On Managing Expectations

Things do not always go according to plan

Hey everyone

How do you feel about the end of 2020? I've been taking stock of how the year has gone, what I intend to do with 2021, and I wrote a few blog posts that will be going out today and Saturday.

I just returned from brunch, and on my way home, it dawned on me that I have been managing my expectations of the people around me for much of 2020.

People say that you cannot be disappointed if you do not expect anything. There is some truth in that, but as with most sayings, it is an over-simplification of reality.

Sure, I could stop talking about student exchange because none of us know what curve ball COVID will hurl at us next. Maybe I will not be disappointed if things do not go according to plan. I know, I am working with multiple "if things go according to plan" here.

However, what keeps me going if I do not have expectations of where I will be a year from now?

A year ago, I would have freaked out if a friend of mine told me he was quitting the program we were in at school. And I did freak out because I expected everyone I met in my first year of university to always be around.

In hindsight, I should have looked at the big picture. It is not always about me. If I cared, if I truly cared, I would have understood that things do NOT always "go according to planned." People make decisions that affect us, but things tend to work themselves out in the end.

Life goes on.

(Relax, my friend weighed his options, did what was best for himself, and we still keep in touch today.)

I think it is less about not being disappointed and more about working with whatever we have got. These days, I try to think along the lines of "yes, it would be nice if" instead of "if things go according to plan."

Yes, it would be nice if we could all stick through the program we are in.

Yes, it would be nice to go on student exchange, experience new cultures, and travel a little with my friends.

Yes, it would be nice if my blog's SEO could finally take off.

Yes, it would be nice if COVID went away and stopped being a pain in everyone's a**.

Otherwise, it is alright, too. We will work things out as we go along. No expectations, just best-case scenarios.

"Yes, it would be nice if" is my mentality as I prepare to leave 2020 behind. What’s yours?

And that's my first newsletter on Substack. Hit reply and let me know your thoughts, or leave a comment on Substack!

Wherever you are, I hope you are well. Stay safe, healthy, and happy!



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Ming Qian is a freelance writer, blogger, Canva lead magnet template designer, and student. Check out his blog, mingwrites.com for blogging, writing, and university tips! Or, support his Canva shop at https://mingwrites.com/shop/. When Ming Qian is not busy with any of the above, he is probably Keeping Up With the Kardashians or whispering secrets to his plant babies.