Summary: Are your expectations too low or high, and you feel you don't deserve good things or are disappointed when things don't work out? You may have unreasonable expectations, but there is a way to view opportunities realistically.

Are your expectations unrealistically high? Do you find that you get disappointed when things are much worse than you were expecting? Or maybe your expectations are so low that you don’t bother with an opportunity, or feel you are unworthy. These are all problems that cause you not to pursue an opportunity, or feel bad for pursuing it because your expectations were not realistic.

Horizontal studio shot of indignant woman raises hand

When you have very low expectations, it can make you unable to see the value in an opportunity. For instance, if you want to sell some custom made items, yet have no hope of selling them since you’re expecting no one to buy it or find it interesting, you may then cut off that opportunity before it even had a chance. You may not pursue it because of your unreasonably low expectations that you’ll never make a sale, yet you haven’t even tried.

Relatedly, if your expectations are too high, you may go into the marketplace to see your custom made items, knowing everyone would love it and it’ll fly off the shelves, only to be disappointed that not a single item has been sold. This makes you doubt your work and skills, and can make you cut short future opportunities since you’ll then begin to think that your effort isn’t worth the time if no one is going to appreciate and purchase your items.

A realistic expectation to this example would be to approach with the mindset of a little bit of both low and high expectations. A realistic one would be that you enjoy making things, and know others will find it interesting, but you don’t know how many, if any, but are creating it because you find it fun and enjoyable. You put the items up for sale, and let them be, saying to yourself, “If someone buys them, great, if not, also great.” Your expectations are neutral as you realize that not everyone will find and love your products, but also realize that there will be people who do love it, who may not have found it yet. Maybe advertising and promoting your work also comes to mind on ways to increase your potential sales, but again, not expecting anything, but being hopefully optimistic.

Psychology concept

The main difference here is your mindset. Instead of creating the items solely to sell, having expectations that are either too low or too high, you instead are doing it because you enjoy it. That is what’s key. So, when you have an expectation of how something will be, take a step back from your expectation and realize the real reason you are doing the activity. Is it because you truly enjoy it, or because you are just doing it to achieve a goal? The former should always be the answer since when you truly enjoy something, then no matter what the response is, you’ll still pursue what you enjoy, and be hopefully optimistic that something will come from it. But, even if it doesn’t, you still enjoy the activity which is what’s important.

Having expectations that are out of the realm of reality is because you want something more than what the activity can give you, because you have put all your eggs in one basket, hoping that it cannot fail, and when it does, you feel disappointed and like a failure. And/or you may also have issues with self-worth and the inability to view yourself as good enough to pursue what you truly enjoy. Regardless of the reason, the problem drills down to you not pursuing what you truly desire and enjoy, nor having the confidence in your decision.

So, the best way to have realistic expectations is to not have any at all and to do things you enjoy with confidence. Be hopefully optimistic about opportunities you pursue, but don’t expect a thing in return. When you don’t expect anything, then you won’t be disappointed when things don’t go your way, and will be surprised when things go better than you thought.

Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!

Additional Info

My expectations have been all over the place. They used to be very low, thinking that no one would like anything I did, so what was the point. Then when I found success, I had high expectations and would be disappointed over time as things were not reaching my ideal goals. It became a vicious cycle where I would get upset about things I’d do, thinking what’s the point when no one likes the things I do. It was then I realized that it doesn’t matter what others think. It matters for me to do things I enjoy. Once I started doing this, I then dropped caring about others’ perception of my actions, and just did what I loved, and am truly happy, regardless of if anyone else likes it or not.


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