Like everyone, there have been many moments in my life where I have experienced the sting of disappointment’s bite. That feeling which drags your spirit and robs you of happiness when reality has not served up the same rosy picture we imagined. Disappointment is the emotional lemon leaving our face and soul twisted.

But what if we could avoid disappointment? As we look both ways before crossing the road, can we look both ways to avoid disappointment? I believe we can.

Oxford can disagree, but disappointment is the unwanted feeling when your imagination of the future is different to what reality dishes up. And like the child who throws toys out of the cot, positive emotions are tossed to the side and the bitter taste that is disappointment is all that resides.

But what causes disappointment? Our expectations, big and small.

Sometime ago, a friend and I took a taxi from the bus station to our hotel. Having taken several taxis the prior week, I had a clear expectation of the cost. Unfortunately for me the price was close to double what I had expected. I was left disappointed and bitter. My pleasure of the current moment stripped because of my expectations – and all over a lousy couple of dollars. In contrast, my friend was gleaming with joy at the price paid, expecting to have paid more than we did. Content and without a worry in the world.

All because of our expectations of the situation one of us left in victory, the other defeated. But were we ripped off? No we weren’t and that is not the purpose of the story. It was our pre-conceived ideas, our expectations, of the future which forged our feelings of the situation.

Our expectations of ourselves, our significant others, a travel destination, business sales targets or anything in life, are the basis for how we react and feel about a situation when it eventually come to pass. Expectations are our present moment thoughts of an unknown and uncontrollable future event. Expectations are us living in the future instead of the present.

Not all of life’s disappointment are cab rides and can be simply eliminated by not expecting how much to pay. But through the simplicity of the story we can examine other areas of life where we unintentionally place ourselves within disappointment’s strike by casting our minds to the future and unnecessarily setting expectations.

You are on a diet and expected to lose two kilos, but only lost one for the month. You feel beaten and give the snowball of demotivation more fuel, despite making great progress.

You expected to make $10,000 in new sales for the month, but only made $8,000. You feel unsatisfied and like progress was not made, despite the needle moving in the right direction.

You expected…

Our lives are littered with examples where the unnecessary pressure of expectations have lead to the unwanted outcome of disappointment. But turning our minds to the opposite, to times when we had no expectations or expected something to be a lot less than it was. It is hard to deny that an overwhelming feeling of glee, happiness and enjoyment usually ensued.

By placing our expectations to the side and letting what will be, be, we open ourselves and our lives to more happiness and a simpler life. The decision as to how and when you put expectations to the side is, of course, completely up to you.

Disagree?

Good. I am not proposing that the above is the be all and end all on the subject. Truth be told, I will likely change my view with time. But strong opinions lead others to defend their own. So if you disagree with this article then I have delivered value, as it helps you solidify your own point of view, challenges your status quo and hopefully helps you see you view on the matter even more clearly than before.

Want to discuss, disagree or add to the above? Feel free to email me on [email protected]