7 Stupid Expectations Crushing Your Chances of Actual Success and Happiness

Success, Happiness, DepressionMost of the people you meet in your daily life will give you stupid advice. Advice that could cost you everything. It’s not that they themselves are stupid (though they very well might be), it’s more that it’s rare for people, unless they are experts in that particular field, to have really thought deeply about the topic under discussion.

There is a saying I refer to often. “The most expensive advice you can get is free advice.” If you want to talk to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, you’re going to have to pay for it. Otherwise, you’re going to end up paying so much more.

When it comes to how to live better, everyone has an opinion. Most of the advice given is based on clichés that we wish were true, but just aren’t. It’s time to take the red pill and wake up from the fantasy.


Stupid Expectation 1: If You Play Fair, Life Will Be Fair in Return

Newsflash, life has never been, nor will it ever be fair. Mother nature doesn’t care about you. She doesn’t hate you either. She is neutral. As we journey through life, we are generally told to play fair. Whilst those like myself who believe in being honourable know it is important to play fair, I am under no illusion that such fairness will be returned.

Life is not fair. You playing fair can sometimes make a difference, but it often does not. No matter how wonderful you are, you’re going to get screwed over. It’s a fact! I guarantee it.

People betray you at the last minute, computer systems break down after months of preparation when you need them most, accidents occur where you are injured even though you were doing the right thing. Yep, I’ve experienced all of these setbacks and I’m sure I’m not alone.

However, the key is to you learn from each setback and put measures in place to prevent recurrence. As you adapt to each unfair event, you develop an unfair advantage by having a greater sense of foresight. You become better at predicting setbacks which makes life look like it has suddenly become more fair, but in reality, you’re just smarter.


2. People Will Treat You the Way You Treat them

Another fantasy! Now, emotions are contagious and if you really work on making people feel good around you, they are likely to return the favor. However, this is not always the case. Some people are so self-absorbed it doesn’t matter what you do.

There is also the question of standards. The standard you set in terms of treating others is not universal. Some will be inspired by you to raise their standard and some will not. For those that do not, it is best to find a way to avoid them as much as possible.

If we treat others well, we tend to expect such behavior to be returned. A better way to think about it is you are going to maintain a sense of dignity and class no matter how others respond. What others say about you and how they treat you is much more a reflection of them rather than of you. Keep that in mind when having to deal with negative people.


3. Give, Give, Give and You’ll Receive

This is true. Keep giving and you will receive. You will receive more and more requests for free gifts. You train people how to treat you. If all you do is give, all others will do is take. Surprising people by giving more than you expect in return is fine as long as you know such interaction needs to change at some point.

The reality is people want most what they can’t have. If you continually give everything you have away, whether that is a product, a service, your time, your assistance, the value of what you have diminishes. If you want to be respected, you must pull away when you’re most tempted to offer more.

In sales, it means as soon as the prospect has been educated enough to realize how valuable what you have on offer is, you must ask for the sale. In relationships it means setting and forcing your own demands on occasion. And of course the big one, learning that it is more than okay to so ‘no’.


4. Credentials Create Trust

Once upon a time this was true. However it’s just not enough any more. Before social media and regular ranking systems, you could often rely on your credentials alone as an illustration of expertise and potential value.

Now days, it is service that creates trust. Social opinion is too strong to be ignored. You may have fantastic training and credentials but if you are not creating the right experience for those who use your products or services, not only will they leave you, they will publicly tell everyone how much you suck!

The classic example of this is the highly credentialized doctors with terrible social skills. Even if they are brilliant, if patients feel like they are just a number or feel disrespected in some other way, they will let others know and it will affect business. There have also been studies that show emotionally and socially intelligent doctors don’t get sued. If patients feel their doctor really does care about them, if a major medical error is made, patients tend to be significantly more forgiving.


5. If they Like Me, they Will Follow/Buy from me

You hear this one all the time. Likeability leads to follows and sales. Of course, being liked is definitely an advantage, but it’s not really the reason why most people will follow or buy from you.

For people to really become a fan, you’ve got frequently help them uncover and scratch their biggest itch. Sometimes, the itch is a need for more entertainment and so if you are a likeable and entertaining person, you will obtain many fans.

However, in most niches likeability is usually not enough. What they really want you to do is solve their biggest problems. You need to demonstrate that you have a practical and simple solution to help them overcome their deepest fears and reach their greatest ambitions. At the end of the day, respect and value will always outweigh likeability.


6. Do what you Love and You’ll Find a Way to Make a Living 

Ever heard or used the phrase “starving artist?” You may know one. You may be one. They will always exist. The “you can do anything” motto seems to be bigger now than ever before. It is leading to a lot of broken dreams, hearts and homes.

I am the last person in the world who would ever tell you to stop pursuing your dreams. However, life is about more than just your dream. We all have responsibilities that need to be taken care of. I like to say – follow your dreams but also take care of your responsibilities. Nobody respects a starry-eyed deadbeat.

The “you can do anything” philosophy has created a lot of selfish a-holes. Dreamers who forgo key family and work responsibilities with the promise of making it up to them all someday. Well you have to remember life is not fair and no matter how hard you try, sometimes you don’t win. You may never make a living from your passions. Sometimes you achieve a shallow win where all your social bridges were burned in the process. Therefore, is it still a victory? Follow your dreams but take care of your responsibilities.


7. Follow the Exact Steps/System and it Will Work

This is one of the biggest sham promises you regularly see. The secret is in the word exact. No system works 100% of the time. Anyone who says it does is a charlatan that should be shot.

The reality is everybody is different and so no system perfectly fits into an individual’s lifestyle or situation. So when it doesn’t work and it is questioned, the owner of the ‘foolproof’ system simply has to say you didn’t follow it exactly like it was layed out. It must be your laziness or lack of belief that is leading to failure.

In fairness to the creator of the system, the reality is most people do not properly implement a system. However, there are still some that do everything they can and still fail. That’s the point, sometimes it just doesn’t work. However, that is no reason to give in. Take what lessons you can from the experience and continue forward. Hopefully with enough experience, you create your own system that will work for you.



The reality is its tough. I offer the above myths not to discourage you, but to help you realize this is what you face. The secret to all of this comes down to you have to do what you do because you love it and it is rewarding enough in and of itself. That is the only motivator that will allow you to go the distance and avoid the smoke and mirror fantasy clichéd promises of the world around you.


Have you recently come across any other stupid expectations? Let me know.

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