Not so great ex­pec­ta­tions?

Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

From the mo­ment we can talk and un­der­stand we are pro­grammed to aim high. “Study hard for a great ca­reer,” is the mantra in most peo­ple’s homes and mine was no ex­cep­tion. As soon as I came home from school, I’d get out my books and do two to three hours’ work to get the best grades pos­si­ble. My path was planned out at a young age and I fol­lowed it to the let­ter, mean­ing I was work­ing on na­tional news­pa­pers in London – my dream job – in my early 20s.

A *ahem* few years on and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, a re­spectable ca­reer plus a fam­ily. I am happy and have al­ways aimed high – push­ing my­self to be and do the best I can. But ac­cord­ing to ex­perts I might have been hap­pier if I’d aimed lower. Re­searchers sug­gest, that way, rather than be­ing dis­ap­pointed at not achiev­ing ev­ery­thing we’d like, we can cel­e­brate the small – lower set – wins.

“Low­er­ing your ex­pec­ta­tions doesn’t have to be a neg­a­tive thing,” ar­gues celebrity life coach Sloan Sheri­dan-Wil­liams. “It can be very ful­fill­ing and re­ward­ing if done the right way.” The key, she says, is mak­ing sure the goals are chal­leng­ing but re­al­is­tic, so that you can be mo­ti­vated but also feel like you are mak­ing progress. “To en­sure you feel hap­pier with­out sell­ing your­self short, it is cru­cial that you lower your ex­pec­ta­tions while also rais­ing your stan­dards.”

So you do less but do it bet­ter, the ex­perts in­sist. Per­son­ally, I will al­ways aim high – where’s the en­joy­ment in low­er­ing the bar just to tick things off a to-do list? If we’d all done that we’d never have dis­cov­ered new con­ti­nents, cures for world­wide epi­demics or ad­vanced over the gen­er­a­tions. Turn to page 46 to read more on this – and let me know what you think.

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