Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do and Why

Happiness Through Lower Expectations
Ælflæd of Duckford

This has been said many times before, but not often enough. There are still some people walking around irritated at the way things are going for them in the Society, and it's because they've set unreasonable goals. "Plan for the worst and hope for the best" works in many situations, including everyday life.

I had two wishes when I first knew I would stay in the Society for a long time. One was that a king would someday know my name. The other was that my name would appear in Southwind. Both came true! They weren't things I set out to accomplish; I just hoped they'd come in the course of my doing what I enjoyed, and they did.

I've heard and overheard such wishes expressed as "I'm going to be a triple peer," "I'm going to be a baron," "I'm going to be a duchess." If these things come true after a wish/desire/plan is announced, it's harder to congratulate or praise the person than if he'd been more humble beforehand. If they don't come true, it's awkward. Some people have become frustrated and left because they didn't get the awards they thought they deserved, or because they'd entered crown tournaments and hadn't won, so they're off to do something else.

If fighting, arts and service are not rewarding in and of themselves, the Society will be a disappointing place for you. If you're just in for awards, I am not alone in the opinion that you aren't the kind of person we should be rewarding.

When you're an autocrat, if you envision one perfect version of what the event should be, and if that's your goal and nothing else will make you happy, make an appointment with your therapist in advance, because you will lose this bet with life. Give yourself a range of acceptability. Picture your perfect event and consider that a 100%. Along with that, picture a total disaster, and score that a zero. Decide to be content with anything over 50%. There are factors no amount of planning can control, so non-disaster can be considered success.

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