When I was a single guy back in 2017, I had this crazy idea to move to California.
I say “crazy” not because it was actually crazy, but because that’s what people said when I told them what I was planning to do.
Moving to California, for me, was one of those things that I had always been itching for.
I had visited a few times over the years and I just remember feeling like I was meant to be there.
My plan was to fill my little car with as much of my belongings as I could, sell the rest, and make my way across the country.
Even though I knew it wasn’t completely crazy, I did know that it was a big deal.
Despite that, I could imagine myself years into the future thinking back about my idea of moving to California and I knew I would regret not having done it.
So off I went, exactly as planned!
I sold most of my stuff and drove clear across the country.
I really thought I had it all figured out.
Back in Chicago, I had been doing random gigs like driving for Uber, Lyft, and Amazon.
I was making pretty good money doing all that and I thought it would all work out the same in San Diego.
Well… it didn’t.
Again, I had all these grand expectations of things going exactly as planned, me making easy money like I had been in Chicago, and basically just living the life.
You may or may not have heard this story before, but I allowed the fact that it didn’t work out exactly like that to send me into a deep depression.
I mean deep depression like eat-California-burritos-every-day-and-pass-out-until-you-run-out-of-money-and-have-to-move-across-the-country-again-and-crash-on-your-sister’s-couch kind of depression.
I share this embarrassing story of mine with you so that you can see the power of something that’s taken me a long time to learn.
The key to not going insane is this: don’t have a ton of rules.
Your happiness in life (or sanity in this case) is all about managing expectations.
When you walk around your life thinking that things are “supposed” to happen a certain way, you are setting yourself up for disappointment!
To be clear here: This is not about being negative, and it’s definitely not about being “realistic” (I actually hate that word – a topic for another blog post).
This is about not expecting anything, positive or negative.
This is about not having all these rules about how life “should” be or how people “should” act or how things “should” work out.
There is no such thing!
Things just work out as they do, and you have to work with what you get – whatever that might be.
When you don’t have a ton of rules (about life and people and yourself), suddenly things stop being so disappointing or depressing.
Instead, you start viewing everything that happens as a positive and unexpected result.
Every day and every moment become opportunities to be happy because there is no “right” way that things are supposed to go, and it’s actually pretty incredible.
The best way to illustrate this is for you to think of a time when you were pleasantly surprised, when something unexpectedly positive happened.
How did that feel?
Well, that is literally how every day can be if you don’t have any expectations!
I’d actually love to hear about a time something like that happened for you, so we can all get in that “pleasantly surprised” state.
Drop your experience in the comments!