5 Benefits of Having No Expectations

  1. You take sole responsibility for your decisions. I push myself to make my sales figures because it is part of my being a good worker or because I like the challenge. I clean the kitchen because I want it neater or because I don’t want my wife to have to worry about it. This sidesteps any of those thoughts that someone else is “making me” or expecting me to do something. This is about me running my life, doing what I consider important. It’s Nietzsche’s Ubermensch who creates his own values, who doesn’t succumb to herd mentality, who avoids going on auto-pilot.
  2. You separate your wants from shoulds. The herd mentality and auto-pilot are usually tied to the shoulds. These come from our heads, our superego, the parent voice in our heads. Shoulds are by definition expectations imposed by others. When we fail to do them we feel guilty. When we do follow them we often feel driven…and expect a payoff for our efforts: Since I am doing what I really don’t want to do, I do expect others to appreciate, notice, give me a reward, pat me on the head, do what I expect. When the expected payoff doesn’t come, our disappointment and resentment are fueled.
  3. You avoid feeling… disappointed, angry, etc…. Nuf said.
  4. You avoid becoming a martyr. All this disappointment and resentment can overtime congeal into martyrdom, that lethal combination of domineering shoulds and unfulfilled expectations that drag on: I do everything I should. I expect people to …appreciate, reward, etc….it doesn’t happen. I trudge on and on and on. 
  5. You live in the present. The decisions / choices of life come one-by-one in the moment. Expectations forever push you look ahead, mentally entrap you in the future. Like a chess player you’re always thinking 8 moves out – what should I do, how will others react, how will respond, how can I get them to react in the way I expect, what if they question my decision….etc.