the truth about happiness: have expectations and you are guaranteed to kill it
Updated: Dec 10, 2018
I thought I should share with you a fundamental realization about happiness that I just understood.
First let me set the context. Being usually a super positive, happy inside, person I found myself struggling to understand my mood over the last two weeks as I felt really uncomfortable.
Few great things recently happened in my life. For the work I do in FinTech, I got on a call with very senior people in my Company from Silicon Valley. They really like the work I am doing with startups in London and want to collaborate with me and my team. Wait what? The guys from the centre of the tech world want to collaborate with me and my team? Holy sh##. And in music I got signs of interest from two artists that are among the 5 that most influence my music. Two people that already play around the world to thousands, and have been making music for decades want to deal with me, double holy sh##!
So you think, you are usually happy, and now you are working on two huge things that are closer to your life dreams, so you should be even more happy than usual. Well baby, emotions are not quite a straight equation and last thing you know, you find yourself feeling emotionally unstable and unhappy.
I was feeling very unhappy as self doubts took over and my brain started pointing at the thousands reasons why these things ain’t gonna work, are probably a mistake and I am still not yet anywhere. And what’s even worst, every effort I made in these directions, turned out to be emotionally a pain instead of being fun and immense pleasure. How the hell, is this happening?
I realised why in the last few days: 1) For other reasons, I had long conversations with two people very close to me about how often parents don’t really understand us and what we do. They tell you what you should be and be doing and too often complain about or under appreciate your own choices. You can bet money that they don’t do it to do you bad, but they are only trying to make their life (of which you are probably a big part) match their expectations of what a happy life should look like
2) I read a blogpost by a successful internet entrepreneur who lives travelling the world and helping other people creating the lives they want. He said something very interesting about how you can feel very depressed when things that you are working toward did not yet happen despite the hard work. If your expectations have yet not materialised, you can live this state of perennial anxiety no matter how many things you love you are doing already
3) When you get signs of something good, your dreams and blueprint get immediately bigger. Suddenly, your goals ‘move’ even farther away from what you are doing. And it does not matter how is the life you are living now, you can easily fall in the trap of focusing on what’s missing
And here is the realisation (after this long post, sorry short-attentioned readers): Your happiness in life comes down to two things: A) the blueprint you have for yourself / your life B) how much your perception of yourself / your life matches this blueprint
If you feel like your realisation will come only when your get those precise (always increasing) expectations, no matter what, you will self inflict yourself the pain of not being there at any point in time. Your brain will come up with reasons why you are not enough, instead of enjoying the fact that you already are living your dreams.
So how can you enjoy the long ride? Learn to swap expectations with appreciation.
Wrote when listening to Made by Dub FX: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKEmaPj935M