An eighty-year-old man was at the doctor’s office for his annual checkup.
The doctor asked him how he was feeling.
“Never better,” the man replied.
“I’ve got a twenty-year-old bride and she’s pregnant with my child.
What do you think of that, Doc?”
The doctor thought for a minute and said, “Let me tell you a story. My brother-in-law is an avid hunter.
One day, he was in such a hurry to go hunting that he accidentally grabbed an umbrella instead of his rifle.
So, there he was, walking in the woods when a grizzly bear suddenly appeared in front of him.
He quickly raised the umbrella, pointed it at the bear, and squeezed the handle.”
“What happened then?” the old man asked.
“Well,” said the doctor, “believe it or not, the bear fell dead on the ground.”
“Impossible!” exclaimed the old man. “Someone else must’ve shot the bear.”
“Exactly my point,” replied the doctor.
There’s a big difference between having self-confidence and lying to yourself.
It may be tough to recognize which is which, but it’s essential to develop that critical judgment.
Experiencing real happiness often depends on having reasonable expectations.
BEYOND THE PUNCH LINE
To keep your expectations reasonable
1. Start by asking what they are. Sometimes we have a vague idea of what we expect but haven’t really defined it yet. If you can clearly articulate your expectations, it will be much easier to evaluate them.
2. Ask yourself where they came from. Are they based on experience and observation . . . or did you just make them up? Be honest about it. If there’s a gap between what you know happens in the real world and what you hope will happen, it’s probably time to adjust your expectations.
3. Share them. If your expectations involve other people, do they know about it? We often develop expectations of other people and then “forget” to tell them—a recipe for failure. Check in with potential partners before things go south; share thoughts and see if they want to participate.
4. Get feedback. Use friends as sounding boards to help gauge whether your expectations are reasonable. Ask them what they think. If they burst out laughing when they hear what you expect from life, it’s probably a good sign you need to do some reevaluating.