It’s interesting how our world has evolved.
Decades ago, we did not have the internet, mobile phones nor even colored television sets, let alone many other things that we take for granted such as good medical/healthcare facilities, hygiene, food services and memory space.
Didn’t expect that last one did you? Ah the good ole’ floppy disks. If you are a memory space hoarder, you’ll never want to go back to the past!
Written By Benjamin Ngiam
Even without mobile phones, can you imagine what life would be like without the likes of McDonald’s or Starbucks? Wow, I don’t wanna go there.
Given the advances of technology and economy, life is so much better now as compared to the past. But, why is there a prominent rise in depression and other psychological issues? Notice how there’s even a rise in suicide cases? Worse, in some country it even overtakes the rate of homicide cases. What’s going on here?
Rise of Unhappiness.
So this “Pandemic” is definitely an issue now. Pretty sure you know someone who’s currently unhappy in life due to some reason. Perhaps even YOU are unhappy. We all have our reasons to be but the question is:
Why? Why are we unhappy?
There’s a reason why in Olympics, Silver medalist feel sadder than Bronze medalist.
Photo credit: Nigel Lee
Why do we feel disappointed after buying a product? It’s performance did not meet our expectation. Disappointed after getting your test/exam grades because it’s not A but a B? Expectations. Favorite sports/e-sports team lost and you are now sad? You guessed it- Expectations!
Why do we do this? We have expectations because our limitless imagination love to fantasize about achieving the best. Why? Chemical reactions in the brain. When we do specific things and achieve specific results, chemicals such as dopamine make us feel certain emotions. You can learn about it more in THIS VIDEO ABOUT THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS!
So now that we know the culprit that’s making us unhappy is our expectations, how do we counter it? We manage it by:
- Being aware of our expectations (This will open up the path to point 2, 3 & 4)
- Lowering our expectations
- Changing our expectations focus (Different from lowering. Here, we are Shifting the focus. I will explain below.)
- Learning the threshold of our “Ideal life” expectations
By being Aware, you will be able to do essentially everything mentioned above.
Why Lower your expectations would make you less unhappy?
Don’t expect much, don’t get disappointed much. Pretty straight forward.
Now, changing our expectations. What does this mean? Imagine this, you are asked to compete in a race or challenged to see who can score higher in the next math exam or job performance evaluation. You accept the challenge.
You lose. It sucks. You feel sad. Maybe even pissed. But wait- You are currently feeling this way because you are likely telling yourself the “I should’ve” and the “What ifs”:
“I should’ve done it this way.”
“What if I did this and actually made that happen? He wouldn’t have gotten the chance to win! What if I actually won? I’d be the envy of everyone…”
Yeah, you get the idea. So many expectations not met- What’s worse is you might even add “Missed opportunity expectations” and get mad at yourself for missing out on possible outcomes and opportunities that would’ve otherwise come true if things have went your way. Talk about beating yourself down!
Let’s get out of this vicious cycle by changing our expectations. Instead thinking about how it should’ve been you, nor what you should’ve done, shift the focus to what was done and look at the benefits of it all- The fact that you were invited to the event in the first place and actually learning something from it instead of not gaining anything at all from doing nothing.
In a way, rationalize the outcome. Convince yourself that you did not waste your efforts. This is a very useful part of our ego’s self-defense mechanism. We use it all the time to make ourselves feel better unconsciously.
For example, you got a new job, your new colleagues invite you to an outing with several other co-workers, and you reject it because even though you want to make new friends, you feel that you’d be too awkward with a crowd.
So the next day at work, they started reminiscing about what an awesome outing it was and obviously not including you in the reminiscing because you weren’t there. You feel a little left out, perhaps even feel like you’ve missed an opportunity but you rationalize and tell yourself “It wasn’t a wasted opportunity. I had the time to do other stuff that mattered to me…”
We rationalize so many things that happens in our lives automatically so imagine what you can do with it if you consciously work at it! Utilize this built-in troubleshooter that’s given to you by your mama!
We talked about lowering expectations too however, be careful not to lower it too much. There is a limit to it. Lower it too much to the extent where you have NONE and risk having no standards in life and likely, no progress in anything, which can be REALLY CONFUSING in life and make you feel like you’re a wandering ghost who’s lost in purgatory.
We got to identify the Threshold of expectations to the life that we envision for ourselves. If we want to be a damn good musician, we expect ourselves to practice for specific amount of time everyday. If we want to have a fit body, we expect ourselves to workout specific hours per week.
Know your goals, know the expectations required to arrive at the destination. That is where progress will come.
Without progress, there will be no goal. Without goals, there will be no purpose in life. Without purpose, there will be no progress. It’s kind of a loop. Life is so weird huh?
But notice something? It’s a loop and conveniently, though hard to find, you just need to have a goal to work towards and suddenly, life isn’t so confusing anymore!
That will be all for today! Now you know what’s the cause on your unhappiness, perhaps you’d like to know the secret to happiness? Find out in THIS VIDEO which I’ve made that talks about it all!
Naturally, if you’ve got something you’d like to share with us, be it a personal struggle or stories on the topic of “Unhappiness”? Feel free to share it in the comments section! If not, I thank you for reading and I shall talk to you again soon.
Got extra time to spare? Check these out!
Did you know that you can have Sherlock Holmes’ superhuman-like perception as well? Checkout the article on The POWER of Awareness;
Watch our latest video about Fear- Where we learn about WHAT exactly is Fear, why are we attracted to it and if it is good for us?
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[Image featured today in this article is by Mr.OutdoorGuy]