The Candid Corner: Low Expectations

Olivia Condell, Editor In Chief

I once read that the key to happiness is having low expectations. 

In my initial reactions, I was shocked and perplexed. I thought, what a disheartening mindset. 

People genuinely adhere to this logic to convince themselves to think in an underwhelming sense, so they in turn are pleasantly surprised when good things come their way.

It’s in human nature to have high expectations. Our brains are wired to plan and predict, to create and imagine. We are constantly awaiting our weekend plans or anticipating that hot cup of coffee in the morning. Looking ahead is necessary, so why would anyone force themselves to behave oppositely? 

This concept of lowering one’s expectations gives the sense that happiness is not real, but it’s merely the comparison between how events are envisioned in people’s heads and how we perceive them in reality. We hope that our real life experiences either match or exceed the images we create. 

Still, I never grasped this concept of low expectations. That is, until I began applying to colleges. 

All the physical work is done – standardized testing, accumulating leadership positions, achieving high grades. 

What no one can be prepared for is the mental strain of being in the strange purgatory of anxiously awaiting decision letters, as no one knows their fate in the college process. 

Yet, the key to happiness is having low expectations. Expect to not get in, and be happy when you do. With this mindset, the fear of rejection should be gone, right? 

There’s still a fine line between low expectations and doubt. A low expectation still means one can be hopeful in planning ahead, yet realistic about the possibility of future plans not going accordingly. Whereas, doubt can make someone spiral into negativity and distress. 

I am not saying to question the value of your academic achievements; never doubt yourself. I just find that lowering your expectations may make this long, grueling process a little easier… and maybe even make you happy, regardless of any outcome.🔳