The last Spider-Man movie opened up many discussions, but one quote caught my attention: “If you expect disappointment, then you can never really get disappointed”.
May sound obvious and quite pessimistic at first, but it makes a lot of sense and, as it turns out, is backed in a way by research.
“Blessed are those who expect nothing: Lowering expectations as a way of avoiding disappointment” - https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-4870(02)00211-8 is an insightful paper that addresses how people try to avoid disappointment by lowering their expectations about obtaining a desired but uncertain outcome.
The authors tested the hypothesis that people employ this strategy when two conditions are met. The first condition is the anticipation of self-relevant feedback about the attainment of the outcome. The second is regarding the timing of the anticipated feedback. Hence, the feedback is anticipated in the near future.
The results support their hypothesis, showing that people only lowered their estimates concerning a test score when they expected immediate feedback on that test and when the test was relevant for them.
Do you lower your expectations to avoid disappointment?
Nicely put, @Natalija. We shouldn’t avoid disappointments and negative emotions at all costs. Still, a healthy amount of defensive mechanisms helps us function better. As always, I think balance is key.
In college we discussed about the correlation between setting high expectations and the locus of control. People with internal locus of control tend to set higher goals and have higher expectations in general. While those with external locus of control tend to minimize their expectations and goals. And about your question: I don't, and huge part of it is thanks to the amazing Tony Robbins. I remember listening to one of his podcast a few years ago, being so scared to get out of my comfort zone. This man has thaught me that being disappointed equals being alive. If you never get disappointed, are you even living at all..? Life is not a simple path, there will be many ups and downs and that's actually the beauty of it.
That's an interesting hypothesis.
I wonder to what extent this tactic is employed by people with or without varying personality types. I can imagine that this would be a useful and frequent technique used by individuals whose self-worth is quite low. For example, an individual, in this case, can prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario whilst not dimming their joy at a positive result or outcome.
I've known some people with depression who have at the very least endorsed this method if not fully succeeding in its practice.
Thanks for sharing