I have flirted with this philosophy before. I have fought against it, I have debated its merit and prevented myself from accepting this outlook on life—until now. As a result, I think I am both healthier and happier. I want you to know that I have embraced living with low-to-no expectations. Thank you COVID.
Psychology Today will make no exception to its benefit. Their article "Five Benefits of Having No Expectations" could have featured 50 of them. And, we learned long ago from "Denmark's secret to happiness: low expectations" the "Danes have scored higher than any other Western country on measures of life satisfaction, and scientists think they know why. In the Dec. 23 issue of the medical journal BMJ, researchers review six possible explanations, and conclude that the country's secret is a culture of low expectations."
Indeed, if you set your expectations low, you'll seldom be disappointed. For example, I have long envied my golfing friends born and raised in Ireland. When you learn to play a game in a place that has difficult, wet, windy and adverse weather—anything else is gravy. Just to be clear, it's not that an Irish golfer couldn't have expectations for sunny, clear skies and warm temperatures but it's just not par for the course. By expecting that which is difficult, anything else is upside. Luck of the Irish, redux.
Following the PGA Championship—the first major in 2020, I asked any golfer who would listen why we enjoyed it so much. I wanted to know, Is it because San Francisco was the host city? Is it because the tournament play really was so exciting? Was it because I went in with low expectations? I believe I relished in the golf for all three reasons. However, low expectations weighed in heavily.
The true test of this philosophy will take place Thursday through Sunday November 12-15 when Augusta National hosts the 84th Masters Golf tournament. I can't help but get excited for what is my favorite sports event of the year. I use my official The Masters coffee mug all week. I plan my weekend around television coverage. I go out of my way to talk to my friends who enjoy it as much as I do and hope others will do the same.
I am confident that the members and leadership at Augusta National expect nothing less than the highest of expectations from patrons and sports fans. I doubt the low to no expectations are allowed in the door...or gates. And why should they be? This might be the one setting where so much has been and is possible. Hospitality. Excellence. Memory. History. Beauty. Victory and Defeat. Challenge and Opportunity are what they pridefully present.
It might require spiritual discipline to enter into the third and final golf major of 2020 with low to no expectations. It will be an interesting test of the will—mind and heart. In my next post however, I will share how this philosophy of low expectations underscores why I loved reading "Seven Days in Augusta."
How do you handle expectations? Do you think it's better to not have them? How do you reconcile expectations with faith. It might be worth taking up in prayer. Here is a passage to consider.... keep me posted.
In 1 Corinthians 2: 9-10
“What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.