The worst possible advice is to “lower your expectations.”
Instead, it is far more powerful to:
“Expect everything and attach to nothing.” — Carrie Campbell
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The recent hit film, Molly’s Game, written and produced by Aaron Sorkin, is about the story of Molly Bloom.
She grew up in Colorado, moved to LA, and got mixed-up in the wrong crowd. Ultimately, she found herself hosting the highest paying private poker games in the world.
It’s a true story and totally worth learning about.
Molly couldn’t be stopped. Eventually, the FBI and many other organizations were out to stop her. But she was past her point of no return, fueled by “unsustainably high dopamine hits.”
Molly hosted private games and her clients were the richest and most famous people in the world. The biggest surprise was that these people were terribly unhappy. They were disconnected and had no “center of gravity.”
When you have all the money and fame in the world, everything can become numb — and you seek bigger and bigger thrills just to feel anything.
This is what Molly got sucked and absorbed into. Eventually, it all came crashing down. She was arrested, and lost everything — all of her money, friends, and reputation.
Complete removal of ego
“Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.” — Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind
Once she lost everything, and had to face the cold hard truth that she’d made some horrible mistakes, she was free to become whoever she wanted to be.
Her low was so low that she became completely devoid of ego. She started going to 12-step programs and working relentlessly on herself.
She knew she was a mess. She owned-up to everything she did. Rather than seeking “unsustainable” dopamine hits, she realized that she needed to re-center and internalize her center of gravity.
She needed to learn to sit with the discomfort and boredom — rather than impulsively seeking any form of distraction she could find to numb and suppress the restlessness.
She eventually realized that she needed a personal re-branding. She decided that the best bet for re-invention would be to have a film made of her life.
After doing some research, she decided that Aaron Sorkin could do the best job. She then spent 4 months trying to get a meeting with Sorkin. That involved getting rejected over and over and over.
Yet, she didn’t experience any pain in all of that rejection. She was already leveled to the dust in humility. She had no ego left. She had lost BIG. She had lost everything. Her reputation was as bad as it could get. She was a felon who had shamed herself and her family.
She was willing to move forward because:
- She had spent a considerable time clarifying and justifying her thesis: that a movie about her life could actually be a viable option
- She followed intuition
- She went for it with abandon
- She stayed connected to herself, her center of gravity, and those around her who had her back
- She didn’t let the noise get it (others will try to convince you not to pursue your dream because they don’t believe they could do it or because they believe you can succeed)
Eventually, she got the meeting with Sorkin. She pitched her idea. At the end of the meeting, Sorkin said, “I’ve never met someone so down on their luck and so sure of themselves.”
Bloom responded, “I have lost everything. I have nothing to lose. I have no ego. If you don’t want to do this project, that’s fine.”
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How to have raw and uninhibited performance
Whether you worry about the outcome or not, everything will turn out okay. You might as well let go of the worry. In the realm of creativity, the moment you realize you can try and fail — and that everything will be okay — then you are free to create.
In an interview with Success Magazine, actor Jeremy Piven explained that as an actor, the only way to work is to go out and audition for specific roles.
The challenge most actors/actresses face is that they get in their own way. It doesn’t matter how much homework they’ve done. If they’re too tied to a specific result, they can’t be present in the moment. They can’t truly perform their art. They come off as desperate. They get in their own way. Their performance isn’t what it could have been.
Jeremy said that when he quit worrying about a specific result, he was able to be present during his auditions. He was able to be completely who he wanted to be. He wasn’t trying to be what he thought others wanted him to be. He performed his art.
If he didn’t get the gig, either they didn’t get it or it just wasn’t the right fit. So he moves on to the next. In this way, he’s able to get the jobs he’s supposed to have. He’s not just trying to get anything he can get.
According to Robert Kegan, Harvard Psychologist, the only way to truly experience the highest levels of transformation and “conscious evolution” is to detach from the need for specific outcomes.
THIS specific outcomes isn’t what matters. THIS outcome, regardless of what it is — win or lose — has no bearing on what you’re committed to doing and being. You’re fully committed and invested. You’ve already made the decision. And in your mind, you already know what you are. So THIS outcome doesn’t affect any of that.
You won’t be derailed by success nor defeat — as most people are. You’ve already made a decision. You’re committed to that decision. And you will move forward regardless of what happens here.
Expect everything; Attach to nothing
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” — Yoda
According to the “Expectancy Theory of Motivation,” three things must occur for a person to have high motivation for achieving their goals:
- You must believe you can do what it takes to achieve your goal.
- You must believe that you know how to achieve it (you have the proper methods).
- Finally, you must believe that the rewards of the particular goal are personally meaningful.
Napoleon Hill put it this way, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
If you believe you can do it, you probably can. Dan Sullivan has said, “The brain can only find what it’s looking for.” Most people assume something is impossible because that’s all their mental filter allows for. Ellen Langer said, “If something is presented as an accepted truth, alternative ways of thinking do not even come up for consideration.”
Yet, the common advice is to “lower your expectations,” in order to protect yourself from the pain of being let down.
Lowing your expectations is horrible advice.
The reason people are told to lower their expectations is because they don’t understand the power of confidence, commitment, and expectancy. They don’t realize, like Molly Bloom, that they could create the outcomes they wanted.
How did Bloom do it?
She internalized her center of gravity. She did the deep inner work of completely removing her ego. She faced all of her demons and faced the truth.
Then, she made a committed conclusion, removed all the external noise, and made it real. All of a sudden, she’s on the Ellen show and there’s a major motion picture about her life.
She could maintain inner security because she was completely detached from the outcomes.
She completely believed she would be successful. She could create the impossible. She expected to succeed — and her expectations and hopes were sky-high.
She wanted to work with the absolute best.
She held nothing back.
Yet, she was completely detached from every outcome. And in fact, that’s why she was able to pursue with such tenacity. The outcome didn’t really matter, and paradoxically she was internally resolved to make it happen.
This is freedom.
To expect the best and be completely detached from whatever happens.
Attachment to outcomes leads to being desperate and dissolving your personal values to get that outcome. You become unhealthily obsessed and can’t stay present.
When you know things will work out, and yet can be detached to whatever happens, you can live in congruence and integrity. If you succeed, you’re not defined by that success. If you fail, you’re not defined by that failure.
Your future is bigger and better than your past.
You’re constantly growing.
If you attach to an outcome — whether a good or bad — you freeze your personality. The worst thing you can do for your success is get attached to what happened in the past.
- Prior success defines you, and stops you from re-inventing yourself in the present.
- Prior failure defines you, and stops you from taking bigger and bolder risks in the present.
Attach to people, absolutely.
But detach completely from outcomes.
Expect EVERYTHING. Raise your expectations. Surround yourself with people who expect the best. According to what psychologists call, “The Pygmalion Effect,” people rise or fall to the expectations of those around them.
The best thing you can do is surround yourself with people who hold you to a higher standard than you hold yourself.
Very few people want REAL accountability in their lives. I’ve watched it. It takes a considerable amount of persuasion to convince someone to make a change THEY WANT TO MAKE in their lives.
Most people resent accountability. They don’t want to be pushed. They don’t want high expectations.
They want lower and lowering expectations. Even when they pay someone to hold them accountable.
But if you want real growth — surround yourself with people who expect you to show up bigger than you’ve ever watched yourself show up. Surround yourself with people who see enormously more in you than you could ever see in yourself.
Attach to nothing.
Ready to upgrade?
I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.
This article first appeared on Medium.