Rewriting The Script: Get Your Hopes Up

The main goal of this site is to inspire positive change. To provide tips and ideas on how people can improve their lives.

One of the ways to inspire positive change is to rewrite social scripts. These scripts are sayings or ideas shared by many people, yet often times lead to negative consequences.

So, today I want to completely destroy one of our social scripts. I want you to stop using it. I want you to stop your friends and families from using it. I want you to call me a smelly hypocrite if you hear me use it.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up.”

Yep, that’s the one. I hear it all the time from people who have a big job interview coming up, or after a date that went well, or some opportunity that may be on the horizon. 

I get it. I’ve said it before too. We say this as a defense mechanism. As long as we don’t get our hopes up then there is no way we can be disappointed, right? Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Just.. I’ll explain.

It Changes Our Behavior

When we “don’t get our hopes up,” we reshape our expectations. Instead of planning on a second date, we expect there to be no second date, therefore when he doesn’t call we’re not crushed.

The problem with this is that it changes our behavior, which can actually lead to the outcome we don’t want. For example, men who believe that all women are bitches with no souls, often end up with women who are cruel and do seem to lack a soul. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

They believe all women all terrible, so their subconscious is scanning for terrible women. When he finds yet another horrible girlfriend, he gets confirmation, once again, that he is right and women are terrible. When, in fact, he’s only dated two women in his entire life.

In psychology, it’s called cognitive dissonance. I know, you don’t give a shit, but here’s the deal:

Your brain does not like to hold conflicting beliefs. So when you believe all men are terrible, and you go on a date with a dude who is tall, dark, and handsome, sings like Drake, has a great job, and is overall a good dude, you will begin to sabotage the date on a subconscious level. Your brain cannot hold onto the fact that, 1) Men are assholes and 2) This man is not an asshole. Something has to give. 

A little woo woo, I know. You still with me?

Same thing with that awesome interview; we don’t get our hopes up, which shifts our expectations, which changes our behavior. So rather than researching the company, the interviewer, and practicing flipping “our one weakness” into a positive attribute, we watch Netflix and pound Blue Moons.

It Doesn’t Make us Feel Any Better

My second reason to rewrite this script is that being right doesn’t really make us feel any better. When you don’t get the job, the girl, or the invitation you still feel that pain of loss and rejection.

So, you were prepared to take the “L,” you were right (which is always nice, right?), yet you still feel like crap. Of course you do. Who doesn’t want an awesome job, an awesome lover, or an invitation? It’s always going to be disappointing, whether we had high hopes or low expectations.

So go ahead, get your hopes up. There is potential for disappointment either way, so you might as well get excited, prepare for that interview, and continue to bathe in preparation for date #2.

It Wastes Mental Resources

Here’s the deal, we spend an awful lot of time thinking, so why not think big? It takes just as much energy to think positive as it does negative, so why linger on the side of planning for failure?

We have limited mental resources. Our brain can only consciously process so many bits of information at any given moment.

So when we direct that energy to not getting our hopes up, there isn’t any mental space left to think about how great things went in that interview, or how good your jokes were on that date.

I mean, if nothing else, gratitude for the past makes you feel way better than pondering disappointments of the future. Wouldn’t we all rather to feel good?

This is not to say that we should look at the world through rose-colored glasses. If you forgot to wear pants, were drunk, and called the interviewer an asshole, it’s probably safe to assume you’re not going to get called back.

This new script is for when we have no reason to believe that the future is going to be shitty. It’s a call to get your hopes up; to plan on success. 

Pass this new script onto your friends and family. Share this post with somebody who needs to get their hopes up.

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