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?