Before disappointment strikes, you must be vigilant in reminding yourself that setting your hopes on one particular event or occurrence is dangerous, unnecessary, and misleading. No event will make you happy forever! Everything is transient and passes. The most subtle ones are those we expect in the course of our day, such as getting to work on time, having no traffic, having the computer work, or having the bus be on time. All are setups for disappointment.
Now, of course, you don’t want to expect bad things to happen, but you can’t forget that life is unpredictable. If you have personal expectations, it will feel like a personal attack when things don’t go your way, and you will fly into anger. Let me make this simple—Don’t cling to outcomes. Before I leave the house, I remind myself that regardless of what my to-do list says, anything is possible today. Beginning your day with expectations is like shoving a ticking time bomb into your pocket. It is only a matter of time before it blows.
Do the following reactions sound familiar? “Nice blinker, idiot!” “This stupid computer!” “Crap, it’s only three o’clock.” “Why is everyone driving like an ass?” “OMG, the Internet is so slow today!”
These reactions are as helpful as throwing your shoe at the clouds because it is raining on your day off! You are personalizing all of these random events. Such reactions also cut you off from seeing just how amazing life is around you. Stay present to these ridiculous, hidden beliefs that will do their best to wreck your day before it starts. When you walk out the door, remind yourself that although you intend to do this or that, anything can happen. Doing this disarms your amygdala, which is always on the lookout for things not going according to your plan. So take your plan (expectation) off the table. Your amygdala is different from that of the next person; whatever you believe should or shouldn’t happen is what it will try to protect, so only you can take down the beliefs/expectations that trigger it to begin with.