Mar 24, 05:07 PM by Eric Allen
Last week I suffered a bit of a meltdown. I set extremely high expectations for my peers and for my professors, and they’ve been consistently letting me down this semester. Whether it’s the crazy Professional Development professor railing about how “our kids need to be more competitive” or my Probability professor’s spat with the class about the proper process for handing in homework, the faculty have been really disappointing me this semester. On top of that, my teammates for “Senior Design” have been, well, sub-par. Don’t get me wrong, a couple of them are great, but the majority are clueless and unmotivated. A terrible meeting on Tuesday sent me into an emotional tailspin, and it took me a few days to recover.
As I generally do when I’m not feeling well mentally, I scheduled an appointment with the Counseling Center. I feel weird seeking psychological help when I’m really just pissed off at stupid people, but boy was it a good call. Today I spent an hour there, and I’ve picked up a big piece of wisdom.
Don’t set expectations for events outside your control. That’s it. That’s what I learned today, and it’s really that simple. I tend to set expectations (high ones) for everything around me, and I tend to believe I can, through sheer force of will, control most events. This turns out to be a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what happened to me last week. It sounds simple, but it’s not going to be easy to integrate into my daily activities. As an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs, I’m predisposed toward this kind of behavior. It will take a lot of willpower and concentrated effort to change, but I think I can do it.
Already today I’m feeling better. Instead of setting expectations on everything, I’m letting the day unfold. I had a meeting with a couple of my Senior Design teammates (the good ones), and I didn’t set expectations. I simply communicated what I needed to get across and listened to what they communicated. We set some milestones for our part of the project, and we got a ton of work done. Now, instead of feeling guilty about being unproductive, I’m sitting on my favorite hill enjoying the biting breeze of Spring. Experience life as it is, instead of constantly comparing it to your predictions of what it should be. That’s my new nugget of wisdom.