What if I told you that if someone repeatedly disappoints, frustrates, or annoys you - it's your own fault?
Would that make you stop reading?
I hope not, because if you keep reading, I’ll also tell you how to fix it.
But before I can, we have to answer this question:
Our disappointment, frustration, anger – or our joy and excitement, for that matter – doesn’t come from what other people do.
Other people don’t “beam” negative or positive emotions into our bodies. If they did, then everyone around them would feel the same emotions at the same time.
The emotions we have about other people come from our own thinking. And in this case, from how reality measures up to our hopes and expectations.
When reality turns out to be less desirable than what we were expecting (or hoping), we react with negative emotions.
When reality turns out to be more desirable than what we were expecting, we react with positive ones.
Makes sense, right?
Well, the thing is, that in the vast majority of cases, people will act the way they usually act.
So if your friend usually grabs the last slice of pizza, you can expect him to do that every time you eat pizza together.
And if your other friend isn't very good at keeping secrets, you can expect that any secret you tell him will be shared at some point.
If these behaviors annoy you, it’s because you’re expecting or hoping that these friends will do things that are not typical of them. And that’s just not very likely.
If you, however, fully accept the fact that these people will continue to do what they’ve always done, things change.
Reality starts to match your expectations. And that will (more or less) eliminate your negative emotions towards them in those situations.
And when other people surpass your expectations by unexpectedly doing something (that you consider) more desirable than you were expecting –you’ll feel great about it.
You can also now adapt to the situation, to give yourself more of the practical results that you want.
When there are two slices of pizza left, you can grab both. Or speak up about it before your friend grabs the last one. Or, you know, accept him for the glutton that he is and let him have it.
And as for your other friend, you should know better than to tell him any secrets that it is important that he keeps to himself.
Simply put: If you expect someone to act differently than they normally do, just because you want them to – you are the one that’s setting yourself up for disappointment or frustration.
To stop being disappointed in others, we have to do correct expectation management.
In this case, that means to start expecting of others not what they say they’ll do, or how we think they should do things –but how they have shown us that they usually do things.
How do they act in the majority of cases? That is how we should expect them to act always.
When we do, our expectations will be met far more often, and we can make better plans that will more often get us what we want.
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
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