Expectations seem to be the one thing in life that will let you down consistently, so why bother having them? To me, it seems that too many people focus on setting expectations. For example, people expect to succeed by “working hard,” but how the hell would that ever help you? It’s such a vague statement that it’s not telling you anything. It is an expectation, not a goal. Goals are what people need to focus on, because when you start to expect to succeed, you should truly be expecting to fail.
The one thing in life that seems to let me down each time is an expectation. If I expect a 20% return on my account from trading in a month, which has happened multiple times, it doesn’t happen. That expectation lets me down. You get cocky, greedy, and you lose focus on what the important aspects are. But it applies to more than just FX trading. It applies to every aspect of life. If I expect something good to happen, the opposite does. If I set a goal to make something good to happen, it happens. Sometimes it isn’t exactly what I had wanted to happen, but usually that turns out to be a good thing.
People often think that working “hard” will determine how successful you are in life, but in truth, how does that make sense whatsoever? People essentially tell themselves that if they “work hard” at anything, they will succeed, but what exactly is “hard?” It is so vague, that it will not determine anything for your life, and it’s a growing and consistent issue, as we are taught as children to “work hard.” It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that simply working hard will take you anywhere. Set goals for how exactly you’ll work hard. We’re taught to think to succeed, but we are never taught what it actually takes to succeed and how to think of ourselves as a successful person. Because we are taught to think we should succeed, we are given unrealistic expectations, as typically, we have no clue how to become successful, aside from the good ole “working hard” method.
Let me simplify this. The “working hard” mindset is, well, bullshit, and it will take you nowhere in life. If you think for a second that working hard will take you anywhere, you need to reconsider your life, because having that expectation that you are working hard will lead to success is ridiculous. Instead of working hard, work smart; it’ll be much more beneficial to your life and overall success.
So, what do I mean by working smart? Let’s break this down.
1. Set Goals
I’ve been told by many mentors to set goals for life, and once I finally started setting SPECIFIC goals for myself, they started being accomplished. “Become successful” and “Own a Lamborghini” are not goals; they are wishes. A goal is a task you are going to accomplish in order to fulfill those wishes.
Don’t take what I said the wrong way; I’m all for dreaming. After all, Apple was not started with an average and realistic mindset. It was started by a dream and vision. I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t dream of owning a supercar, or making over a million dollars per year. In fact, I encourage that; however, the more you dream, the more specific goals you should set for yourself.
There are all kinds of statistics I could bore you with about how writing down goals makes you this certain percentage more likely to achieve a goal, but I don’t believe those are true. How do you measure success on a percentage? How do you know that writing that goal down was the reason that person succeeded? In truth, you don’t. It’s an educated guess, so we’ll skip that part. However, I do encourage you to write them down. Forget how much more likely you will be to achieve it. Just focus on achieving it.
Not only do I encourage you to write them down, I challenge you right now to get out a pen and paper (multiple sheets, if necessary) and write down everything of worth you would like to own in your life. This could be a number of houses, cars, computers, net worth, businesses, planes, boats, etc. Anything you think you may want to own in your life, write it down. Personally, mine was two pages worth of items all over the pages. Now, take out another piece of paper and write down your goals as to how you’re going to purchase them all. Be as extravagant and ridiculous as you want. Being “realistic” means nothing in this case. If you think you want one now, there’s a huge chance you’ll want it later in life. Write it down, and make goals to get it.
2. Take Action
Setting goals is one thing, but something people rarely talk about is taking action on those goals. When you read these “incredible” statistics about how writing down goals makes you X percentage more likely to achieve them, they rarely talk about why. They make it seem as if writing down a goal will make you more likely to accomplish it, but they rarely mention why this is. In truth, it could be down to multiple aspects from reminding yourself of that goal, to being more dedicated to achieving it. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, as it can be different for each person.
What it comes down to, in essence, is that these people took action. They took action with writing down their goals, and they’ll take action to achieve them. Taking action is the one way to determine a successful outcome. Even if what you’re going for fails, you’ve still succeeded. You’ve made it farther than most people will, and that actually does mean something. No, not like a participation award, but rather, you’ve learned something that a lot of people will never take the initiative to learn. Success isn’t something that will fall into your lap. The media may make it seem that way, but that is completely false. What the media shows, there is usually 95% more that they don’t show. How do you show the challenges a person was faced with in an article or 60 minute news story? You don’t.
Take action. It’ll take more work than you expect, but it will be worth it. You can’t seriously expect you’ll get anywhere without taking action on your goals.
3. Change Your Mindset
Your mindset determines all, no matter what you’re doing. If you’re a day trader, you mindset has to be stable, focused, and be able to see the bigger vision in things for when the day, week, or month goes against you. If you’re a fry cook, your mindset determines everything. If you have a positive mindset and outlook on what you’re doing, you’ll go much farther than someone who thinks they’re just doing something to get by. The person working to live is the person who missed out on following their dreams. You should never be doing something to get by in life. You should, however, be doing things to get to the next level and reach your goals.
Having a positive mindset is one of the most important things that you do for yourself. I truly encourage you to start looking for new ways to view life if you don’t like your current situation. And do not ever see it as just “getting by” or “just a part of life,” because it’s not. It’s what you accept that determines your situation.
Forget about working hard and having expectations to succeed. Set goals to live a life you love and dream about. Take action upon those goals, and alter your mindset to make them happen.