Aim High? How High Expectations Can Cause Anxiety, Disappointment, Depression, And Suicide5 min read

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A Wise Man once said, “Expect Disappointment so that you won’t be disappointed”…

We mostly ascribed the cause of Suicide to depression and Yes, a depressed Person is like a time bomb – ready to blow any second if not defused. But what leads to depression in the first place?

Although there are a couple of routes to it, there’s this highway to Depression which People seldom speak of High Expectations!!!.

Why High Expectations Leads To Disappointment, Depression, And Suicide

Most People, like me, grew up Expecting Big and Great things. Hardly would anyone hope to fail or be disappointed in life. Everyone Expects better Days and everything Good betwixt, right?

But there is a problem with this framework…

Though the high expectations are great as they inspire you to put in all your Best, to reach for the set expectations, Life still happens – things don’t always go as expected no matter much you try or deserve it – dashing all high hopes and Expectations.

Yes, you need hopes to take the shot, but it backfires when you fail. The result of this is a conundrum

My Dad used to tell me, “Aim high Son”, yet I am advised to expect less. It got me confused.

How? How do I aim high and expect less? Isn’t aiming high already expecting more? Or are “Aims” and “Expectations” different things?

To clear this Confusion, I set out to know the meaning of the words (from the dictionary) so I can understand the advice.

What Is The Difference Between Aim And Expectations?

Aim means to direct the intention or purpose; to attempt the accomplishment of a purpose; to try to gain; to endeavor;—for example, to aim at distinction; to aim to do well. Generally, Aim is what you hope to achieve.

While Expectation means the act or state of looking forward to an event as about to happen, a strong belief that something will happen or be the case.

With this knowledge, I concluded that Aim is when you put in every effort and direct it toward a goal, while Expectations are when you believe strongly that your aim will hit its target.

Once I grasped the subtle difference between Aim and Expectations everything made sense: I finally understood what it meant to Aim high and Expect less, and why it is crucial to do so.

If you still haven’t gotten it, look at this:

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How Having Low Expectations Is Good For Your Happiness

Imagine there is a Governorship Election, and there are two equally matched Contestants.

It is clear they are both Aiming High at The Governorship Seat. And to some extent, they both hope to achieve the Mandate to rule the state.

However, while one was Strongly Expecting to Win the Election, The other was Calm and Non Expectant (He had concluded in his heart that an Election is a tight contest, and there must certainly be a Winner and a Loser. If he Wins it’ll be very wonderful and if he loses it’s fine too).

One has high expectations for his high aim, whilst the other has little or no expectations for the high aim.

…from their expectations, their reactions are predictable:

If the Election favors the Expectant Contestant, he would be very happy, but if it doesn’t favor him, He’ll be angry, and envious.

But if the Election favors the Non-Expectant Contestant, he will also be happy, however, he won’t be overly affected if things don’t go his way.

Although their aim and efforts are thesame, it is the level of expectations that will the difference. It is by avoiding high expectations that one remains sane after setbacks.

Remember the times when you wanted something badly. You aimed at it and Expected so much. How did you feel when you happened to get it? You were happy, right?

But what of the times you didn’t get it? Did you feel upset, mad, or a bit sad? Exactly..

If you aim high and expect less you’ll be more than Happy when it hits and Controllably sad if it doesn’t hit.

Most people set their expectations so high that they get crushed when they don’t hit their aims. The result of this is often a prolonged period of anxiety (before the failure) and depression – sometimes leading to suicide – (after the failure)

The point is, we need to work on lowering our Expectations whilst aiming high to avoid anxiety and depression leading to Suicide.

Be ambitious (believe in yourself) yet humble. Don’t be indifferent towards opportunities, yet don’t define yourself by them….love yourself

The truth is not hitting our aim would always hurt no matter how high or low our expectations are, and that is why it is a good idea to have someone to talk to when we fail or Win (someone to comfort us or celebrate with)

A Wise Man once said, “Expect Disappointment so that you won’t be disappointed”…I don’t know if this now makes sense to you

Anyways, strive to live a happy Life.

I am Favour Chidera, A writer, Poet and Philosopher.

I take critical reflections on reality and beliefs to help contribute to the Societal and Personal developments.

I Love reading widely and very much into content and copywriting.

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