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  • Jered Stewart

The Challenge of Expectations

Is the glass half-full or half-empty?  The age-old question to determine if you’re an optimist or a pessimist.  I’m sure many of us know those people who are eternal optimists.  They are always happy, sometimes bubbly, and always seeing the good in other people.  What is wrong with them?  Why can’t they be disagreeable like me? 😊 


And then there are the pessimists, and I know that you know who they are.  They are easy to spot, and often difficult to avoid…you see them around the corner and try to divert your eyes and run the other way!  Who wants to be around all that negativity anyway?  What a downer.


I like to think of myself as a realist and a thoughtful person, although sometimes our self-evaluations aren’t what other people see.  Some days I think I’m an optimist and some days a pessimist, although I’d like to think I’m more on the positive side.  After all, it is more fun to be an optimist.  I would bet that most people land somewhere in the middle of the glass half-full or empty, and it probably just depends on the day. 


I’ve read a few books lately and I’ve noticed a common theme emerging about the topics of happiness and expectations.  It seems to me that much of our happiness is based upon our expectations.  Do you remember as a child wanting something really badly, and then not getting it?  I bet you weren’t happy.  And what about a time someone got you the perfect gift and it was a surprise?  I bet you were very happy.  Expectations play a big role in our happiness.


G.K. Chesterton was a British novelist, essayist, and philosopher, and someone once said to him, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.”   Chesterton replied, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall enjoy everything.”


And in a nutshell, I think that’s it!  I’m not sure we should lower the bar to expect nothing in life, but perhaps we should moderate our expectations.  The key element, however, is in the punch line.  The next time you are setting expectations, will you choose to be “not disappointed”, or will you choose to “enjoy everything”?  Friends, I would encourage you to enjoy everything, for life is short, it is but a blip.  Time passes quickly, so enjoy everything, and perhaps in this way, you will be happy.   Although it is February, it is still early enough to wish you a Happy New Year for the second time.  Don’t worry, be happy!


“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall enjoy everything.”

-          G.K. Chesterton


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