Don’t Get Your Hopes Up: Why Expecting The Worst Is The Most Positive And Hopeful Way To Live

via lookcatalog
via lookcatalog

I just don’t want you to get your hopes up.
I don’t mean with anything in particular.  Just in general.  In general, don’t get your hopes up.  Nothing good comes of it.  It can literally only lead to disappointment.

Now I’m not saying you should definitely expect the worst.  That’s up to you.  Personally, I think expecting the worst is a pretty healthy, solid way to emotionally stabilize yourself.  If the worst happens, you’re okay.  You were expecting that.  You were prepared for that.

If the best happens, holy shit!  Everything is fantastic!  The world is so far beyond what you ever expected!  You thought you were going to get hit by a bus tomorrow and instead you got laid while getting a promotion while finding out your Nana actually doesn’t have bone cancer!  Having all of that happen at once was a little weird, but what a feeling!  What a surprise!  Reality, yeah!

Getting your hopes up helps nothing.  If you always expect the best to happen, what you’re really saying is, “I want to never get excited again.”  You’ll just go through life in a spoiled malaise saying, “Well yeah, I always knew I was going to become a billionaire and build a mansion with my own Chipotle.  I mean it’s good that it happened, but let’s not freak out here.”

That’s why I like the idea of expecting the worst, but I also understand that it can be a little too nonsensical for some people.  So if you want to be rational about this, I have a better idea. Never expect anything ever–good or bad.

What is the point of expecting anything? What exactly does that get you?  Anything?

Some will argue that knowing something is going to happen, and feeling it with all of your being will make it happen.  And yeah, that sounds ideal. The problem with this plan is that it is completely based in nothing and won’t work.

People think this works because they hear stories of great successes who say, “I just never believed it wouldn’t happen. I always knew it would happen. I never once stopped believing.”

What we tend to ignore is all of the people who had that attitude, failed fucking miserably, and never got invited onto Oprah. Those people are all a mixed bag of settling for children, rotting at a desk, and suicide, and you can’t clickbait people into that dose of reality.

Oprah has never had anyone on her show and went, “This is Darryl, he went through life knowing he would be a singer. He felt it with every fiber of his being, visualized it every day, and pursued it relentlessly. Then he auditioned for American Idol and Simon told him to go fuck himself. Now he greets at The Sizzler and has tried to overdose on Xanax twice.”

There are a few reasons why knowing it will happen rarely works–not the least of which is that there really can only be so many fucking directors out there.

Another reason it doesn’t work is actually linked to a reason it does. Knowing you’ll succeed does make you have a better attitude about pursuing your dream, and sometimes that can give you more stamina to keep going.

But it can also lead you to not working hard enough. After all, if you’re going to succeed no matter what and that’s already decided, who gives a shit about diligence or responsibility? You might as well sit naked in a jacuzzi full of chocolate, hire a fleet of butlers to bring you Bagel Bites topped with caviar, and wait for the checks to roll in to pay for all this shit.

Of course there are also people who thought it would never happen for them, and they’re a mixed bag of success and failure too.

Your attitude about what will happen is barely relevant to whether or not you succeed. Your attitude about what’s happening right now is everything. That’s what determines how you’ll go about actually doing things. And this may come as a shocker to you, but doing things is actually kind of important.

Besides all of this, you shouldn’t expect anything because it’s insane. We live in a chaotic universe overflowing with unknowns. Expecting anything is just a completely futile attempt to pretend you know the world better than you actually do.  It’s wanting to feel like you have some kind of say, or some kind of control, but you don’t.  You’re alone.  Atoms are randomly clashing into each other out there, you don’t know what’s in anyone’s head, and you don’t have control over any of this shit.

So stop using your expectations to live in the future.  You’ll never get there.  You can push and push and push, but you’ll always be stuck in the present, desperately clinging to the teeny tiny sliver of control that you have.

But it’s not all bad.

You don’t know you’ll fail.  So try things–try everything.  Maybe something good will happen, maybe it won’t, but if you don’t try, what is the point of any of this shit?  What are any of us doing here if we don’t try shit?

We don’t have to know great things are coming to try, and try relentlessly.  Our pride shouldn’t be in what happens for us, anyway.  The point of lifting weights isn’t to move some chunks of metal around.  It’s to improve what you are.  Working hard isn’t about what you get.  It’s about what you become.

So we should pursue hopes and prayers, because why not?  We have no idea what’s going to happen, except we know nothing will happen if we don’t try.  So work your ass off, expect nothing, and go for everything.

Except the lottery.  Don’t be stupid.  You’ll never win that shit. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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