If you ask enough people, they’ll tell you that in order to avoid disappointment, you should follow one simple rule: Expect nothing. In doing so, you eliminate the possibility of disappointment altogether. People tend to apply this in friendships and, especially, in relationships and, for the most part, it tends to work. If this method works when applied to our relationship with other people, then it should be equally effective when applied to our relationship with ourselves. That may not be the case. I’ve found that when it relates to our expectations for ourselves, we should set the bar sky high.
What people don’t tell you about setting expectations low is that, by doing so, it becomes the standard. You become complacent with expecting nothing at all, which can have a negative effect on your overall performance. This may be okay when applied to others because their performance is not within our control, but when applied to one’s self, it can cause us to become okay with failure. If you don’t expect to succeed, then, sure, you won’t be let down when you fail, but you also won’t get any closer to succeeding. Alternatively, if we expect to excel at whatever we do, then we can never fail. If you aim to do better than just succeed, then any failure is still a win. For example: When lifting weights, there comes a set where I try to do as many repetitions as possible. My mental process is that I evaluate the weight and determine my known maximum, then I aim for two or three more. In doing so, even if I’m unable to successfully do the two or three more repetitions, I still succeed in doing the number that I know I should be able to do. I still succeed.
Reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud
This mentality of always expecting more out of yourself can be applied to every aspect of your being. Try to run for longer and further than you know you can, if you need to write a minimum of 500 words, aim for 1000, if you know you can read a book a month, try to finish two. Set the bar for yourself higher than you think you’re capable of. You might end up surprising yourself.