The equation of expectation

“Whenever you are happy with something in your life, it is because right now, the conditions of your life match your blueprint, or your belief about how life should be in that particular area.” – Tony Robbins

 

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Me: living my best life during the time I had my dream job (which I thought would last forever.)

In our culture, we are taught that we are not good enough unless we do something mind-blowing and unique. It’s pounded into our brains every day, with social media and even our own self-inflicted pressure to be the best, do the most and do it perfectly. (My assumption was that I’d land my dream job at about 28 and be set for life. Well I landed my dream job way earlier than expected and then my dream job contract ended.)

As you might know by now, Tony Robbins IS MY GUY. His optimism cuts the strings of doubt that I can feel tied down by.

This week, I’ve been focusing on one specific concept:

“Growing and giving are the basis of human happiness.”

Truthfully, this seems way too simple. For longest time, I added about 10-15 different items in that sentence.

“Growing, giving, health, great relationships, phat career, ample creativity, positive environment, traveling often, loving my family…. are the basis of my happiness.”

That’s just the BASE of my overall happiness. The additions kept growing and before I knew it, it was almost impossible to stay happy. I mean look at that list?! How was I to keep 8+ items in a good and flourishing place at ALL TIMES? I had expectations for each of those categories… huge expectations. Those expectations kept me propelling forward at 100 mph with little patience, a feeling of being flooded with disappointment when I didn’t accomplish something, angry with my significant other all the time, hard on myself when I’d miss a workout and comparing myself to everyone else in my lane.

What I’ve come to understand, is that we have a particular blueprint we’ve developed for our lives. This is the image we’ve had in our heads of where we’d be at every stage, in every different category of life: career, relationships, income, lifestyle, health.

What I’ve quickly learned, is that misery is born when we veer off the path of this imagined blueprint, or when we don’t live up to the expectation of our life. If you’re not in the job you imagined you’d be in, if your body doesn’t look or feel the way you thought it would, or if you’re not dating the type of person you always thought you’d be dating, all those expectations are shattered and you feel like sh**.

What is at the root of all this? OUR EXPECTATIONS.

Think about when we intentionally have zero expectations. We go into some situations with the awareness,

“No, I’m not having expectations for this movie because I don’t want to be disappointed.”

HELLO… we know this is something we deal with but for some reason we can step back and apply it to our day to day life. So, because I’m a math nerd I’ve put this in an equation to help further simplify it.

Growing (in any capacity/direction) + giving (caring for others, working toward your bigger purpose) – Expectations = Lasting happiness 

Here’s a question for you. Think of the happiest times in your life. Did you know they were going to happen? Doubtful. The truth is, you never know what will end up making you happy until it subtly creeps on you. Relax and let it happen!

What are you expecting for your life? Have you fulfilled those expectations? Where are they rooted? Great. Now remove them. Release them into the air. Let go of the 300-pound pile of expectation that you’ve been living with and watch your world transform.

In case you’re in need of some more inspiration, a book that has changed the way I see success in this crazy world is The Originals by Adam Grant. This book will keep you growing.

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Comment below with your thoughts. I love hearing just how we all relate to one another, or not!

T.

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Stop, and turn around

It’s been quite awhile since I last wrote. Maybe because I’ve not felt as inspired or maybe because I’m nervous that what I have to say isn’t interesting enough to share with the world.

But today, I feel like sharing.

I’ve noticed a lot of my friends merge into careers that they maybe wanted, maybe didn’t want…but nonetheless, they seem to be fine. Generally, we go from college to post-grad thinking that we are going to slowly, consistently move upward. Sure, we might get a job that we are using as a stepping stone, that we don’t enjoy immensely but can tolerate… and then a two years go by. So really… we are just falling into the normal routine that is the American tradition…and why is it that I’m having a really hard time being okay with that?

My career path has been unexpectedly different.  It’s taken a rough push backward, a few confusing circles and some small steps to the left and right. I got my dream job right when I graduated. My favorite media company that made a true difference in the world hired ME. Interestingly enough, my dream job wasn’t what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the position but when I decided it was my dream job to work there, I didn’t know that step one was generic 9 to 5. Probably because I always expect fireworks, bursts of color, magic and inspiration in everything around me. Including my jobs.

I think when we get to a certain age, our “dream job” isn’t actually what we had in mind. This is a cliché however… this is something cynical people have told us over the years, that our dream jobs are going to shift and soon enough we will be driving home at 7pm on a terribly average Thursday to a cold empty house where we’ll have about 3 hours to make dinner alone, (something that tastes mediocre and blends two or three types of ethnic foods from Trader Joe’s) watch two or three episodes of something on Netflix, brush our teeth and go to sleep.

This is what we are supposed to accept? Constantly, people who are secure and in a steady place in life will tell me,

“Well, real life is hard. It’s always going to be hard. You’re going to have to put your time in and do something you don’t enjoy for a couple of years until you have that break into the position you’ve been hoping to get.”

All I hear, is:

“Go give away X amount of years of your life in order for it to be good later.”

Sorry, but I don’t accept that and I don’t have to. That was 1985. 1985 was the 9 to 5 desk jobs concept that our parents created and accepted. Computers brought people into a gigantic space with no color on anything. If I don’t see color I don’t see anything and I just get uncomfortable.

There’s article I stumbled upon a few weeks ago about the most common regret people have on their death beds. It was,

“I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to do. I did what I thought I was supposed to do.” 

This was the first time I’d heard the notion, because I was swept up in the current with everyone else and didn’t think I could do what I wanted to do. I’ve mentioned this to my parents, mentors, peers, but for some reason they’re responses are always, “well that’s really hard to do and doesn’t pay the bills.” Instantly I sink into another heap of disappointment.

Now, I’ve tried to see this concept differently. by understanding that there is a way to balance doing what you want to do and putting in the hard work. There will be late nights that you don’t get paid overtime for, or people you meet who try to put out your light. But I honestly believe that living your life takes more courage than they tell us. If you want to work in a flower shop and not climb the corporate ladder, then work in a flower shop and don’t climb the corporate ladder. We don’t have to do the most impressive things. Impressive things are not the same things as those that make us happy. We don’t have to work at a big company, we don’t have to chase money, we don’t have to work in an office, we don’t have to fatten our resume just to impress other people, we don’t have to accept that paying the bills trumps every dream we ever wanted. Thats not naive, that’s just changing the conversation. We can pay the bills doing anything… look at YouTube stars, look at bloggers, look at people inventing apps, look at those kids choosing to not do what they were told is the only thing they can do to succeed. There isn’t an ONLY WAY. You just have to remind yourself, that no matter what job you choose to do, no matter what career path you give up, or what job you turn down in order to do something less impressive, that you are the type of person that succeeds at anything and everything you do. If you believe that, then those risks you took along the way will pay off, regardless.

So, do exactly what you want to do and don’t apologize. No matter how bold it might seem.

T.