Community Add OnsFourteen Fundamentals

Fundamental Six: Lower Your Expectations & Aspirations

Answers the question – What are the top 14 traits of happy people?


Happy people tend to:

  • have lower, and more modest expectations and aspirations
  • a slightly lower desire for success than unhappy people
  • not postpone their happiness to a future point – the whole “I will be happy when” – Happy people are already happy -NOW!
  • not “need” their ambitions to become reality in order to be happy


  1. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
  2. Our culture greatly overestimates the relationship between long-term goals and happiness.
  3. Happiness is a way to travel, not a place to arrive.  (happy people know this & get happiness now rather then expecting it later!!!!)
  4. Success may not lead to happiness, but happiness leads to success.
  5. Happy people get what they want, because they want what they can get.

The Sixth Fundamental is “Lower Your Expectations and Aspirations.” It is also known as “the controversial Fundamental.”

It is based upon research findings which show that happy people tend to have lower, more modest expectations and aspirations, while unhappy people tend to be typified by extremely high expectations and goals. The conclusion, therefore, would seem to be that you would be happier if you lowered your own expectations and aspirations.

Now, this conclusion strikes most people as quite controversial — if not downright shocking. Lower your expectations and aspirations? It just doesn’t sound right! One would think that happiness is more associated with high hopes, high ambitions, high goals, etc. — not lower ones! Lower expectations and aspirations seem to run counter with everything we’ve been taught since childhood. We’ve heard that we should “dream the impossible dream,” “reach the unreachable star,” “set our sights high,” etc..

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