I always never quite agreed with quotes like this. It felt too pessimistic, like we ought to go through life thinking everything is going to go bad, or not necessarily bad but they just won't go well. It seems to say that we should never have any expectations whatsoever because in the end it would just make us disappointed. Instead, if we think everything isn't going to go well, and then it does, we would be pleasantly surprised.
I like a little optimism in my life, especially when hope is something wonderful. So this never quite sat well with me.
Maybe there's a distinction to be made between a lack of expectations and pessimism though. And perhaps a lack of expectation may well be healthy.
An outcome might be alright actually, but because of all the expectations built up around it, when the actual outcome does come around, its can be such a deflating feeling. I suppose what we ought to aim for is that real acceptance of outcomes. Not to expect, but to hope, but at the same time ready to accept whatever the outcome.
Take my recent papers for example. I went into my past two papers with high expectations, thinking that I would be able to do really well. In the end, it is all disappointment. Yet with my score, I should probably still sit comfortably above average, and that's really good isn't it. It's just, the expectation. The feeling that you just might not just be able to do well, but you would be able to ace it, but then you don't.
I have to admit though, while in theory I could probably differentiate between expectation, hope and optimism, In practice they feel so indistinguishable.
What does it mean to not have expectations? It feels so inexplicably tied with hope and optimism, I feel like the only way to not have expectations and thus to not be disappointed is to be a pessimist. And that's something I certainly am unwilling to do.