I was recently working the desk at my college dorm when I overheard a girl talking to her friends, “Just don’t set your expectations high, that’s what I do, and I’m never really disappointed.” She was referring to her finals as she headed off to take them in her baggy sweatpants and a messy bun, searching for a mindset that would make her feel okay no matter what the outcome may be.
I’ve heard this advice before, “don’t have high expectations and you’ll never be disappointed,” but it’s never sat well with me. Why lower your expectations? I understand that disappointment is a feeling we all want to avoid but sometimes it’s inevitable.
In my experience, true disappointment occurs when you fail at getting something you really wanted or tried your best but had little success. Whether it’s excessively studying for a final and then barely passing the exam, losing a relationship that no longer fits into your life, or even failing to get the job you thought you were perfect for, this shouldn’t lower the expectations you set for yourself.
My senior year of high school I was captain of the Varsity Volleyball team and we worked our asses off. This lead to an undefeated season, close-knit friendships, and an unforgettable year. I never thought I’d experience disappointment with this team until we unexpectedly lost the State Championship game. It was heartbreaking. Whether it was because of an unexpected injury or not we still lost and it still hurt, a lot.
This loss didn’t make me want to lower my expectations for achieving goals or winning though. If anything it made me want to do that much better in the future.
Disappointment can be intimidating. Nobody wants to experience it but at some point we all have to, whether we’re ready or not. Your expectations shouldn’t suffer just because you don’t want to feel upset or move on. The higher your expectations the greater the things you’ll be able to achieve.
Why limit yourself?
The girl in the baggy sweatpants may have just been talking about her outlook on finals but this mindset is one that carries over into all aspects of your life. It’s truly important to continue to believe that you deserve the best in anything you take on. This leads to hard work and great accomplishments.
Disappointment is strongly related to the fear of failure and neither of these should have a place in the hearts of those who want greatness in their life. Don’t be afraid to “dream big and keep going,” as my Pepere once said to me (which completely melted my heart).
The expectations you set for yourself are a direct reflection of who you are. What kind of person do you want to be?