There are good arguments to support both sides.
On one hand perhaps you should lower your expectations because they’re too high. Examples of this could be expecting to earn £50,000 as a graduate with no experience or expecting a friend to reduce their rates even though you know the quality of their work will be more than worth it.
Then on the other hand, a reason not to lower your expectations is because you don’t want to get into the habit of settling. I think there’s a fine line between knowing what you want and expecting too much. Knowing what you want is great. Believing that it is possible to have more than you have right now even though it might take time is a pretty fantastic thing.
One of the most common reasons that people lower their expectations is because they allow the thoughts and opinions of others to convince them that what they want is unrealistic.
If that is the case, it might be worth being more selective about who you get advice from and who you choose to listen to.
Most of us start out with big dreams of what we want to do with our lives. Then slowly, bit by bit, as the years go on we start to settle.
We settle from setbacks that lower our self-belief until you’ve convinced yourself that they were unrealistic anyway.
Other times you have people tell you that your dreams are too big, that they won’t work and that you need to be realistic.
Sometimes you’re aware of it but other times you have no idea until years have gone by and you’re wondering what happened to those dreams you used to have.
It’s really easy to say, ‘That’s just how I am’.
Some people even use that as a way to justify continually being unkind to others or even themselves.
But the beauty of life is that we have the opportunity to change and overcome.
I recently wrote about not feeling good enough, something I struggled with for years.
As a result of feeling that way I created a life that I was unhappy with and I became someone who self-sabotaged, had little self-belief and would constantly settle for less. Furthermore, I struggled to stand up for myself.
Once I stopped passively accepting those parts of me as just the way things are, I realised that things could be different, things could be better. I also realised that I was capable of changing my own life.
At the time I didn’t feel capable and it was hard to imagine what things would be like if they were different but I started to believe it was possible.
My personal development and growth was an active change that I worked for and continue to work on.
This sort of thing is really at the crux of the message I want to share on this site. What I want for you to take away from this is you that don’t have to accept the way things are.
In challenging times it can be difficult to look to the future and think about all the possibilities. Your mind will be going round in circles and you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
How can I get there when there is all this stuff going on right now?
When you’re caught up in a challenging situation it can be hard to see past it, especially when you have no idea how you’ll overcome it.
But, if you start with believing you can figure things out and then try and work towards a solution, you might find that you’re more capable than you thought.
Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.
Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.
The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.
Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.
But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.
You feel calmer afterwards.
In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
We often underestimate the role that belief plays in our development. But the truth is you could be so much more if only you believed.
Take something as seemingly insignificant as walking across a balancing beam. The people that make it from one side to the other will be the ones that believe they can get across.
Sure they might fall off a few times but because they already believe it’s possible they’ll have the determination to keep trying.
On the other hand, the ones who don’t believe, well they’re more likely to fall off and less likely to keep trying.
Or they won’t even try at all.
Do you ever spend time daydreaming about the life you want. The things you’ll do, places you’ll go, where you’ll live and how you’ll earn a living?
What do you do once the daydream is over?
It’s so easy to think that the life you daydream about is far from reach but in reality a good chunk of that distance will disappear once you start believing your dream life is possible.
That belief will come from realising that it’s possible to live the kind of life you want. You don’t have to settle as a result of the expectations of others or because the gap between where you are and where you want to be is too wide.
Once you start believing it’s possible you can move onto the next step, making it happen.
I recently had a conversation where I was explaining my neutral feelings towards a topic. As the words poured out I thought I was almost on a bit of a high horse.
But as the conversation went on I realised that my neutral feelings were just a defense mechanism or a coping strategy. Turns out the topic did bother me after all.
However, instead of working to overcome my feelings I’d masked them in neutrality. I think sometimes it helps to be neutral instead of negative but you can take it one step further and have more positive or uplifting feelings.
It really surprised me to find out that I’m not quite there yet but now that I’ve realised, I think it’s something I want to work on.
Wake up, wake up! The world is changing.
Over the past 10 years or so I’ve noticed a big change in the way that people work. Self-employment is on the rise along with jobs in the gig economy.
Perhaps as a society we believe in ourselves more or we’ve opened up to the idea that we don’t have to commit to a single career.
Maybe work can just be something you do to fund the life you want rather than being where you gain your sense of self and something you want to grow and develop in.
You might have a career or means of income in mind that you have yet to actualise, so on your journey to bringing that to life you do temporary, flexible or short-term jobs like hospitality and Uber driving.
You could be that person in your late 20s or early 30s and to some what you’re doing may seem risky or not the sensible choice. But it’s actually pretty amazing to be able to trust your vision of what you want in life enough that you’re not willing to settle because so many of us settle.
The world is changing and you have to find a way to evolve and adapt.
…endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Because cracking the illusion of the super human might be just what you need.
So, I don’t have anyone I’d consider an idol but I have a bunch of music favourites as well as Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Gary Vee etc. They’re all people that move or inspire me.
They’re people I think are amazing but not superior just different. I’m not under any impression that they’re perfect or that I would like them if I knew them personally or even that they would like me.
When I think about meeting Seth Godin based on what I know it would be a pretty ordinary experience. He’s just another bald man in a suit with odd socks and a purple glasses.
Putting people on pedestals isn’t useful or beneficial for you.
That’s why we should meet them, to break the illusion. To remember that we aren’t less than and remember that we’re capable of great stuff too.