The Key to Happiness

People spend their lives trying to find a way to be happy. Look no further. I offer you the secret key to happiness right here. Ready? Here it is:

“Lower your expectations.”

That’s it. You want a more detailed recipe? Okay. Here it is:

“Continually lower your expectations until they drop below the threshold that can be met by reality.”

That’s all you have to do to be happy. Reality offers you a limited range of possibilities for a mate, career, lifestyle, and so forth. Accept it. Expect no more than you can obtain with your best effort and you will be happy.

If you want to be unhappy, expect to be filthy rich, win a Nobel prize, and marry a supermodel who will act like a porn star in your bedroom every night. I guarantee that you will make yourself feel miserable that you’re merely middle class, respected by only some of your colleagues, and married to a nice woman who wants a normal sex life.

Don’t do that to yourself.

As long as you can look at yourself realistically, you can be happy.

That’s hard to do in America. You are constantly bombarded with media that demands that you raise your expectations to unrealistic levels. Every advertisement tells you that you should have more than you can afford. Every sitcom and drama shows people who have more exciting lives than you do. Every reality show insists that any average person with minimal talent can be an international celebrity. And sex? You don’t need porn to raise your expectations. Mainstream TV, movies, and music videos show everyone having great, kinky sex with young, beautiful partners all day and night.

No wonder you’re unhappy. Reality can never give you what the media makes you think you should have.

It’s not easy to lower your expectations to realistic levels. You’re going to have to work hard at it. And not just once, but constantly. Every day the media tries to raise your expectations to new heights in new ways. So, every day, you’re going to have to find some way to lower them again.

Will this make you happy?

It will if you lower your expectations for happiness as well. Don’t expect to be ecstatic. Try to be just happy enough to be happy.

You can do it. I know you can.

Yours, Ashley


About Ashley Zacharias

I'm a post-modern woman who lives a vanilla life and dreams about kinky adventure. I write BDSM pornography but have no interest in acting out my fantasies in real life. Find my work on and
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4 Responses to The Key to Happiness

  1. Koala says:

    Great post. Very Zen that the root of all unhappiness is the pursuit of worldly, temporary pleasures. It also reminded me of the Robert G. Ingersoll quote, “the time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”

    So I’d argue that in addition to unrealistic expectations making us unhappy, it’s also that our expectations tend to be for the wrong things.

  2. You stimulate some interesting thoughts. The “pursuit” of an unrealistic goal is tightly related to the “expectation” of an unrealistic outcome, but is not quite the same thing. It seems likely that pursuing an unrealistic goal is probably going to make you even less happy than expecting an unrealistic outcome to drop into your lap without pursuing it. On the other hand, if you pursue an unrealistic goal but do not expect to succeed, then you might still be happy with the effort that you made. It can be fun to jump as high as you can as long as you don’t expect to reach the clouds.

    • Koala says:

      Having recently tried to jump as high as I could with my 8 year old on a trampoline, I can confirm that it is a lot of fun. 🙂

      I do agree that the pursuit of doing something with excellence, or at least as well as you can, without getting all tied up in the outcomes, can be very satisfying. Probably even more satisfying than getting some outcome you think you want, even when you did nothing to pursue it. E.g. most lottery winners report that they are no happier after winning than they were before.


  3. Lasse says:

    You are right about that, but sometimes it can be hard not to want more than you have.

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