don’t want to waste my time. In recent months, there have been times when I held myself back from doing something or going somewhere because I allowed the thought of it possibly being disappointing come into and take over my mind. The upside of that is most things I held myself back from experiencing (recently) were just what I expected from what I have seen or was told.

For the most part, having low expectations prior to experiencing certain things has worked in my favor. I am rarely disappointed like I once was; not because everything I have experienced has exceeded my expectations, but because most have met my low or non-specific expectations. Some say I expect too much, and maybe that is true. One of my problems when I was an optimist is my wild imagination. I liked to picture all of the possibilities and I would get hooked on the possibility that pleased me the most.

Every now and then I let my expectations shoot up. One thing I have learned from being disappointed so many times is that sometimes it all depends on what is expected when going into something (meeting someone, attending an event, etc.). However, keeping an open mind (or a somewhat closed mind in a low expectations case where the mind can be opened if the expectations are exceeded) as opposed to expecting something stellar and specific most of the time has saved me a little of disappointment and anger.

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