Desirable outcomes are something we all crave – they bring happiness, peace, and prosperity to our lives. As a result, we tend to approach situations with high expectations. However, it might be more advantageous to moderate our expectations if we seek greater contentment in life.
Disappointment and Contentment go hand in hand in this context. Disappointment arises when a situation falls short of our expectations. By deliberately setting our expectations low, like anticipating long airport lines and flight delays, we reduce the chances of getting disappointed or angry when unexpected events occur.
On the other hand, Contentment stems from situations or outcomes that surpass our expectations. Lowering our expectations puts us in a position to be pleasantly surprised more frequently, such as breezing through security and having a flight arrive a few minutes early.
When setting expectations, it’s essential to consider how much control we have over the situation. If we have significant control, we can confidently set high expectations for ourselves. However, when things are beyond our control, it’s prudent to maintain low expectations.
The same principle applies to Investment Expectations. While most investors aim for high returns with minimal fluctuations in value, it’s crucial to separate our hopes and desires from our expectations. By tempering our investment expectations, we become better equipped to handle market surprises. Every year, the market throws surprises at us. Having tempered expectations allows us to appreciate positive surprises and maintain a healthy mindset to adapt to negative ones.
The best approach for investors, in my experience, is to combine realistic optimism for the long term with the understanding that markets might not always make sense in the short term and can fluctuate significantly.
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