Weekend Reading: Expectations and Reality

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading expectations and reality Weekend reading expectations and reality
Weekend Reading

The gap between expectations and reality is where powerful emotion is felt, especially the larger we perceive that gap to be.


The surprise element: For example, when Harry Truman, who failed in various endeavors of life, stepped into the role of U.S. president upon Franklin Roosevelt’s passing, the nation had little hope. However, to this day, Truman is ranked among historians' top 10 presidents, potentially due to the low expectations Americans had of his capabilities. As Morgan Housel says, “A little success was a win; a big success felt like a miracle.”

The hidden happiness factor: Much like the precious things in your life that don’t hold a dollar amount – relationships, freedom, eyesight, the ability to walk, etc. – expectations lack a price tag too, which can make them easy to ignore. Everything from your happiness, to consumer confidence, to even what moves the markets draws down to expectations. It’s easy to overlook this when you pay more attention to your circumstances, but low – or at least managed – expectations truly are powerful.

Less is more: As Housel says, “When you accept that losing often is the only path to winning occasionally, it’s easier to keep your expectations low without losing ambition and motivation.” Ultimately, we all want to see a gap between what we expected and what actually happened, and more of that is in your control than you realize.

Let go of your expectations: Whatever they are, they are bound to be wrong. I believe life is a dance, so move and groove with what comes along.