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Jeff Wolf

Writer / Adventurer

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Could the answer to our happiness be found in NO expectations?

Barry suggests, tongue-in-cheek, that the answer to happiness is low expectations. Could the answer be that happiness is found in NO expectations? While low expectations would mean you’re seldom disappointed, it also speaks to a person’s self-worth; I do not deserve more or better. Having no expectations doesn’t diminish my sense of worth and it does more than reduce disappointment; it allows joy and contentment in all circumstances.

If I work a long day and expect dinner on the table when I get home, I am disappointed (and possibly angry) when the expectation is not met. If dinner is on the table, it is merely what I expected. I may exchange pleasantries and say “Thank You”. But the experience is completely different if I had no expectation and found that someone had thought of me and taken the time to prepare a meal for me. My gratitude is real. My enjoyment is real. The experience of the meal is increased.

When I expect nothing, I am more than just “not disappointed” when I receive. I am pleased and thankful, even for the smallest things.

Topics: future happiness
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  • Aug 24 2011: There would be no happiness without expectations. Without expecting anything to happen there would be no emotions.
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      Aug 24 2011: Happiness (or any emotion) is experienced in the present. Expectation is about a future that does not exist. If emotions are based on expectations, then I am expecting to be happy and I’ll miss experiencing it fully now.
      • Aug 24 2011: Does that mean all feelings are just illusions? They're not real.
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          Aug 24 2011: I think all the feelings I experience are real … I feel them so they are real to me. If they are based on a misconception, I’m not sure how I classify them. As an example (albeit not directly tied to expectations): I believe in the inherent worth of every individual, yet I experience many, many emotions that are based on the belief (or fear) that I am not worthy, not good enough, or not deserving. My feelings are real, but they are … ummm … unnecessary (?), false (?).

          Having said that (sort of), each time I recognize I am forgetting my own value and worth, I have the opportunity to increase my awareness of my worthiness. That makes the feelings based on misconception of value to me.

          By the way … I checked out your website. I liked the animation with the pictures on your home page. Do you take the fashion pictures as well as blog about the subject?

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