Are Low Expectations the Key to Happiness?

I may be the only person you'll ever meet who was disappointed with a Rolling Stones concert. I saw the band LIVE in the 80s and had high hopes for what was one of the 2-3 greatest bands of all time. Growing up in Seattle, this was one of the rare concerts to be held in a football stadium -- two shows, more than 140,000 fans, and a complete sellout. 

It wasn't all that.

For years afterward, I always talked about the Rolling Stones as one of the least awesome concerts I'd ever seen. But really, the band wasn't to blame. They put on a perfectly great show in a football stadium. Mick Jagger even went up in a crane and flew over the audience. Nope, the problem with the show was... me. My expectations were far too high. 

And it turns out, that's exactly how we judge things... based on our expectations. Danish people always rank highly in surveys about happiness. They're generally happy people! And according to, that has as much to do with their approach to life as anything. Danes don't expect a lot, so they're not disappointed. Danes aspire to be average, as the saying goes, making it easy to be satisfied. The science backs it up: lower expectations actually boost your happiness. It's like getting a gift you didn't expect. Aren't they always the best?

So expect less, get more out of life.  

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[Photo Credit: Getty Images]



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