Have you ever had a friend say, “Oh my God, you have to see such-and-such a movie, it’s amaaaaaaazing. You’ll die. It’s so, so, so good!” But when you see it…eh. Then, you see a movie simply because it’s close to your house and has good popcorn (oh, or is that just me?) and you think it’s absolutely amaaaaaaazing.
Why is that? Well, because we build our sand castles on our expectations. In movies. In meals. In dates. In dreams. In life. We forget that at some point, the wind might pick up, the sand grains might blow, or a child might come stomping right over the foundation. Just because we sat down ready to build a perfect sand castle doesn’t mean the process will go perfectly. But as much as we know this, we’ve all done it anyway.
You know, we think…
…as soon as we get our dream job, we’ll be happy to wake up and jump out of bed every morning!
…as soon as we start to date, we’ll find a connection and fall in love!
…as soon as we write that book or screenplay or business plan, we’ll be millionaires!
…as soon as we marry the right partner, we’ll live life like a cotton commercial, snuggling and laughing our way through the day!
…as soon as we start trying to get pregnant, we’ll be those people who say it happened on the first try!
But that’s not how life works, right? Because no matter how much we love our jobs, there are days we’ll hate it. And no matter how much we love the people we meet, there are days we’ll butt heads and argue and wonder why we ever thought each other was so darn great in the first place! The issue is those expectations. Because if we expect things to be perfect and we smack into the wall of reality, it hurts like heck and we’re devastated. But if we expect to meet with a little failure along the way, reality will just be a speed bump in the road that we roll right over in an average day.
In other words, all it takes to be happier is to expect failure. And all we need to do that is a Monster Trap!
Watch this video of Audri Clemens, in which he explains how he made a monster trap—complete with a “Failures and Success” chart and his hypothesis of how many tries it would take him to succeed. “I think it will have ten to twenty failures and two successes,” Audri says, “that’s my hypothesis.” We then get to see him try out his trap, starting with “Failure #1.” And we can all learn from his plan.
When you plan for failure, it won’t hurt as much when you hit it. When you know there will be dark days in your job, your love life and the path to your dreams, you won’t be tempted to throw down the plans and stomp on them. If you’re out there dating, make your own “Failures and Success” chart and mark down the awful dates in the expected category.
Like those movies our friends—and movie companies—like to shout about, don’t get so hyped up by your own expectations that every date or every day at work will be amaaaaaaazing. When you know things might not go well, the failures can be spectacular and interesting and hilarious!
Expect failure. Plan for reality. And then hope for some fun surprises along the way. When you can appreciate the crooked journey along the way—failures included—you give yourself the chance to be so much happier every single day.