Does happiness equal reality minus expectations?

  • Get FREE 5 Gifts with Orders $59+

Does happiness equal reality minus expectations?

spiced spiced
A friend of mine posted on Facebook today that he believes the old saying that "Happiness = Reality - Expectations". In other words, if your reality turns out to be better than what you expected, you're happy ("positive happiness balance"); if it turns out worse than you expected, you're not ("negative happiness balance").

It's an interesting idea... but do you think it's true?
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
Yes.
15  (58%)
No.
10  (38%)
It's complicated (I'll explain in a comment)
1  (4%)
Total votes: 26
Poll is closed
02/24/2013
  • Buy 3 Items for $70
  • Buy 3 Items for $50
  • Buy 3 Items for $30
  • Save 20% on Luxury Toys
  • Add Some Buzz To Your Favourite Toy & Save 60% On Kit
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
All promotions
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
I think its a fair way of explaining why setting expectations too inevitably leads to unhappiness. But like any adage it has its limits - you can't set your expectations at the bottom and expect to be happy either.
02/24/2013
Martiniman Martiniman
If only life was that simple.
02/25/2013
loveme loveme
I agree, the less expectations you have, the less disappointments you will have. Therefore you will be a happier person
02/25/2013
SecondStory SecondStory
It's really situational but I'm inclined to say more often than not that life doesn't work like that.
02/25/2013
MrWill MrWill
Have you ever heard the expression Ignorance is bliss?


It applies here.

Bob, is a very intelligent man. He works 65 hours a week for a fortune 500 company in a very esteemed role. He expects the deal he's been working on for months to go through when all of a sudden the deal falls through. Bob is crushed.



Joe, is below average. He scraped through high school and does hard physical labor 50 hours a week. His only expectation is that he'll work all week and have the weekend off to spend his meager paycheck doing something with his family. His expectations are met every time. He doesn't expect much, but he is happy.


It's all interpretation. Bob would think Joe is poor because he doesn't make much and doesn't expect much. Joe would think Bob is poor because he makes 6 figures a year, but can't even think of his daughter's best friends name.

Yeah, I went off on a tangent and talked about irrelevant crap. But, I didn't expect this post to make as much sense as it did.... so I am happy ;-)
02/25/2013
sweetpea12 sweetpea12
Quote:
Originally posted by spiced
A friend of mine posted on Facebook today that he believes the old saying that "Happiness = Reality - Expectations". In other words, if your reality turns out to be better than what you expected, you're happy ("positive happiness ...
Yes i think it's true
02/25/2013
LavenderSkies LavenderSkies
Quote:
Originally posted by spiced
A friend of mine posted on Facebook today that he believes the old saying that "Happiness = Reality - Expectations". In other words, if your reality turns out to be better than what you expected, you're happy ("positive happiness ...
Interesting..I would say I'd agree with that!
02/25/2013
deltalima deltalima
Quote:
Originally posted by spiced
A friend of mine posted on Facebook today that he believes the old saying that "Happiness = Reality - Expectations". In other words, if your reality turns out to be better than what you expected, you're happy ("positive happiness ...
I don't think so.
02/25/2013
spiced spiced
My own take is that generally, it's true. I think it's vital to have realistic expectations and goals. In my own life, my biggest disappointments have resulted from impossible expectations.

But having said that, what works for me might not work for you. Some people thrive on setting impossible targets for themselves; this spurs them to achieve more than they would have accomplished with more modest ambitions.

This type of person doesn't mind not reaching the goal, but simply wants to reach their full potential. My hat's off to them; I usually feel like I've "lost" when I don't hit my targets, even if I got better results than I would have achieved with "realistic" expectations. On the flip side, when I do reach/exceed my goals, even if they were more modest than they could have been, I still feel a warm glow of accomplishment and victory. As with so many things, it really varies a lot from person to person.
02/25/2013
Total posts: 10
Unique posters: 9