Thursday, May 8, 2014

Life: Managing Expectations

For some reason, I do not seem to as stressed as many of my coworkers in managing other people. On the other end, very few people ever give me problems either. I attribute this to managing expectations. I also think this strategy is a great anti-political move because it is very difficult to manipulate the truth.

Recently, I have been thinking about happiness. For me, I like to separate happiness from joy. My current goal in life is to be joyful. To me this is something like contentment but in a good way, not in an apathetic way. Happiness is good but temporal.

I rarely have problems of being upset for long periods of time. For me, long period is at most an hour. Perhaps, I can attribute this to my ability to just forget things. I have been thinking that this may just be my natural way to managing my expectations.

I think stressed people dwell too long on trying to obtain happiness and avoiding unhappiness. I do fall into this, but at some point, I take a step back and reevaluate the situation. The feeling is very much similar to when I am highly competitive. The focus is not avoiding the obstacle but conquering it. By figuring how to conquer the obstacle, I accept that it exists and is a part of the game (i.e. in life).

So to continue my journey to a joyful state, I accept that there will be problems and I just need to be prepared to tackle them, as opposed to, preventing them from happening. Preventing something that is likely to be inevitable can be extremely stressful (unless you are seeing the act of "preventing happiness" to be the challenge). 

The journey is not simple but does not have to be stressful. I did make it sound much simpler than it really is because some coworkers still struggle with it and just needs a friendly reminder. As I try to work on my expectations, I find more and more things that I do unconsciously that has made the journey challenging.

I have always been terrible with pop-culture. I have not cared much about remember author names, restaurant names, or many other information that just seemed so irrelevant to living life. As long as I took in what I enjoyed from the books, movies, and food, I did not need to remember who produced it, who cooked it, or who sung it. But this mentality is one of my roadblocks.

Although the roadblock may be irrelevant to me, it is relevant to other people. If I care about being with other people, it should be relevant to me too. This does not mean this will always be the case for any generation or era. There could be a time where everyone is like me, then it can be irrelevant. But, we are in a very highly diverse world. So, I have to accept that I should know names to places I go so that I can communicate such things. 

(Side story - Friends do not seem to like directions to places as much for some reason. For some reason, I do remember where things are. For example, I once described that a restaurant was on a block that was 2 blocks east and 1 block north of a subway station, and 3 stores from the corner. And I ate there about 3 years ago... still cannot remember the name.)

I remember that story rather vividly because it was during this time that I need to change the way I look at pop-culture information. This conversation resonated with me because the person I was trying to explain this to was terrible with directions (in some ways remembers the exact opposite information as I do). 

I just do not know what it is with me and names. I have improved a lot about remembering people's names, especially the ones I meet for the first time. I used to remember most of them by the order that I meet people or where I met them. But I am still a long ways though. I was just at an interview, and I really struggled in trying to remember the company name. But in the last example, I was able to remember everyone's names so it may have just been that the company name was too unfamiliar and long for my brain.

(Side story - For some reason, I have a lot of trouble remember long numbers like a 10 digit phone number. I have actually try to experiment this a couple times and it is still very bizarre to me. For example, I start to struggle with 5+ digits. But I have learned that I really struggle with 5+ numbers. If there was a way for me to bundle numbers, then it becomes much easier for me to remember numbers. By bundle it can be as simple as just reading it as a 2-digit number like 10 instead of 1 and a 0, or 100 instead of 1, 0, and 0. So, I can remember numbers like 800-800-8888, or more complex like 887-886-8885 which I remember was all 8s except last digit which starts with 7 and decreases by 1. It is just crazy how my brain can remember that instead of just the plain numbers.)