False Expectations

Seven False expectations

A lot of people are unhappy simply because they are not getting what they expect, or what they think they deserve, or what they think is right. The problem is not what life is giving them, but what they expect from life. If you expect everything to be rosy, and then it turns out not to be, then of course you will be unhappy. The answer is to examine your expectations: are they false expectations? This

Are your expectations holding you back?

I expect life to be fair

Life isn’t fair. Never has been for anybody. Until you accept that fact, you are always going to be disappointed. You have to accept that some things just won’t turn out right. The problem with this expectation is that people who believe it are likely to sit around complaining about how unfair it is, instead of getting on and fixing it. You win some, you lose some. So when you get knocked back, just get up and start again.

I expect opportunities to fall in my lap

No they won’t. If you expect that opportunities will come looking for you, then the danger is that you sit passively waiting for something good to happen. Even if something good does come your way, why limit yourself to just those things that you get without effort? The expectation that opportunities will just appear makes you dependent on the actions of other people. Being proactive will produce a great many more opportunities, and make you much happier with what you get.

I expect everyone to like me

We can not please everyone, and the expectation that everyone should like you is bound to fail. No matter how bright, attractive and easy-going you are, there are still some people who won’t like you. That is just a fact of life. People have their reasons, and you just have to live with the fact that you can’t please all the people all the time. Respect everyone, try to see things from their point of view, behave in ways appropriate to the situation, and if someone still doesn’t like you then just accept that they have a problem, and move on.

I expect nice things to make me happy

Having the latest cell phone, trendy clothes, a flash car and a wearable computer will not change how you feel in the slightest. Nice things are nice to have, but they are the result of a happy and productive life, not the cause of it. Striving to have the same or better than everyone else is not going to stop you feeling unhappy. That expectation will always cause unhappiness, because it will always fail.

I expect people to agree with me

Everyone has their own agenda, and their own way of looking at things, and there is no particular reason why they should agree with what you want. Looked at another way, what you think is normal and reasonable is based entirely on your agenda and your way of looking at things. So it is natural that other people will not agree with you, because they come with different expectations. Instead of getting upset by other people’s refusal to see things your way, spend time trying to understand their way.

I expect other people to change

The only person you can change is you. Going into something with the expectation that you will be able to change someone else always ends in unhappiness. Usually for both of you.
People can and do change. With a bit of effort, you can change yourself. You can act differently towards the other person, you can be supportive and understanding. But if the other person just keeps on doing and saying the same things then you may have to cut them loose and move on.

I expect everything to be in place before I start

Some people will not start on a task until everything is exactly right. This is a form of procrastination. The expectation that everything has to be in place before you can start means that you will almost never be ready to start. It is much better to work out what are the minimum conditions required to be able to get going. And then start on it even if other things have to catch up later on.


Everyone has expectations, but sometimes those expectations are so unreasonable that they prevent any kind of progress at all. Examine these seven expectations and just check that you are not putting obstacles in your own path. Having a will to succeed is essential to success, but make sure success is actually possible, and not some unattainable expectation.