Expectations Will Ruin Your Life If You Let Them

Anything you do you should do for the right reasons.

Not any reason. Not someone else’s reasons.

Your… right… reasons.

Right reasons are internally generated reasons. They are considered and should be based on your goals for life. They are derived from a self-awareness of who you want to be in life.

The wrong reasons stem from the typical apparitions of guilt, shame, fear, insecurity, and expectations.

One of these wrong reasons I want to highlight today is expectations.

This is the most dangerous reason. It’s the most disastrous to build your life around. Many do just that.

The expectations of others.

What a killer of dreams. An executioner of happiness. The bottomless pit.

I’ve thought about this a lot in my life. For whatever reason, I’ve been able to set my own expectations. No one has expectations for me.

I’m lucky this way.  Some combination of nature and nurture made me like this. (The right parents definitely helped.)

But I don’t buy the idea that me being lucky means others have to be unlucky.

You can change your life. Anyone can.

You can start today to make decisions for yourself rather than trying to please others.

And you must. If you don’t you’re going to regret it.

It may take some faith that things will work out, but so what? Each day you engage in life you are taking a leap of faith. A leap that tomorrow will show up, that the government will do what it says it will do, that your investments will be there when you need them most, that the people you love will support you and be there for you.

It’s all faith.

Living is an active engagement in faith.

So why not have faith that you can shape your life in a way that manifests what you want and believe?

Why is it so hard for so many to grasp this? Why is it so hard to see the possibilities for abundance in your life?

An interesting paradox is this: we all know our lives can get worse—most of the time we are afraid of just that—yet we struggle to see our lives getting better.

Maybe we think we don't deserve it. Maybe we are afraid of failing. Whatever the case, lack of faith is the reason we never get there.

Life can change for the worse and it can change for the better.

We only have to believe, then act, then achieve.

And believing, acting, and achieving all starts with finding your right reasons.

I think a lot about First Principles, popularized by Elon Musk as he was building SpaceX. He asked himself the question, what are the total atoms needed to take a rocket to space and how much do those atoms cost if I strip away everything else?

He figured out that the raw materials needed are less than the $100,000,000 that was common in the rocket industry at the time.

So he manufactured parts in house, forced his employees to be scrappy and creative, and disrupted the rocket industry by getting the average launch cost down to ~$10,000,000.

He did this by asking himself a foundational question about physics rather than relying on advice from industry experts, most of whom told him he was crazy for even trying.

He was able to think differently and stay committed because he had his reasons. The right reasons.

His right reasons.

This is an example of using right reasons and first Principles thinking to uncover gold.

Whether you are trying to strip away the gunk from your life or trying to disrupt an entrenched multi-billion dollar industry, one thing is for sure: you have to ignore everyone.

To figure out life for yourself, you need to go into hermit mode for a bit.

In time, you can seek out others for feedback and advice, but I wouldn’t recommend it initially. It's too dangerous at the start. You'll get too many bad ideas and out-of-context advice.

This is especially true for those closest to you. Going to them will likely get bias, condensation, jealously, or fear. This resistance will be saddled to your shoulders like a yoke. No matter how well-intentioned, people rarely give objective advice to close friends and family. They can’t see through their own dogma.

If you already have these on you back, you must let it all go.

If you don’t yet, be prepared. And as they come up, let them go.

It may hurt. You might have unpleasant conversations. You may even lose some relationships.

But you must.

Like ripping off a band-aid, you can take it off fast or slow—the end result is the same while the amount of pain is not.

If you give in and live your life for others, you will fail.

You will let yourself down and probably those you were trying to please in the first place. Then you'll reset them and yourself, a nasty combination.

Like the band-air, the end result is always the same while the amount of pain is not. So the difference lies in how long it takes you to figure this out.

You may as well rip the band off right now and get those around you to accept it.

And the good news is, many will.

This is the funny thing about life… the things of afraid often never happen and by tackling fear head-on we often unlock hidden treasure we could never have fathomed.

So we live for ourselves now, and maybe we get some resistance, but we keep going. We get better at tackling fear of the unknown and thus more confident in doing so. So we do it more. And on and on we uncover our potential and build a life we NEVER could have achieved had we stayed stuck trying to please others.

An added bonus with taking life into our own hands is you end up leading the way for others to follow.

Humans like a leader. They like seeing people change, even if part of them is still a bit jealous or resentful.

There will be a select few that try and tear you down. They can be let go, or at least ignored for long enough until they have no choice to accept you.

Life is too short to get stuck here. Instead, give those around you time and space and don't force it. Over time, they'll accept your choices. If they don’t, that’s their loss, and you are better off without them.

(And yes I realize that some of these words may apply to parents or close loved ones. There are many cultures where these things run deep. But that is all the more reason to challenge these old dogmas. Never convince yourself you should change your life to appease other’s really bad ideas. That’s just enabling. Don’t do it.)

After a while, your life will normalize and no one will bring it up anymore. It’ll be who you are. You’ll suck the flame out of the argument. You’ll just be.

So tear that bandaid off and get to work on yourself for yourself. And don't let expectations of others kill your dreams.