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The Paradox of Rising Expectations – Being Happy

Simple Living Means Solitude

Perhaps we can explain some of our inability to be happy (with what we have) by understanding “the paradox of rising expectations” rule.   It can come in the form of expectations of a loved one or even a friend.  The biggest offender of rising expectations is within ourselves.

Street Light - Portland, MaineRemember when you were really young and you could not wait to have an 8PM bedtime?  My parents used to tell us when the street lights came on, we had to come home.  How about the excitement of your parents letting you stay outside past dark, getting our driver’s license, our own place, the list goes on.

The joy we felt at each step was amazing and we felt like we had achieved life’s dreams right there.  Okay, what is your point Larry?

Most of us are very lucky.  We have a home, jobs, food on the table, family, friends and in many cases much more.  Why are we not extremely content at this point?  The paradox of rising expectations is the key here.

At work, your boss is not going to be happy with your current performance next year.  A publicly traded company is not allowed to get by with the same earnings and revenue each year.  Every step we take forward, expectations increase.  What have you done for me lately or what new thing have we gotten lately?

We do this to our friends and family as well.  The statement “you do not appreciate me” is essentially saying your rising expectations are not fair.  We start expecting a certain level of performance and thus what we appreciated before is no longer enough.

What can we do?

Work and business won’t change, but we can change ourselves.  We can recognize the wonderful life we have.  I mean, I get to go drive a car or be out after dark if I want to!  I even get to have dessert before I eat my dinner if the mood hits me (sorry mom).  🙂

Take the time to think about the life we have and the wonderful parts.  Our family, friends, a roof over our heads, food on the table.  Be appreciative of what you have and realize how far you have come in life already.  Take the time to enjoy your accomplishments.

“Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste they hurry right past it.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Be humble, happy, and grateful.


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