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Meditation May

Posted by Zak Reid

It’s May.  Springtime or Autumn, depending on your GPS.
Either way, it’s May.

This May let’s Meditate.


I just moved from a big city to a small town. From cement and smog to fresh air, trees, lakes and a volcano. I just moved to Pucón, Chile.

Meditation May Pucón Chile Quick Me Ups Instagram QMU

My girlfriend and I at Lago Villarrica, Pucón, Chile. From QMU Instagram

That lake is literally a 5 minute walk from where I’m currently living.

I did it to change everything. I did it to get back to myself. I feel like the longer I spent in a city without much contact with nature, the farther away I got from my true self… from my “inner me”.

“If it’s not working, change everything.” Zak Reid

So I decided to make a big life change. Simplify my life and work to better myself. I thought – what better way than start with daily meditations?


Then I thought about you…
Have you ever meditated before?
Have you practiced consistently?
Have you done it enough to see the benefits?

Meditation is powerful.

Believe in Yourself.

Posted by Zak Reid

Do you believe in…. you?

When you undertake a new, challenging task, do you feel that you’ll accomplish it, or are you overwhelmed with doubts and questions?

Self belief is a very important part of everything we do, whether we realize it or not. Our self confidence can be seen in the way we walk, communicate, work and play.

I recently watched a video about the importance of self confidence and was presented a very thought-provoking scenario from Jaret Grossman, summarized as follows:

Imagine that you open your eyes and you’re in a hospital. The doctor tells you that you’ve been in a coma for a number of days. You then realize that you can’t recall your past, you don’t even remember who you are…

Now, how would you conduct yourself if the doctor informs you that you’re an elite Navy Seal and that they want you back as soon as possible? How do you think it would affect your rehabilitation and overcoming that challenge? How would you carry yourself differently?

What if the doctor tells you that you’re a pianist? Or how about a renowned actor? If you believed that you were a very accomplished and talented actor – it would dictate the way you spoke, carried yourself and acted in front of the camera. 

This scenario interests me because we’re not discussing making a physical change in your life, simply modifying what you believe. Even more interesting is that we are in control of this process, we decide what we believe – we are in control of how we see ourselves.

Believe in Yourself.

There’s a famous saying – fake it until you make it.

This saying encourages that you outwardly show confidence in a new situation, conducting yourself in a manner that a successful, experienced person would, until that outward confidence is internalized. This saying can apply to the first day on a new job, writing your first book, or walking into a networking event when you don’t know anybody…

In this situation, arriving to the event, you may feel anxious and uncertain, but instead of letting that take over – in which case you may end up standing in the corner with your hands in your pockets, speaking with nobody – you flip a switch to exude confidence. You imagine this is your 1,000th event and you “know” that by the end of the night you’ll have made a few very valuable contacts.

Each interaction now has a purpose. You’re an expert here, and each person you speak with is better-off for it. You change from a feeling of: I’m sorry to bother you but can I please have a moment of your precious time – to –  my time is very valuable and I’m choosing to spend it with you. This subtle change is reflected in your tone of speech, your strength of gaze and body posture. People can sense desperation and anxiety just as they can sense confidence and ease.


“To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.” – Sugar Ray Robinson

Ok, ok, so that’s probably enough imagining for today. I just wanted to take us outside of our bodies for a moment, imagining how a self confident version of ourselves looks very different than a self conscious version. It starts in our mind and reflects outwardly in a million subtle manners.

Everyone has their moments of doubt, even the most successful people, but the difference is they leave that space quickly. Other people decide to dwell on these insecurities and doubts, and they end up living there. Most of us are probably some combination of these two extremes.

Let’s work to be the most self-believing version of ourselves that we can.

If we want to be successful, and have other people believe in us, then it makes sense that we need to be the first to believe. Why would I expect you to believe in me, if I can’t even find that belief in myself?

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.” – Muhammad Ali

There is science behind what I’m saying. One case that illustrates how important self belief is: girls in mathematics / science. While the origin of the problem can be debated, the fact is many girls aren’t as confident with math / science as they are with other subjects, or in compariston to boys, and this is unfortunately represented in test scores:

Girls “lack self-confidence” in their ability to solve mathematics and science problems and achieve worse results than they otherwise would, despite outperforming boys overall, according to an international study of gender equality in schools by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

[…]British boys outperformed girls in science exercises by 20 percentage points – but the gap disappeared when the performances were adjusted for levels of self-confidence. In other words: girls who said they were good at science performed as well as boys with the same attitude, while girls and boys lacking in self-confidence achieved results that were similar to each other.– From The Guardian.

In the study, it concluded that girls worry more about the difficulty of their math classes (girls 56% vs. boys 39%), were more nervous while doing math problems (girls 33% vs. boys 20%) and were more worried about receiving poor grades in math courses (girls 66% vs. boys 49%).

Ok, so now that we’ve decided that self belief is important, and can tangibly impact our lives, what can we d0?

One of the first steps is to Compliment Yourself. Many of us use an internal voice that isn’t very kind. We may tell ourselves “there’s no way I can do this, I’m going to fail” whereas if we saw a friend in that same situation, we’d be more likely to say “you can do it! keep going!”

One strategy to help improve your self-language, interestingly, can be to talk to yourself in the 2nd or 3rd person during difficult moments. A number of successful athletes and entertainers sometimes refer to themselves in the 3rd person, creating a small disconnect from the situation, allowing a more objective view.

Psychologist Ethan Kross, of the University of Michigan, studied this difference in self speech. He placed volunteers in a difficult situation (5 minutes to prepare a speech), instructing some to speak strictly with “I” and the other group with “you” or using their name:

Kross says that people who used “I” had a mental monologue that sounded something like, ” ‘Oh, my god, how am I going do this? I can’t prepare a speech in five minutes without notes. It takes days for me to prepare a speech!’ ”

People who used their own names, on the other hand, were more likely to give themselves support and advice, saying things like, “Ethan, you can do this. You’ve given a ton of speeches before.” These people sounded more rational, and less emotional — perhaps because they were able to get some distance from themselves.[…]

Being an “outsider” in this way has real benefits: […] with some distance, it’s a lot easier to be kinder to that ‘other’ person. – From NPR.org

The fact is many of us are too hard on ourselves, and that this can diminish self belief and confidence. So when those negative thoughts come up, let’s squash them like a bug and replace them with positive thoughts.

Another factor is to remember to Be Patient with YourselfUnderstand that we all make mistakes and that it’s ok. It’s time for us all to realize that we’re powerful, special and unique…. we need to believe it!

Tell yourself you’re amazing and believe it. Fixate on your successes more than your failures… Celebrate Small Victories.

You can do this. I believe in you… now you just need to believe in yourself!

“If you believe you can make a difference, then you will make a difference. Believe in yourself, your family and your community and you will win.” – Lindsay Fox

So there you have it: a bit of imagination and science today. 
Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe you can reach your dreams?
How could an increased sense of self belief help you achieve your goals?
Is your inner voice critical or uplifting?
Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Believe in Yourself.

How Are You?

Posted by Zak Reid

Joey Schrichte from Road to a 100 shares his thoughts with us:

What is one of the most common question that two people ask when they see each other or talk on the phone?

How are you?

A hug and a how are you is a normal greeting between close friends and family

After a hug or handshake, we like to ask ‘how are you?’. Photo: Tyler McCulloch

Each person is genuinely interested in how things are going for the other.

This is the perfect chance for either person to open up, be honest and express themselves with a friend or relative. When you share how you are feeling, don’t you feel better all of the sudden? Especially when you are engaged in conversation with someone very close to you.

But while we do this with everyone around us, I believe we often forget to ask this to the person that knows us better than anyone else, ourselves.

I think by asking ourselves this everyday we could see positive changes that would make a huge impact on our livelihood.

And this wouldn’t even take more than a few minutes a day.

A good idea would be to take out a small piece of paper, or use a computer or phone, and have a conversation with yourself.

First, simply ask and write down “how are you?”

Answer this honestly. You are talking with yourself and there should be no reason to put up any walls in this relationship.

Are you feeling tired, sad, happy, anxious, thrilled, calm, motivated? Whatever it is you feel, write it down.

I think by doing this and allowing the open conversation within ourselves, we will feel relief if we are on the negative side of the emotional spectrum or more joyful if we are leaning on the positive side of the spectrum.

And now ask, why?

Don’t take more than a few seconds thinking about this.

By identifying what is making us feel down, we can easily take the steps to turn our day around and feel better. On the other side of things we can see what is making us so happy and maybe focus on those things more often.

The other day I was impatiently waiting for a friend to text message me in response to what I sent. Time seemed to be going half speed and I was so anxious that I just couldn’t do anything else. I was constantly checking my phone.

I decided to sit down and write out how I was feeling and why I felt that way.

Immediately I put my mind at ease and went about my evening in a more carefree way. I noticed that I felt so much better just by taking the time to ask myself how I was feeling.

Our relationship with ourselves is the most important one because we are who we spend the most time with and we are the ones in charge of how we ultimately feel.

There is the common phrase that we are our own worst enemies, but I think with this simple exercise we will begin to be our own best friend, as we truly are.

Make time for you.

– Joey Schrichte 

See more Quick Me Ups from Joey here.


So how are you? Personally, I’m preparing for some major life changes so I’ve been busy, as well as a bit stressed and anxious. But this will pass as these changes manifest.

I can’t wait. QMU will be getting a lot more energy and attention in April, and it’s about time!  I hope this message finds you well!!

How are you?

Happy 2015!

Posted by Zak Reid

Hi all! 2014 has officially closed and we are on to the new chapter that is 2015. Last year was very different for each of us, but it probably has some elements in common for all of us – success, failure, happiness, frustration, loss, tranquility, thankfulness, and everything in-between.

As we look forward to the new year, let’s take note of the things that went well, that helped us be successful, and try to incorporate them into our new year.

Happy 2015!

Año Nuevo Valparaiso, Chile.

New Year’s Eve in Valparaiso, Chile. Photo: Difuntoman

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

I just finished a vacation trip to the USA with my girlfriend (her first visit), and am now safely back in Chile and back to work. Over my vacation I took a break from the internet and have been reflecting on direction. In 3 weeks Quick Me Ups [QMU] will celebrate one year of life, and there are decisions to be made…

During my vacation I solicited guest posts from fellow writers. I received a couple great ones that I will be posting over the next few weeks – which has me thinking that QMU could become a more collaborative effort. This is something that I’m still brainstorming and will be exploring.We can go wherever we want in 2015!

How was your 2014?

Just like many other people, as each new year arrives, I feel motivated to make year-long goals (I don’t like the term “new year’s resolution” – it almost seems destined to lose momentum and fall flat). In the past years I made a number of undefined, nebulous goal “ideas” that usually wouldn’t work out, but in 2014 I did better.

I made two firm goals – one was to avoid getting sick (see: Don’t Get Sick & Close Out Strong), and the other was to write 2-3 QMU articles per week throughout the year (finished with 119 total).

Those were my two major goals for 2014 and I’m happy to say that both were achieved.

Did you make any particular goals?
How did they turn out?

Now as 2015 starts I’m constructing my new goals. I used to have this idea that if I didn’t make a goal by January 1st it was too late, but then I realized that’s setting myself up for failure, so I’ve become more relaxed about exact start date (QMU didn’t start until Jan. 26th, 2014).

My current formulated 2015 goals are:
1.) To record an album – more on my hip hop music here.
2.) Make a “splash” play – a major change like purchasing a home, moving cities/countries, writing full-time,  etc., something big.
3.) I’m exploring ideas for this 3rd goal – something health / Quick Me Ups / other website related.

If I can take care of those three goals over 2015, it would be a solid year in my books. I’m happy with my 2014 goals and their success and now it’s onto the next one. Side note – I still plan to be conscious about health and not getting sick, it’s just not getting a dedicated goal slot.

What would it take in 2015 to make you feel like it was a good year?
One year from now, in January 2016, looking back at 2015, what would you like to see accomplished in your year?

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” – Melody Beattie

I firmly believe that by stating our goals aloud, and sharing them with friends / family, we’re more likely to achieve them. Do you have any goals you would like to share here? Best of luck in all of your ideas and goals this year!

Happy 2015!!

Appreciate the Moment.

Posted by Zak Reid

Being present is our ideal state. When we’re living in the current moment, not worried about the future and what may happen, or what has happened, we’re at our best.

As we approach the holidays and end of the year, let’s try to acknowledge and appreciate each day, each interaction, each moment.

Let’s remember to appreciate the moment.

Happy old 1890s Naples' couple. Appreciate the moment.

A Naples’ couple enjoying the moment a few years ago… Postcard circa the 1890s.

I’m currently in the United States. I’m visiting family and friends with my girlfriend by my side and it’s been amazing. For a majority of the past week I haven’t had internet connectivity, and I’ve loved being be offline. No smartphone; no distractions; just the present.

I’ve enjoyed the powerful feeling that each moment is precious and to be appreciated. I know I have a finite trip and so I need to take advantage of each opportunity. Great friends and family – important moments – these all need my full attention.

As your year winds down and closes out, I recommend for you to do the same. Take advantage of your day and the people you have time to interact with. Enjoy this opportunity, this moment.

“True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Last time I was on vacation, before I left, I had the same idea to Disconnect to Reconnect. To allow myself to get away from distractions that can block my vision from what’s important.

Do you stay present, and appreciate each interaction, or do you get distracted?

As I am on vacation, I won’t be writing much until the week of the 5th. I may host a guest writer or two while I’m out to keep Quick Me Ups headed your way.

“You should also appreciate the goodness around you, and surround yourself with positive people.” – Nadia Comaneci

As 2014 comes to an end, I will try to be as present as I can and appreciate each experience. It’s the perfect time to appreciate, be thankful, and enjoy the ride.

I hope you have an amazing last week of 2014.

“What matters is to live in the present, live now, for every moment is now. It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future. The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its pattern by your past.” – Sai Baba

If that’s a good pattern in our past, let’s make it better. If it’s not a great pattern, let’s create a better one – now, in the present. And let’s not forget to enjoy it.

Appreciate the Moment.

Let's Improve Through Feedback.

Posted by Zak Reid

Constructive feedback is a powerful tool we can use to improve ourselves. When we’re trying to get better in some aspect of our life, putting a lot of energy into it, and focusing constantly on our advancement, it can sometimes be very difficult to judge our improvement objectively.

With kind, encouraging, honest words, friends and family can be our best source of feedback to help us improve. We can also be a great resource for those we care about.

Let’s Improve Through Feedback.

Bruce-Arians-Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals’ Head Coach Bruce Arians is known to be very transparent and open with his players, while notably caring about each of them – this has been a very successful approach.

“Coach them hard and hug them later.” – Bruce Arians

It’s easy to become defensive when somebody critiques our work, so in order to avoid confrontation, the norm is to avoid this situation altogether. But what happens if we’re learning a skill incorrectly, and nobody corrects us? If you learn the activity wrongly the first time, and repeatedly practice it with errors, it will be much more difficult to correct in the future.

Whereas, if while learning a new skill, somebody brings attention to an error in a kind, compassionate manner, it becomes much easier to correct and grow your craft correctly. The path to excellence becomes suddenly easier to follow.

You can also impart this type of change on someone else’s world.

Please note: I’ve decided to talk about constructive feedback in place of constructive criticism. I’m not talking about criticizing somebody else, so I don’t think that word aptly applies to what compassionate, honest feedback entails.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

An example: I’m currently working on a music project with a number of friends. I’ve made a conscious effort with each one of them to indicate that I welcome constructive feedback, and appreciate and value their input. They have each returned in part, and this allows us to have a much more open and transparent collaboration.

“One of the things I’ve learned is to be receptive of feedback.” – Ben Silbermann

Constructive feedback, when welcomed, may sound something like: “I really like this song; I prefer the melody in the first part if you can find a way to continue that.” – “I think that’s a great page design, but it seems like there is too much information for me at once.” – “I think you play that game very well but it seems like you’re always pressing, have you tried slowing down a touch?”

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” – Ken Blanchard

If we can identify something we think they’re doing well, and something that can be improved – while leaving them space to make changes as they see fit, it can really help.

I enjoy asking for feedback. It’s so easy to get lost in practice, that we can lose an objective view of ourselves and our task. We can’t even see what we’re doing or how we’re doing it. This is exactly when a fresh set of eyes can help us out.

So let’s ask those around us for feedback, and offer our opinion in turn, if solicited. If we can build trusted feedback network and surround ourselves with positivity, we can become the best version of ourselves.

Let’s Improve Through Feedback.

Make Time for YOU.

Posted by QuickMeUps

You have so much to do. From the time you wake up to the time your lay down at night, you’re constantly busy.

How much time do you have for yourself?
Do you make time for yourself?

If you’re like most people, the answer is probably… not enough. Some people even feel that it’s selfish to take time for themselves when there’s so much to do. But just as you dedicate time to your friends and family, you also need to do so for yourself.

Make Time for YOU.

"42 degrees, same book, relaxing at the beach, watching passing by dolphins."

Reading and relaxing at the beach. Photo Happy_Serendipity

As children, we had hours each day to spend on what ourselves. Whether that was playing outside, practicing a sport, riding bikes, or just having an adventure, we had a surplus of “me time”.

With limited to no responsibilities, it’s very easy to make time for yourself. As we get older and our responsibilities grow, and it can become very difficult to find time to focus on ourselves, whether that be reading, writing, painting, gardening, relaxing…

Women have been particularly affected by the shift to a busier schedule, which allows less personal time:

Recent research has shown that women today are less happy than they have been over the past 40 years. There are many theories about why, but lack of free time can be a major reason.

“There’s a tremendous amount of stress and pressure put on women: being parents, being daughters, mothers, wives, professionals. All of these roles combined leave many of us not taking adequate care of ourselves — which is what sustains us and gives us the energy to take care of all these other responsibilities that we have,” says Randy Kamen Gredinger, a Wayland, MA, psychologist and life coach specializing in women’s issues. – WebMD.com

Parenthood and especially motherhood can be especially time consuming:

[A]  study has found that the average mother ends up with a mere 17 minutes to herself a day. – DailyMail

Wow… 17 minutes! I don’t know how people can do that, sounds like that would cause serious burnout and be very hard on a relationship. I wouldn’t be surprised to read a future study indicating that the increasing divorce rate is influenced by decreasing “me time”.

This isn’t just happening to women or parents, it’s increasingly happening to many of us. What’s making it even more difficult to have peaceful “me time” is the constant presence of smart phones and social networks in our world.

This means that even when we can find a bit of time for ourselves, it’s easy to find ourselves drawn into conversations and distracted from our personal moment. In fact, one great way to assure personal, relaxing time is to turn off your phone, or leave it at home / in your car / somewhere else. Combine your personal time with no phone time.

“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” – M. Scott Peck

There are a number of ways you can find time for YOU. These can include – setting time aside during the week for you and your hobbies, or to relax, treating yourself to a monthly personal event, exercise, etc.

It’s important to both inspire yourself, as well as to make yourself rest. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so we need to stay positive, motivated, and avoid burn-out.

Make Time for YOU.

Let's Build Momentum.

Posted by QuickMeUps

Positive momentum is such a powerful instrument. When we have momentum we’re more confident, and goals are more achievable. Once we start having a series of successes, our positive momentum increases, which makes further achievements more obtainable.

Let’s Build Momentum.

Giant Snowball, Building Momentum.

A small snowball with a little momentum can grow. Photo: Kamyar Adl

 

“Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.” – Bryant H. McGill

Imagine a one ton sphere on a smooth, flat surface. Although it’s amazingly heavy, if you began pushing, it would eventually start rolling. Slowly at first. As you continue to push the sphere would pick up speed. Now with it’s weight and momentum, it’s easy to keep it rolling, the hard task would be stopping it.

Inertia is a powerful thing. When we’re being productive and have positivity going, we can feel unstoppable. We can run through to-do lists and have great workouts. We can write new music and reach new heights.So let’s work to build it.

“It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It’s a lack of momentum.” – John Maxwell

So how can we build momentum?

Similar to the idea of pushing a heavy object, it usually start with small steps and a little movement. The idea is that we start moving little by little, picking up up speed until we’re eventually flying forward, ready to bulldoze anything in our path.

If you’re looking to build momentum in your day: start small and get up 5 or 10 minutes earlier than normal, make your bed in the morning, eat breakfast, straighten up, leave the house at a good time, put on some good music, smile. Get your day started right. Build a little early momentum and it’s easy to have a great day.

If you’re looking to build momentum at work: show up on time (or early), make a to-do list with the easy items first, once you get a couple of tasks completed, it will be easier to take on the next one. Achieving small goals and crossing items off of our lists builds momentum. Don’t put anything extremely difficult or time consuming first if you don’t need to. Celebrate small victories.

If you’re looking to build momentum with a hobby: mark off a time slot as many days a week as you can and just start “showing up”, be there, take steps, try, keep going, learn. It’s better to be regularly practicing for shorter periods than having long, irregular sessions. It’s like we previously touched on: 4 days a week is every day.

So let’s start small. Let’s put ourselves in situation to obtain small victories. Once we achieve one goal, set another and get to work. Small steps make big leaps

“The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum.” – Tony Robbins

Let’s Build Momentum.

Teaching is Learning.

Posted by QuickMeUps

If you ever want to truly learn something, teach it to somebody else. Having to formulate a clear way to explain the subject matter, and answer questions that you may have never thought of, is a great way to deeply learn something.

This applies to 1-on-1 teaching, and even more so to teaching in front of a group. We never want to look foolish or uninformed, so you’ll find that if you agree to teach somebody or a group of people, you will prepare for this. As you prepare the topic, you will realize that you’re learning the material in a different, deeper manner than before.

Teaching is Learning.

Teaching others helps us learn more deeply.

Teaching helps us learn. Photo: University of the Fraser Valleyz

Docendo Discimus is a Latin phrase which means “By teaching, we learn” –  Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)… this is not a new idea.

In order to teach others, we must first assimilate the information at a deeper level. We must understand to teach. This has been observed in students, and there have been studies conducted:

Students enlisted to tutor others, these researchers have found, work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. In what scientists have dubbed “the protégé effect,” student teachers score higher on tests than pupils who are learning only for their own sake. – from Time Ideas.

I have personally witnessed this in my own life as I would often-times help the students around me in my university Calculus courses. This forced me to understand the information at more profound level in order to explain the underlying principles, and not simply “follow the rules”.

I have a friend who has recently begun teaching digital design to 2nd year university students. He has told me that this is a challenge for him, but that’s exactly why he accepted the offer. By agreeing to teach one class per week, he has to prep, plan, and make sure he knows the material thoroughly. This in turn, has helped him learn his craft at a deeper level.

“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.” – Loris Malaguzzi

So how can we benefit from this?

A great place to apply this idea is at work. If you are working on a project, and want to improve your comprehensive understanding of the working parts, try helping a co-worker get up to speed. Try tutoring a new hire, or a teammate without the experience that you have. You may find yourself explaining things in a way that you hadn’t previously considered.

You can teach yourself while teaching others.

We can also use this principle in our hobbies – in the gym, sports, instruments, painting, writing, etc. Teaching others can help us learn, plus it has the added benefit of helping others. And helping is always awesome.

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

So let’s keep teaching, and keep learning.

Teaching is Learning.

Adjust Your Expectations.

Posted by QuickMeUps

We’re taught to try our hardest to expect the best. Give it your all and great things will come your way. We love stories of triumph and succeeding against the odds. We love the stories of sports star that came from nothing, and young singers with no formal teaching who becomes famous in front of our eyes.

We see it so often that it becomes normal. If they can do it, we all should, and we expect the same. The problem is, if every time we touch a basketball we expect to make every shot and be the best… we probably won’t be very content after the game.

If every time you pick up a guitar you expect to write a chart-topping hit song, you’ll probably end up disappointed.

While it’s important to dream, to set goals, and to strive to be our best, it’s also important to Adjust Your Expectations.

Inspirational smile from an older woman working in the streets in India.

An older woman in India, smiling as she sells small packets of peanuts. Photo: dilip

I’m not saying accept mediocrity, but let’s align our expectations with a probable outcome. There are studies which show much of our happiness isn’t derived but how much we have or what we’ve done, but based upon how our reality compares with how we expected it to be.

This makes sense considering you can find poor families in a 3rd world country that live with more happiness than rich families in a 1st world country. If happiness was based solely upon career success or monetary accumulation, this would not be the case.

“It is often said that you will be happier if your expectations are lower,” Dr. Robb Rutledge, the senior research associate at University College London (UCL) who led the study, said in a statement. “We find that there is some truth to this: Lower expectations make it more likely that an outcome will exceed those expectations and have a positive impact on happiness.” – from Today.com

There’s a big difference between expectations of a situation, and dreams / goals. For example: we can dream big, try our hardest and want the best, while simultaneously expecting that everything will turn out OK, but maybe not AMAZING.

I see this all the time at the skate park. We’re all there to have fun. For the majority of us, it’s a hobby and a sport. Nevertheless, I see people frustrated and upset and having a poor time. Admittedly I’ve been there before, but this happens when we set high expectations and reality doesn’t match it: I’m going to land this, do this, and get this… and it doesn’t happen quite like you planned.

Nowadays my expectations at the skate park sound a lot like what you would tell a child: try your hardest and have fun. Just Smile. Don’t get me wrong, it can still be frustrating when you try and try, and fall and fall, and don’t land the trick. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to move on more quickly from these experiences, and enjoy myself.

I commonly leave the park with a big smile on my face, even if I didn’t have the best day. By keeping expectations in check, when I do have an exceptionally good day, and land a lot of tricks, or learn something new, it’s even more exciting. It’s all about perspective.

This is like life. It’s awesome to dream, set goals and go for it, but let’s not forget to live. Let’s enjoy today. Maybe today won’t be some amazing, Hollywood inspired day, but most aren’t… so why do we expect these? Let’s enjoy today for what it is. Let’s enjoy the little things.

Let’s Adjust Our Expectations.