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Lowering Your Expectations

Lowering Your Expectations

Mike Doane

Achieving quality through quantity

A lot of people confuse the non-zero principle with lowering your expectations. But if you’re setting your expectations low, you’re missing the point. Non-zero is about setting the conditions for success. It’s creating a system that ensures certain outcomes over the long term.

On Lewes Howes’ podcast, The School of Greatness, Humble the Poet says, “I’m trying to be less goal-oriented and more habit-oriented.”

That’s the essence of non-zero. It’s about creating consistent habits. When you have consistent habits, the expectations are not to climb the mountain, but to take one step at a time. It’s about moving forward. Eventually you’ll reach the top.

It’s important to come to the table with high expectations for the work you’ll be doing every non-zero session. It may fall flat sometimes, but that’s okay. We’re achieving quality through quantity.

For example, I like telling jokes. I’m not a comedian but I enjoy getting a laugh out of friends. My friends constantly make fun of my joke-telling abilities. They say that out of every 100 jokes, I land one good one. It’s a great feedback loop. The more often I tell 100 jokes, the more good ones I’ll land. I achieve some sort of quality through quantity.

It’s the good ones that get published in the end. I tell them to strangers or use them in presentations. The same goes for poems. I’m not a great poet, but I use social media to test ideas and create a constant feedback loop. I can identify which ideas resonate with people, then expand on them in a blog post, write more poetry with that given theme, or explore those ideas further in a novel or short story.

Non-zero is about quantity, but it’s also about quality. We don’t have to forsake one for the other. Our expectations should be high for our work, but it’s also okay when we come up short. The important thing is to be consistent and show up every day.