Have realistic expectations and aim for inner peace

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A note from my diary dated Jan 27, 2021. The trigger came from reading A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy.

Setting the right goals and expectations is key to living a good life. Often we set unrealistic goals and later get disappointed when we fail to achieve them. This leads to disruption of ‘tranquility,’ hence reducing good liveliness.

This is especially true for things over which we have some but not complete control.

Here’s a cheat sheet:

Things over which you have…Do thisExamples
Complete controlConcern yourself, set ambitious goalsI want to get better at the PHP programming language.
I want to improve my reading speed by 25% faster.
No control at allDo not concern yourself at allI will work my butt to become a billionaire.
I will write a bestselling novel.
Some but not complete controlConcern yourself, set internalized goalsSee below.

    The last bucket is the most deceiving of them all. Things in it are ones that will fool you into believing you have complete control. Watch out for such delusions.

    For instance, being a full-time software engineer my chances of winning a tennis match against a professional player are next to nil. No matter how much I train or hack my way around techniques, a professional is much more likely to know to be better on the match day because of decades of training and learning from mistakes. This is a case where I have some but not complete control. The goal here should not be winning the game but performing at my best level (internalized goal) – because this is a goal over which I have complete control.

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