This is the formula of happiness. No go be happy! Just kidding …
(a rebooted response)
It is exactly this line of thinking that, in my opinion, underpins unhappiness, said Alex Schiff in an article.
But it does sound believable right? Happiness = Reality — Expectations. After all we’re our biggest enemies in the race to happy-land.
Isn’t it true that should we lower our expectations, happiness would soon ensue?
The formula is good, but the interpretation is wrong.
People expect all formulas to be as simple as 2 + 2 = 4, but in reality most formulas have meaning attached, that is a certain correct interpretation that makes them valuable.
In this case, the problem is that:
Expectations are always maximal
Expectations = education x culture x personality. How can you lower that? Be stupid, be ignorant, be a simpleton. Otherwise prepare to be unhappy.
If you get this, then you’ll work to maximize Reality!
If you didn’t get that, you’ll work you ass off to lower your expectations to lonely monk limits. Then, when expectations will be close to zero, we’ll get to:
Happiness = Reality – 0 (zero) => Happiness = Reality,
… are you kidding me?
When you get to bare reality (it bites by the way) it will slap you in the face because reality is rough, simple and it ain’t got no time for you. Because if reality was so darn pretty and a constant source of happiness, then you wouldn’t have had any Expectations to begin with, amirite?
Humans are transformative beings which create constant change. We change ourselves, we change others and we change everything around us; after all humans are the only beings on this planet who are in a constant race with the limited time they have, perpetually running away from it (change, by the way, makes time go slower).
Expectations are the product of education, culture and personality. The product, not the sum. A small dent in your education, culture or personality produces a huge dent in your Expectations. Yet education, culture and personality are the strings we’re all playing our existence on, so prepare for updated levels of Expectations the older you get.
We also shouldn’t mix concepts here. Expectations are not the same thing with entitlement or privilege. Also, spiritual paths such as mindfulness or thankfulness are just as well grounded on Expectations. These paths only guide you towards your Expectations, they will not magically make reality any prettier, than the ruthless bitch that bytes everyone, which reality is.
Maximize reality so that it overcomes your expectations. Then, only then, happiness results. Happiness may be specific and complicated but it does have one advantage: it is an essential state. Like any essence, one small drop of it and, kaboom, you’re happy! That means you need to maximize reality just a tad over your expectations, and keep reality a tad up as your Expectations grow.
Simple? What’s more beautiful than a happy human being?