How to avoid disappointments – Podcast

Happiness is when our needs are met. When our needs are not met, we get disappointed or upset. But nobody tells us how to avoid disappointments in the first place. All disappointments can be avoided if we can manage our own expectations correctly. Here I will discuss my own framework that has worked successfully for me.

I would love to hear how this framework helped you. Do share your comments. 🙂

You can listen to more episodes of ‘A Better Living’ podcast here.

Podcast Intro music credits:
Track Name: Good vibes only
Artist: Elephant Funeral
Album: Unfinished tales

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A Better Living
A Better Living

Moumita publishes podcasts on self-improvements, self-care, developing life skills & living a better quality of life🎙️💃✨
Your journey to a successful and fulfilling life begins here.

About Moumita: A senior product manager by profession (Ex- Amazon, Walt Disney). Computer science engineer and MBA (ISB) by education. She has a total of 14 years of work experience. She loves reading and learning about human psychology, career success, astrology, space, the origin of life, and esoteric subjects. Recently she underwent a spiritual awakening and discovered that she is an Andromedan Starseed.

You can find more content on her main website: www.abetterliving.co. Or contact her at support@abetterliving.co.

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How to avoid disappointments

Happiness is when our needs are met. When our needs are not met, we get disappointed or upset. But nobody tells us how to avoid disappointments in the first place. All disappointments can be avoided if we can manage our own expectations correctly. Here I will discuss my own framework that has worked successfully for me.

I would love to hear how this framework helped you. Do visit my website to drop your comments and suggestions or check out the podcast transcript: https://abetterliving.co/how-to-avoid-disappointments/

Connect with me on social media:
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/a-better-living
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hellobetterliving

Intro music credits:
Track Name: Good vibes only
Artist: Elephant Funeral
Album: Unfinished tales

Podcast transcript

[00:00:00]Hey, hi everyone. I’m Moumita. Today I would be talking about how you can manage your expectations and disappointments. The idea of doing these podcasts is about sharing the best and the most efficient ways to work that maximize our happiness. Because that’s what I am trying to do too. I work as a senior product manager have 14 years of experience. And have worked for companies like Amazon and Walt Disney.

Today I’m going to talk about expectation management. If you want to understand what that really looks like, I’ll give you some scenarios to understand what I mean. Have you been disappointed lately by someone? Someone who was supposed to do something, but they didn’t. And you are noticing that such disappointments are also cropping up in other aspects of your life too?

Meaning people are simply not living up to the expectations, not doing what they promised. [00:01:00] Or just plain avoiding things that they were appointed to do. And, them not following through their commitment is upsetting you because it is affecting what you are supposed to do. Now we are human beings. We depend on others to get things done.

Right? We cannot do everything on our own or simply don’t have the time or skills to do everything. But then again, we face problems like these, where people we are dependent on just don’t do what is expected of them. This could be people at work, people you hired for some personal work people at school, your family members, spouse, or sometimes even friends. When I was younger, I actually started learning everything by myself so that I didn’t have to depend on others for anything. I hated when people did not deliver what they promised. But eventually, I got burned out trying to do everything by myself because that’s not possible.

Even if you learn everything, still you [00:02:00] won’t be perfect and all those things, right? So after struggling with so many disappointments, I learned two things. One is I have to heal this thought or this pain that, I just can’t depend on other people because they keep disappointing me. There is some negative thought that always comes up whenever I’m disappointed by somebody.

So I knew I had to do something. And I think that is where you are also getting upset when people don’t do what they had promised. I want you to start resetting expectations. There is a way to handle your own expectations from others, which actually does not upset you or disappoint you in any way. And you can still get what you need from other people.

 I have learned it the hard way after a lot of trial and error. And this works very well. You [00:03:00] can apply it in any area of your life and be successful with that. So today we are going to talk about two things, how to handle our own expectations and also how to heal ourselves when we are upset.

Now, what I have observed is like whenever I did not attach myself or didn’t much care about the outcome of some event or some interaction or something, then it did not hurt me much whenever things didn’t go out as per plan. Because I was emotionally detached from it. But whenever I had a very strong attachment to the outcome of something that I was expecting to happen; when I had a strong expectation from something to go right then I suffered when it didn’t go as per the plans.

So I observed that detachment is everything. [00:04:00] Like you might be wondering that how can I expect something from someone, expect an outcome, and still be detached from it? There is a way to do that. And we are going to talk about that framework. So expectation management is everything. And here I’m talking about our own expectations.

So managing other people’s expectations requires a different podcast of its own because that is a different technique that we can use to maximize our happiness. As human beings, it’s not possible for us to not expect something in this world, right? Expectation is natural and being attached to expectation is also natural.

Now, if you feel I’m talking too theoretical, I’ll give you some examples. Say, you are getting married to somebody and they said they were going to be the sole bread earner. But after marrying, you discovered that they did not live up to that expectation. And you had to get into a job and you were [00:05:00] not mentally ready for it. You did not sign up for that. And you did not want that too.

Or you signed up for a job and there they started expecting you to do something else that is not your skill or even in your job description. And now you are doing things that does not help you grow in your career or learn new skills that would help you.

Or you hired a plumber or a carpenter to do some renovation in your house and they did not do it, whatever you ask them to do, within the time. Whatever time you had set for them. So you can pick any example from your life, be it family or work or friendship or anywhere. And try to remember a situation where you were really expecting something from somebody and you are not consciously aware of what your expectation was. But you thought that it is given. They would know, right- what is expected of them? And it did not go as for the plan and which upset you. [00:06:00] Just think of any such event or any such incident in your life.

 The framework that I going to discuss today with you, which has worked very well for me is something that you can use as a retrospective on that event that I asked you to think about. And see how it could have panned out if you could use that framework. So that going forward, you can start using this framework and reduce the number of times you can get upset.

I hope I’m making sense. Most of the time when we entered into any kind of agreement with somebody informally like you’re hiring somebody to do some work at home, or we are joining a new job, or even our job profile changes or our manager changes; or relationship with family and friends -we always are expecting them to do something.

We have certain expectations in our heads as to what they should be doing. And that’s human and that’s very natural. So the framework that [00:07:00] we want to use here is first- take any situation, any situation where you have some dependency from somebody else where you expect somebody else to do something for you.

The first thing that you need to have is awareness of your expectation. What exactly do you want them to do? What should they be doing? And why do you need it from them? I think these two questions are the most important things to understand. Your subconscious expectation, which you haven’t thought about. Because the moment you become aware of what you want from somebody else, that is when you can frame other people’s thought process also, based on what you want. We’ll get to that next. So that’s the first exercise- awareness of what we are expecting from others. That’s one.

Secondly, [00:08:00] recognize that what will happen if my expectation is not met by that person? How will it affect me? Ask that question to yourself. Now that you know, what you want from somebody else, you ask this question that- what if they don’t do that and how will it affect me? What will happen? Get into the specifics in your mind. Think about it, write it down. I always prefer writing things down. So say you expect your spouse to pay for your school fees or to do the dishes.

What will happen if they don’t do it? How will it affect you? And why is it important? I think the why part is far more important than anything else. But first, become aware about how it’s going to hurt you or harm you or upset you if they don’t do it. So the second step is to recognize.[00:09:00]

The third step is- diffusion of expectation. Diffusing it. What are the other ways I can meet the same expectation if it doesn’t work out? What if that other person doesn’t do what I expected of them. What are the other ways I can have that met? Are there multiple ways of meeting my needs? If yes, what are my backup plans? What are my contingency plans? If whatever that I expected does not turn out to be the way I expected it to be. I think this is the most important and critical part of expectation management. Because like I said, the moment you are attached to what you need from one person and if you don’t get that, that’s when disappointment and upsetting and pain and all those things happen, right?

The entire objective of expectation [00:10:00] management is to avoid disappointments. And the only way you can do that is by practicing detachment. Now detachment happens when you are not strictly expecting that need, that wants, that you have from somebody else to be met by that person only. And diffusion of expectation- this step allows you to figure out other ways that you can have this need met if this doesn’t work out. This is what helps you be detached from that one person because you have a backup plan. That’s when you don’t become super upset because you know that, okay if something really unforeseen happens and they genuinely could not do something and it affected you badly; then you at least have a different backup plan to fall back on. To get your needs met. You are not also super angry or super upset with the other person. You at least have the [00:11:00] opportunity to give them a chance to do it right the next time. Beware aware of people who are repeatedly disappointing you about the same thing.

You should definitely not work with such people. So if you want to hire a carpenter at your home to do some work, but you have a past experience of this person, not doing things, or finishing things on time, or delaying things or charging extra by working an extra number of days.

 You already know that this is a problem with this person. You can go about asking other people about this person, people who have employed this guy. If they have the same experience or not. I mean, in that case, if you are still going ahead and investing your time, effort, and money into this person, then you are already setting yourself up for disappointment. Because this is the nature of this person and they will not change for you.

So if you are disappointed with their experience, well, it was your fault because you were trusting a person who has consistently shown, they [00:12:00] cannot be trusted in the past. So why make such poor word decisions? Find somebody else to do that. In the digital age, you can hire anybody, right? It’s not difficult to find the right people for the right thing.

Say, for example, if your spouse doesn’t want to do the dishes, then rent a dishwasher. Buy a dishwasher. Or if you are living in a country in south Southeast Asia, where you can hire maids who can do that for you, do that. Why impose your expectation on somebody when they are not willing to do it? I think this was one of the most important steps of diffusing your own expectations by asking these key questions. So I’ll repeat them. What are the other ways I can meet the same expectation if it doesn’t work out? Are there multiple ways to meet my needs? If yes, what are they? And what [00:13:00] are my backup plans? So your backup plan is – if this person does not deliver, how can I get my needs met in the other way?

That is your backup. And you can have multiple backup plans if you want. Now, a lot of people here would actually pause and say that- Hey, why are we expecting the worst? Isn’t this more anxiety-driven? It’s like Murphy’s law- whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Murphy’s law is more fear and anxiety-driven.

Whereas this approach- this is contingency planning. Where you get complete control over the outcome in your favor because you have planned every scenario to your advantage. You are not at the mercy of some unforeseen situation happening and come ruining your plan. You have thought about those unforeseen things and you have planned what you are going to do if those things happen. Your plans, your needs will still be met, even if [00:14:00] unforeseen things happen because you have thought about it. Take back control of your life, your mind, the outcomes that you expect. Controlling is not as bad as you think like most people would say. Controlling becomes bad when you are trying to control other people. Controlling your own mind, your own fate, your own life is not bad.

You cannot control other people saying that -“No, you should do this or do that”, which is basically your expectations of them. And that is where all the unhappiness begins. Other people have other priorities, right? They may not match your expectations. So you have to be vocal about your expectations to them.

You have to do that expectation setting, which I’ll cover in a different podcast. As to how to go about setting your expectations with others. But before you even go there, you have to manage your own expectations. First, you have to first understand that it is okay to control your own life and the things that [00:15:00] happen to you, control the outcomes.

Yes, it is possible. You can actually control the outcome of everything in your life. Because I have done that and it requires some sort of thinking and planning. It is entirely possible. Most people don’t want to do that because they don’t think that things could go wrong.

They are optimistic, which is not a bad thing. But if you have been facing too much disappointment and too much upsetting recently, and you’re seeing this pattern come up, then your first tool to go to would be expectation management of your own self first. This is that step. Yeah. And then the final step of this framework of managing your own expectation is -set other people’s expectations. Now that you are aware of what you want and how exactly you want it to be met, you go to other people who you depend on and tell them- this is what I want and ask them if they are okay [00:16:00] with that. They may not be always okay with whatever you’re saying.

They may have a different idea. You have to accommodate that because if they say no to the way you have proposed, you need to have a backup plan when your need is not met.

 So there is this quotation from Bhagwad Gita. So Gita is a Hindu scripture from the epic Mahabharata. And a lot of us, Indians, really find a lot of value in what is being said in Bhagavad Gita.

So I’ll share one of those quotations in Sanskrit, which says-

nirāśhīr yata-chittātmā tyakta-sarva-parigrahaḥ
śhārīraṁ kevalaṁ karma kurvan nāpnoti kilbiṣham

Bhagwad Gita

What it means is-” free from expectations and the sense of ownership. With mind and intellect fully controlled. [00:17:00] They (which means people actually) incur no sin, even though performing actions by one’s body. Even Bhagavad Gita is talking about not having expectations.

Gita talks about an impossible way of managing our expectations, which is- not to expect at all. Which is not possible for human beings. But what we can do instead is manage our own expectations and fully control our mind, our thoughts, and the outcomes that we want. Because that would minimize the unhappiness that we experience in this life.

As a summary, I would say reset your expectations when things don’t go as per your plan. Instead sort of expecting others to do exactly what you want. Because the moment you start expecting from others, there are chances that they may or may not do that, or maybe do it grudgingly. This will cause unhappiness and suffering to both.[00:18:00]

Instead, give them an option. Tell them what you want and give them an option as to what you want and what’s your solution or way of doing it. And what do they think? Listen to some alternate proposals that they may have. If they give a third solution, which you haven’t thought about, which solves both of your needs, then go for that.

Don’t compromise on your own needs. Or don’t even make the other person compromise because it will cause silent suffering and resentment. We all know how compromise feels like. Compromise is never the best solution. So find the solution that is a win-win for both of you. If they have to compromise, they will resent you, and they will not be open to you or be helpful to you in the future. Because they will think- it is only you who stands to gain [00:19:00] from this transaction and they don’t gain anything from this transaction or relationship. They will start resenting you because you don’t think about them. You only are thinking about your own needs. You don’t care about whether their needs are met or not.

If you say, for example, can’t agree upon any solution with them, then involve a third party who can help you reach a logical conclusion. Otherwise, you always have alternatives as to how to meet your needs or meet your expectations. If this person is not able to do it the way you want. Just don’t accept and agree to accept nonsense and silently suffer. Don’t make the other person also suffer.

Sometimes we don’t think about others, but only ourselves. We don’t think how our words, actions influence others and what other problems they may be facing, which we don’t know. And our expectations would actually make their life more miserable without us knowing. So always try to [00:20:00] find those things out.

At the same time, also make sure you speak up about your needs clearly. You say or set your expectations very clearly. Otherwise, they’ll simply be ignored or not even be considered by others because people are always thinking about their own selves, right? So you have to be very clear on what do you want, to avoid future disappointment. Now that you have gotten a grasp of how to manage your expectations- one thing that you will experience, which is that one thing I was talking about at the beginning of this podcast, is that even after you manage all these expectations and do all these techniques, you may still feel upset. This is where the healing of past pain and trauma from disappointments comes into the picture.

When someone lets you down if you feel triggered. And gives rise to those specific negative thoughts that- “why does this happen [00:21:00] with me always?”, or “God really doesn’t want good things in my life”. Or those kinds of negative generalizations or negative thoughts that keep recurring in your head that every time face disappointments with somebody. If you have some negative thoughts, which you feel like- these situations are repeating in your life, then you need to heal your trauma and that terrible feeling. Because that trauma was caused to you in the past, maybe in your childhood. And all painful thoughts or all negative thoughts, origin from trauma that has been caused to you.

So you have to go and heal that trauma first. And once you heal this trauma, then you have to heal this negative belief after that. Once you have done both the process. Then even when you face disappointments in the future, it will not trigger you. It will not upset you. You might be [00:22:00] annoyed. But you will be able to just go on about your day. It won’t affect you the way it is affecting you right now. If you don’t heal this trauma, which is causing that negative thought and the negative feeling and the feeling of upset- then just one more repetition of this kind of disappointment from somebody, one hit to your past pain and your back spiraling down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts, hurt feelings and whatnot.

And your relationship with the other person also ultimately might get ruined because of your high expectations. Because you do not plan any alternative as to how to get your needs met. No matter how much you do your expectation management, if you don’t know how to heal your pain, then all your plans and management will go out of the window.

The moment you feel pain, everything else stops mattering. So, heal your pain first. Realize that you are much bigger than this [00:23:00] ordinary mortal life that you have. Know your true self. Develop self-awareness. And I will try to have more podcasts about how to develop self-awareness. Because that is a practice, I think all of us, regardless of our age, our work, or anything need to do. Because that is the first step towards mental peace and contentment in life.

Once you have healed yourself and discovered your real self, your true self, you will not act like a kitten. When you are in a bad situation, you will act like the reality- the lion that you are. You will realize what you truly are and you will act accordingly. So self-awareness is a very important thing, which I will cover in a separate podcast.

Even healing of trauma drama requires its own podcast because there’s a lot of details I would like [00:24:00] to get into. So for now, I think I would summarize the framework that I gave you to handle your own expectations. That is first awareness of what it is. The second is recognize- what will happen if it doesn’t get met.

Third is diffusing your expectations by finding alternatives as to how to get that need met. And fourth is act- Act on setting your expectations and other people’s expectations and have your backup plan ready. So ARDA- you can use this acronym to remember these four steps and see if you can start using it in your own life, wherever you are facing disappointments.

Share your thoughts. I would love to hear how it went because I’ve seen it has worked very successfully with mine. Do share your thoughts and comments and feedback. I would love to hear from you.[00:25:00]

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3 thoughts on “How to avoid disappointments – Podcast”

  1. It is a treat to listen to these podcast. Anytime you start listening to this, you feel attached in an instant.

    We read and listen about avoiding the disappointments from other sources as well but Moumita actually brings a different and useful perspectives.

    ARDA – Awareness of concerns, Recognition of impact, Diffusion by finding alternatives, Act on expectations

    This framework has really stayed with me and seems very relevant in day to day life.

    Eager to listen to the next topics that will come in this series.

    Reply
  2. Couldn’t agree more on resetting expectations and detachment. Loved the framework. Well, I was on this path for some time some bit. However, hadn’t done the realignment of expectations instead I was working on zero expectations. But this podcast provided some fresh perspective. Specially healing the pain first.

    Reply

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