Thursday, January 25, 2018

How To Be Miserable (or Not)

I came across an interesting article the other day, stating:

EXPECTATION – OBSERVATION = FRUSTRATION

I think this is really good.

However, I think there should be more emphasis on spoken v. unspoken expectations, and then on agreements instead of expectations. 

Also, the refusal to adjust expectations out of compassion and respect for others is poison.


And yet, people are quick to judge the behavior of others rather than to approach surprises with curiosity. A lot of disappointments don't need to be upsets.  People judging situations scream "this is wrong" instead of "how fascinating!"

We refer to the difference between expectations and actual behaviors as a "curiosity space." It is where most of our learning takes place. One of my friends described it as a "cache miss" which is helpful to readers who are engineers or software developers (or both). 

So, here, to help us understand, is my quick guide to being deeply miserable:

  • Expect that others will tend to your needs and desires ("be true friends").
  • Expect that you will not need to tend to theirs ("put up with their drama").
  • Refuse to change your expectations ("lower my standards.")
  • Constantly inspect others' behavior to see if they fall short of your expectations.
  • Don't tell others what you're expecting from them ("they should know.")
  • Consider it an act of betrayal when others fail to meet your unspoken expectations.

Learning to negotiate and share expectations, and also to adjust them out of respect for others, is key.

If you look at this recipe for unhappiness (and the attached formula for frustration) then you can probably understand where a lot of misery and suffering come from. Then you can decide if this is a recipe you want to follow, or whether you'd like to try something else.

It's your choice.