— Morgan Housel (https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/goalpost/)
”… In 2004 the New York Times interviewed Stephen Hawking, the late scientist whose motor-neuron disease left him paralyzed and unable to talk since age 21.
“Are you always this cheerful?” the Times asked.
“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21,” Hawking said. “Everything since then has been a bonus,” he replied.
If an abjectly terrible situation can be offset with low expectations, the opposite is true.
Not long after the Times interviewed Hawking it interviewed Gary Kremen, who founded Match.com. At the time Kremen was 43 years old and worth $10 million. That put him in the top half of 1% in the country, and probably the top 1,000th of 1% in the world. In Silicon Valley, it made him just another guy. “You’re nobody here at $10 million,” he said. The Times wrote: “He logs 60- to 80-hour workweeks because he does not think he has nearly enough money to ease up.”
The point here isn’t to say Hawking has the clarity of a monk or that Kremen was out of touch. Just that all happiness has its roots in expectations.
And Kremen’s situation is by far the more common one. It’s natural. It’s so natural that an important question is wondering if most of us walk through life on the same path.”