Low Expectations; Greater Happiness?

4 questions you need to ask yourself

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames
5 min readApr 26, 2020


Low Expectations; Greater Happiness 4 questions you need to ask yourself
Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

Imagine all your expectations being met no matter how high those expectations are.

  • Imagine graduating from college and recruiters are lined up waiting to offer you a job.
  • Imagine the cute woman at the café you see every morning on the way to work says hello to you.
  • How about getting hired at a Silicon Valley firm making upwards towards a six figure salary?

After being forward deployed to Iraq for a year — I’m a disabled combat vet — and then coming home and earning my graduate degree, I thought the world would be knocking down my door offering me job opportunities. Not so.

These are pretty high — and unrealistic — expectations. You would be lucky just to accomplish one of these expectations. People with high expectations can be easily disappointed. Those that have lower expectations can be more easily satisfied. This can result in greater happiness. When it comes to expectations, there are two things you need to remember.

Firstly, merely expecting something to happen won’t make it happen. An example of this would be your Christmas bonus; you received a bonus last year therefore, you should receive one this year.

If you set your expectations high on receiving a Christmas bonus because you received one last year and you were wrong. Then you would be devastated and your Christmas may be ruined. If you had set your expectations low, and didn’t plan on the bonus then imagine how great your Christmas would be with the extra cash.

Did I have high expectations? I thought I was keeping my expectations fairly low because I wasn’t expecting a Fortune 500 job or a Silicon Valley job — nice to have though. I guess whether it was a high salary job or not, just the idea I was expecting a job I would get a job.

Secondly, human beings have a natural tendency to pin their hopes for happiness on fulfilled expectations — such as your morning cup of coffee.

You always start your day with a morning cappuccino at Starbucks on your way to work. Your local Starbucks was closed this morning because of a fire. Now your day — in your mind — is ruined.



A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames

ElbyJames is an American disabled combat vet exiled in the UK & a free speech absolutist. He’s an occasional Top Writer