“If you’re going to be happy, you need to separate your passions from your results.” Mike Rowe, host/creator of T.V. show Dirty Jobs
One of the most common causes of unhappiness is not meeting expectations. Failing to meet expectations will drag you down, even in the aftermath of great achievement. Example: you work extremely hard all year to hit a sales goal of $500,000. Instead, you come up short at $450,000. Now the salespeople behind you would be jumping for joy if they hit that target, but you are miserable because you missed it. Why? Because you locked in a finite number and that finite number became your single-minded focal point. But you missed your target and you feel like you failed. A better approach would have been to set a sales goal range of between $400,000 – $500,000. Another example: you publish a book and set a finite goal of selling 50,000 books for the year. You sell 25,000 for the year instead and you’re miserable. A better approach would have been to set a broader range goal of between 20,000 to 50,000 books sold over a two year period.
We are all pursuing one singular thing in life – happiness. Managing your expectations is the surest path to realizing happiness. When you pursue something you are passionate about, do not focus on the results, focus on the act of pursuing your passion. Don’t focus on specific results when pursuing your passion. Give yourself, instead, an expectations range. You’ll be much happier that you did.