Failed expectations

Sometimes the way you envision things in your mind isn’t quite the way they pan out in real life.

It can be difficult to accept when things don’t turn out the way you expected them to. But this only really happens when reality fails your expectations. On the flipside when you’re expectations are surpassed you’re happy, you don’t question it.

The reason failed expectations bother us so much is because we allowed ourselves to get excited at the thought of something we want to happen. Then, when reality falls short we’re now disappointed because we know how things could have panned out and things could have turned out much better.

Expecting the worst

Sometimes you might find yourself expecting the worst.

You have this whole worst case scenario prepared in your mind that you don’t even hold space for something good to happen.

And so you then avoid the thing that you think will turn out badly until you can avoid it no more.

But more often than not, things turn out better than you think.

The most likely scenario

When it comes to getting swept up in the future it’s easy to get caught up in the worst case scenario. But it’s also easy to get caught up in the ideal scenario.

However, more often than not neither of them come true.

The outcome ends up being what I’d call the most likely scenario, something fairly ordinary. It could be good but not great or alright instead of terrible.

But there’s nothing wrong with that sort of outcome, infact most choices or actions that make up our days have those kinds of ‘normal’ outcomes.

And so I think the reason that we’re so drawn to getting swept up in the extremes of the worst case and the ideal is because we unknowingly enjoy it.

Putting pressure on the outcome

In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.

You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.

And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.

What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?

I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.

If it doesn’t work out

We’re often brought up to believe that risk is a bad thing.

But the truth is it depends on the risk.

Packing up and moving to a new city could be considered risky but it’s not a bad thing. On the flipside, gambling away your savings hoping to hit the big time is risky and it’s not a particularly good idea.

I think when it comes to taking risks you know whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how you’ll feel if it doesn’t work out.

When the risk not panning out means your safety at risk it’s probably not something worth pursing. Let’s take the gambling example.

If it turns out well you could walk away with more than your annual salary which is enticing. However, if we look at what happens if things go wrong you’ll realise that you gain nothing. If you gamble away thousands of pounds you don’t leave the experience haven’t learnt a lesson.

Those kinds of risks aren’t worth taking.

But when you try something new, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone, even if it doesn’t work out as planned, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to grow and develop into the kind of person you want to be.

Time to jump

It’s easy to put things off and get caught up in analysing every possible outcome.

You might find yourself visualising the path you’re considering, hoping for a sign that the time to do it is now.

Or maybe you go online and do some research hoping to find a story that resonates from someone that took a chance.

There are only ever 2 choices, do nothing or do something.

Staying still, stuck and stagnant rarely feels good. Often once the moment to choose passes and you do nothing you end up regretting it.

But when you decide to take action and do something you open yourself up to the possibilities of life.

It might scare you but sometimes it’s time to jump.

When it happens again

If you find yourself experiencing a difficult situation, similar to something you have faced in your past you have the opportunity to handle it differently and with new knowledge and experience.

Don’t just caught up in the thought of ‘why is this happening to me again?’. Instead thing about what you can do to get the outcome you desire.

Answer the questions:

What did you do last time?

What did you want to happen?

What was the outcome?

What can you do differently this time?

Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, it’ll feel good to know that you handled things better than you did in the past

Making difficult decisions

The feeling of regret is always uncomfortable, especially when you think that making a different choice would have led to a better life.

When you reach this conclusion, what do you do next?

Do you take charge, choose the other choice and commit to it in order to reach the outcome you believe is possible.

Or do you get swept up in the feeling of regret and allow your mind to go round and round in circles telling stories about how that single choice you made has ruined your life.

The other option is to stick with the decision you made and make the best of the path you’re on.

It can be difficult to decide but if you put less pressure on the decision you make, things start to feel a whole lot easier.

What also helps is knowing that whatever you pick, things will turn out totally fine.

Identifying the discord

In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.

If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.

What did you want?

What was the outcome?

Were you happy with the way things turned out?

It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.

But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.

People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.

However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.