Keeping expectations low

You've heard the expression, keep your expectations low.

Why? Because it saves you from too much disappointment when things don't work out.

Domeena Renshaw, MD, one of my mentors, liked to put this in mathematical terms. I can't remember exactly how she worked out the equation, but I've since made up my own, based on what I remember from hers.

Achievement divided by Expectations equals Satisfaction.

We shoot for a whole number.

So let's say there are 10 items on a spelling test. I haven't studied for the test,(aw) but I still expect to get a 10 because in the past, my spelling's been pretty good.

Unfortunately, there are lots of hard words.

I only achieve (A) 5 out of 10 (E). A/E = S. 5/10 = 1/2 (S). I end up with a freaking fraction for S, Satisfaction.

A FRACTION! This doc wanted a whole number. In life we want at least a whole number plus a tiny fraction, if necessary. Never a mere fraction, okay?

If I had gone into that test expecting only a 5, as opposed to a 10, then it would have looked like this. 5/5 = 1. The 1, the Satisfaction Quotient, is a whole number. yay.

So if you're starting therapy with a new therapist? Keep the E low.

If you're going on a first date with a cute guy? Expect the worst. The absolute worst. Make that E a 2.

If you told a neighbor you'll dog sit while she's out of town? It's not too late to change your mind. Expect gnawed shoes.

If you spent $300 on a couple of opera tickets based on a great C.D.? Expect the music will be fine, but the sets and costumes will be lame.

If you buy a hundred lottery tickets thinking you'll win? Expect to lose the whole enchilada.

If you expect something fabulous for your birthday? Expect everyone to forget about it altogether.

You get the idea. Hedge your bets, play it safe, and may all of your numbers be whole.

Oh, and be happy with whacha' got, right?

Copyright 2006, TherapyDoc


I've definitely heard this, and have actually lived by this, but there comes a time in one's life when it's OK to have higher expectations. And having once worked for an opera company, for $300 per ticket those sets and costumes had better be stellar, ESP. if you're _not_ at the Met, LOL!!
therapydoc said…
We're talking the Lyric, and usually the Lyric Opera is wonderful (we go to one a season, $150.00 a ticket, same day purchase). One day I'll go to the Met, please G-d.
Becky Andrews said…
Great post -- agree. I am a therapist in Utah - love your blog.

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