Think back for a moment on the major and minor ... in your life. The reason theyíre ... is because they didnít live up to your ... You had ... in mind that didn
Think back for a moment on the major and minor disappointments in your life. The reason theyíre disappointments is because they didnít live up to your expectations. You had something in mind that didnít happen, or you wanted something you didnít get. You also had made up your mind Ė if you think about it Ė that it was going to be horrible if you didnít get it.
You wanted the job and you didnít get it, so you were disappointed. If you hadnít wanted the job, you wouldíve been overjoyed not to get it!
Also if you think back on disappointments in your life, Iím sure youíll find that in at least some instances, things turned out for the best. You didnít get the job you were aspiring for, but you got a better one in the end. Or the man you were dating broke up with you and you were sad, but then your found a better partner. Or you really didnít want to leave Amherst, Massachusetts and move to Lillian, Alabama, but once you got there you found it was its own version of paradise.
All of this is saying that we canít always be sure at the time whether things are for the best or not, and its our expectation that we must have it this way or weíll be devastated is whatís making us miserable.
When you do this, you are setting up and either/or situation. You have arranged your expectations, and the future of your happiness on a proposition such as this: If I get this, Iíll be happy. If I donít, Iíll be devastated.
As the great poet John Milton wrote, ďThe mind is its own place, and in itself, Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.Ē
Now a more emotionally intelligent way to handle these things is not to lower your expectations, but to broaden them. By using emotional intelligence competencies such as resilience, creativity and flexibility, you can manage your emotions more effectively.
A simple example of this would be planning a vacation. Most of us put effort, time and money into planning our vacations, all of which are precious to us, and so we may find ourselves expecting it to be perfect. If you do this, you are automatically setting yourself up for disappointment.
However, if you keep your expectations realistic and in line, you cushion yourself against the extremes. Itís quite possible to have an enjoyable vacation that meets your needs (rest, rejuvenation, fun, adventure or whatever youíre after) and not have every detail fall exactly into place.
One of the most important things to do is to remain positive. Expect the best, and avoid going into a downward spiral, or taking it out on yourself, if it isnít.
If, on this vacation, you arenít able to take the excursion you wanted to, you will feel better if
1.You donít blame yourself. Yes, you couldíve booked the excursion earlier, but the tour people could also have allowed for more guests to participate, yes?
2.If you donít over-extend the importance of the event and predict negatively into the future, i.e., ďmy vacations are always lousy.Ē
3.If you donít bring in other things that arenít relevant, i.e., ďI canít plan a vacation or do anything right.Ē
4.Find things to enjoy despite the things that were disappointments. Itís a rare ANYTHING thatís 100% good OR bad.
Your expectation for perfection can make you miserable, and whatever youíre doing, itís for sure your intent isnít to feel miserable. When you have unrealistic expectations, you compound your problem, because in dealing with one problem, you create a worse one. Itís bad enough not to get the job, without blaming yourself, feeling devastated, and considering it part of a hopeless pattern of bad luck, incompetence, victim-ness, or your global ability to handle things.
Suit up, play the game the best you can, shower and go home. This means managing the emotions around all of these steps. Getting what you want is important. Itís nice. Itís certainly preferable. But if you donít get it, it isnít the end of the world.
Resilience means being able to bounce back from disappointments, retaining your faith in yourself and hopes for the future. Understand the flow of things. Sometimes youíll succeed, sometimes youíll fail, and sometimes in retrospect, it will be hard to tell the difference.
About success and failure, Churchill said, ďSuccess is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,Ē and ďSuccess is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.Ē
So keep your enthusiasm by managing your expectations and using your emotional intelligence.
Lastly, one of the best things you can learn is to enjoy the preparation. Itís the one thing you can count on. I have one client who plans trips she doesnít even take, because itís so much fun. Another who purposely takes speaking engagements on topics she doesnít yet have material on, so that she can learn and master something new in preparation.
If you have thoroughly enjoyed the preparation, then you have an extra part to the whole package thatís under your control that can meet your expectations.
TAKE WITH YOU POINTS
Do how do you manage these disappointments?
1.Develop your emotional intelligence so you can manage your expectations and keep them realistic and manage your reactions to them.
2.Remain optimistic and resilient no matter what the outcomes.
3.Consider that in the long run it may turn out to have been a good thing.
4.Learn to enjoy the journey as well as the destination, because they are two different things.