“When an expectation doesn’t come true, doesn’t that prove that my expectations don’t actually control anything?” No, it proves that you didn’t really expect to get what you wanted. You need to double-down and expect an even better outcome from that point forward. Yes that sounds like some funky logic, but it turns out that logic is for losers — people that excel at this game don’t waste their time with logic.
But here’s the thing, the deeper you get into the practice of positive expectations, the less-specific things you expect. Who cares really? Losers care about minutia whereas winners have a great day no matter what. All you ever need to expect is an entertaining time here on Earth. The specifics aren’t important. What’s the difference whether it’s sunny or raining, whether you’re alone or with others, whether you’re laughing or crying — the enjoyment of the experience is the important part.
The bottom line is this folks: do you want to sit around rotting away, decaying everyday until you finally give-up and die? Of course not, that’s stupid. You play a game to have fun. And right now you’re in one of the best games ever created: Earth. And like any game, the only point is to engage and enjoy. And the way to enjoy ANY game is to approach it with a positive attitude and an expectation of having a great time.
If you’re failing at life, it’s because you didn’t follow this simple step. And that’s not even a problem — anytime you want, you can start turning things around. Life isn’t a particularly hard game unless you expect it to be. And if I sound harsh, it’s because you’ve ignored every sweetly-worded explanation that’s come your way thus far, you regularly dismiss that stuff as nonsense. Now you’re stuck with me, speaking on your terms, at your level. Now smarten up and have a great time!
For almost two decades I’ve watched my friend perform well in chance-based games. Dice, cards, spinners, computer-based, it doesn’t matter. If I dare play against her, she beats me big-time. She seems to have an ability to influence randomness in her favor. It’s a fairer fight when we play strategy-based games — but she’s good at all types.
We were playing a non-strategic dice-based game the other night that had the potential to go on endlessly, but it didn’t. While I sat there rolling useless number after useless number she kept rolling the numbers she needed. The game ended quickly. Huh? I thought random chance and probability distribution are supposed to be real things.
But for the last twenty years I’ve witnessed this: she’s lucky and I’m not. I asked her about it, and she told me that before she rolls she visualizes the exact outcome she needs. Me, I just roll and get whatever I get. Is it true though, that expectations manifest actual results? Whatever the mechanism, she’s highly skilled at achieving her desired outcome within these game-playing scenarios.
I’ve always viewed success in life as stemming from random chance and luck — some people are blessed with opportunities while others aren’t. But perhaps outcomes aren’t so accidental — perhaps expectations shape circumstances. This outlook seems to imply that aspirations influence life. And it seems true that those of us wandering through life without direction get exactly what we wish for: nothing.
If that’s the case, then it’s not randomly generated circumstances that make for a miserable life — it’s bleak expectations that generate miserable circumstances. Therefore, we should concentrate on altering our expectations, modifying our thoughts about life and how it works. To change the external, we must first imagine what it is we want to see.
We love unpredictability. In books and movies, in games and sports, even in romance. If life was predictable, we’d hate it. So not only are we bad at predicting outcomes, we wouldn’t even choose to be good at it.
What’s weird then, is that we so often believe we want life to be predictable — when in truth, we don’t. I’m often of the belief that I want my life to follow a specific well-known path, but if it did, I’d be disappointed when it occurred exactly as expected.
Stories are fun and interesting only when they defy expectations. When life does not proceed as planned, then that’s the best possible outcome, it means something stimulating happened. Boredom is obviously not a goal we want to achieve.
But of course, life can be so unpredictable that it upsets us. We can be so surprised and shocked that we want to shut down. But even this is part of the engrossing spectacle of life. And to appreciate this roller-coaster-like characteristic of life, is to know satisfaction.
An excerpt from the fictional tales of Life in Exile
I am in my study, gazing out across the glorious view, an early evening in autumn, fire crackling, brandy in hand while seated in my leather chair, having just retired from dinner. Tonight, roasted meats and root vegetable with a splash of corn, served alongside a diluted deep red wine. The musicians still playing, entertainment after eating, all Baroque selections.
But of course, this is not the life I live, and there is no direct path to this place, one is either born into it or carried by a mystical twist of fate. No, I was born into this little body, dwelling in this hovel, beholden to an aged matriarch for my sustenance. So of course I am unable to perceive the beauty of life through this lens, this life does not match the preferences inherent to my mind.
But I do not lament living a life with which I cannot identify, this is what is, I am provided no choice but to accept. Yet should I ever meet the fellow that placed me here, I shall shake his hand while placing my knee to his nuts. For this life of anxious confusion and repeated disappointment, perhaps he will forgive my minor transgression of etiquette.
Not only am I witness to my own malady, but from my vantage point I am well informed as to the suffering of others. Perhaps this life is but a Dickensian dream, a ghostly warning to care for the welfare of others beyond my isolated world of fulfilled wants. If that is the case, let me assure my dear ghostly guides, a lesson has been learnt — now please may I awake, perhaps Christmas is not yet over.
Expectations act as poison, polluting all we do.
Expecting something better, outcomes fail to deliver.
Expecting negative consequences, outcomes soured with fear.
Expunge expectation, extracting the venom with certainty.
Certainty that expectations initiate in imagination:
Poof! Expect no more.