High Hopes Low Expectations with Bipolar


I have a friend who struggles with bipolar disorder. Sometimes he is up, and sometimes he is

down. He went through a bad stretch a while back. He was real depressed. Every time I saw him, it seemed, he just looked really sad. Until this one day, it was like he had snapped out of it!

I had to ask him what happened. He told me he had been to his therapist. I asked him, did she give you great advice or what? Because you sure look different.

He said she taught him about this idea of high hopes and low expectations. I’d never heard of this idea, so I asked him to explain it to me.

He said high hopes and low expectations is exactly what it sounds like. You can have high hopes but have low expectations at the same time. And if you do that, you can handle disappointments much easier.

I’ve thought about that a lot since then. I’ve even applied it to my own life, and it does work.

I’ve been able to be more realistic than I was before. I look at things differently now. And it has even helped me to make decisions.

Ok, here’s an example. I had what I thought was a great idea for a new ad campaign for a new product I wanted to sell on the website. I was really excited about it. But I was going to have to put a lot of money into this campaign. So I did a lot of thinking about it first. And I remembered what my friend had said.

I definitely had high hopes for this product. So I had high hopes that this ad campaign would

be successful in selling it. So far so good. But when I checked my expectations, they were

also very high. That meant that if the campaign didn’t do as well as I hoped, I would be very disappointed, maybe even depressed. So it looked like I needed to lower my expectations. If I had lower expectations, I would be more realistic. That way, the campaign could still do good, but if it didn’t do as good as I hoped, I’d still be ok. I could settle for that.

So that’s the attitude I carried with me into the ad campaign.

Well, what happened was, the ad campaign did good. Not great, as I had hoped, but it did good.

So I felt good about it. I wasn’t disappointed, because I had already figured on it with my high hopes low expectations philosophy. But the way I looked at it was, it could have done great, but only for awhile, and then fizzled out, and then where would I be with this new product? No, I’d rather have it turn out the way it did.

You can apply the high hopes low expectations philosophy to all kinds of areas of your life.

My friend did it and it brought him out of his bipolar depression. I used it in my business and it helped me to make a sound business decision. This philosophy helps to keep you realistic.

That’s the main thing.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. i myself think that it is very true in some aspects. but in many ways it is very challenging…i have bipolar and manic episodes all my life so i have learned how to deal with it and other things as well..it is not always easy yet i am very surprised by my or shall i say my whole out look on things today… because i have and had to live my life as well as i could… it will always be an ongoing struggle yet something i am working out within myself… thank you for letting.. it made my day much happier…

  2. Hi Dave
    I think it is excellent.
    I’m not Bipolar. My mom is, and it seems just about every person I meet.
    Since I was 16 (I’m now 41) I decided on a similar attitude (a bit more harsh though – I am extreem, black or white). In short, I have always been generous and a person of my word. I love helping people. By the time I was 16 I realised not everyone was the same, but I loved who I was as a person so I decided not to change what I was doing but to “Expect nothing and never be disappointed”, then “everything u get in life is a surprise”.
    By the time I was 17, I was so independant and happy, nothing ever disappointed me. I knew my mom always had depression, but there was a bigger problem. So I started researching medicine in 1987. Staring with depression etc, found “Bipolar” and then found YOU. Praise God.
    Thank you

  3. Thanks for the “High Hopes Low Expectations” piece. That along with my own “What’s the worst that can happen?” and can I live with that, should really help. I’ve had bi-polar episodes for many years and have learned to cope somewhat efficiantly, but am always looking for any new ways to make that possible.

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