The Secret to Happiness…

Okay, maybe there are several secrets to happiness. But here’s one that I’ve been touting and practicing for years. Ready? THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS IS….

Low expectations.

Don’t confuse what I’m saying with not having dreams, aspirations or lofty goals. We need those, especially in areas that we directly control in ourselves. But in our day-to-day lives pertaining to things we don’t control, we should expect as little as possible so we can rejoice a little more when our low expectations are exceeded!

I took my daughter to see her orthodontist on Saturday to get a status on the progress her braces are making in adjusting her teeth. At the close of the visit, the doctor waited until I was in the room to “break” the news to my teenage daughter:

“Your teeth look perfect. Let’s schedule the appointment to take off those braces,” the doctor told us.

My daughter did a few back-flips in place!

“I was hoping I could get them off by the end of the school year! But I can get them off sooner?” she asked excitedly. “When can I come back in?”

The moments for the scheduler to find an opening seemed an eternity…to both of us. My daughter had so much excitement, I feared she would pop. And I couldn’t take much more drama, either, because during the wait my girl said in one, long, continuous breath…

“OhhopeIcangetthemoffbeforeEasterthatwouldbesocoolbutIwonderifIcan…?” she squealed.

‘How about,” the schedule asked and paused, like a game show host trying to drag out the drama before cutting to commercial, “Monday at 8:00 am?”

“Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” my girl shrieked. “That’s like…45 hours away!”

I imagined windows shattering all across the building.

Had my daughter hoped to get them off that same day, she would have been disappointed, and the weekend would have seemed an eternity. Planning on waiting two or three more weeks to find that she need wait only 45 more hours…well, she was beyond thrilled.

How does this relate to our every day?

When you go grab a coffee this morning, don’t expect the shop to have no line. Expect to stand there a long while before you get your drink. Then if you get it quickly—POOF! You’re happy.

Plan on hitting some traffic during your morning commute. Ready your favorite music mix for the car, and plan on hearing each song twice before you get to the office. And then if you pull up ahead of schedule—POOF! You’re happy.

Plan on your dog chewing one of your favorite shoes. Expect your cat to knock off a jewel encrusted Faberge Egg or two from your mantel before you get home from work. Don’t be surprised to find that a Spring storm knocked a branch off your tree and crushed your windshield during the night. Keep an emergency 6-pack of toilet paper and a box of powdered milk in the closet in the event you lose electricity for a few days.

And then in each case be ready to say “POOF! I’m happy” when your low expectations are exceeded.

See? Don’t you feel better already?

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