Sometimes on our many ten plus hour flights across the world Karch Kiraly, Tama Miyashiro, Lauren Paolini and I discuss life’s deep questions. That sounds like the beginning of some weird volley-related joke but we really do and it’s awesome.
So, one time we were on the subject of happiness and Karch was telling us about a book he had read which argued that happiness comes from low expectations. It might seem a little pessimistic at first glance but it’s really just about not taking things for granted. For example, if I expect my food to be bland then I’m really happy when it’s delicious. Most of us harbor fairly high expectations—we expect to be healthy, loved, well-fed, etc—so when our lives simply meet those expectations there’s no cause for celebration.
I’ve found that life overseas is definitely aided by this philosophy. We get used to a lot of comforts in America that aren’t necessarily always available overseas. So we can spend all of our time lamenting over the luxuries we no longer have or be happy when we get them. Every time I shower I expect the water to be freezing so when it isn’t I mark it down as a victory.
The fact is, the times that we’re unhappy, it’s usually because of one bad thing that went wrong that day. But we’ve completely disregarded the hundreds of things that went right because we just expect them to. If we learn to stop taking all of those little things for granted though, all of a sudden every day life becomes something to be happy about. And let me tell you, a hot shower makes me really happy.