I think we've all been there. And if you haven't felt stuck in your life, it's only a matter of time before you will. It's a natural part of modern day life. I'm not trying to scare you, though. But you know how all these self-help books go, right? "I was down and out. I lost all my money. I was depressed. My life sucked. But then I discovered X. And then my life changed." X is, of course, the idea they want to sell you. Since I'm honest with you, I'm no different. For example, in this book, I want to sell you on the idea of useful and useless thoughts. But there's a difference. I'm giving you my perspective--nothing more. It's up to you to decide what you're going to do with it. John Dewey, a pragmatist, and one of the fathers of functional psychology, famously said: "The true is that which works." But that doesn't mean we should believe everything we hear or read. That makes us delusional. If we want to think straight at all times, we must stay grounded, look at facts, listen to other people's perspectives, and only then draw practical conclusions. I cannot stress enough that although this work may be something you're able to do, it may not be safe for you to do it alone.

If there's trauma, abuse, or neglect in your history, finding a therapist that has experience with these dynamics is not just advisable but may be necessary. Please give yourself permission to do so. You can find safety in a supportive therapeutic relationship that you can't necessarily feel in any other. You're highly skilled in intellectualizing, in staying in your head instead of connecting with your heart. Many times, I've watched someone on the verge of letting go, of allowing an emotion to surface--only to quickly blink it away or awkwardly change the subject. If you immediately feel discomfort at even the thought of expressing the emotion, then stay in the moment--stay with that discomfort. Be mindful of it. It's a huge clue. See what your mind and heart bring to the table. See if it's tied to a message that you've identified from your timeline. Give it time and space. Your unease or discomfort with your emotions reveals what you learned and what you still mistakenly believe now. This is incredibly important for your own emotional growth. Sooner or later, if we feel that our more fundamental needs have been met, we begin to start making choices based on the need to express the gifts that are uniquely ours. If we feel that our life is safe, our acceptances are secure, and we have the confidence of good self-acceptance and worth, we turn to more esoteric needs. We feel the urge to make our mark on the world. We may feel that we have to teach, train, design, or create. We may feel the need to write or draw or paint. We may feel we have to have children or travel the world to express ourselves. We make the choice to go into our own business, rather than being "just a number" in a megacorporation.

Driven by the need to "be" who we uniquely are, we choose to be in the country with nature or in the city, shakin' and bakin' in the business world. This need is so great in many people that they will renounce everything that is familiar and predictable--their jobs, their position in society, even their families--to write their novel or become an actor. The need for self-expression can be an enormous drive from within, prompting choices that often puzzle friends and family. Choices in this area are driven by the desire for answers: to the acquiring of knowledge, both general and specific, and the pursuit of answers to profound questions. As with the other needs in the hierarchy, once this level of functioning is met, it can become powerfully consuming. The search for an answer can consume some people, and all of their choices can be driven accordingly. Once other needs are met, some just take a totally cerebral approach to life and their choices show it. When such is the case, choices are often one-dimensional. Our self-pity might be best understood as disconnection from our own power. A call to take responsibility for the thoughts we think and the choices we make, and an invitation to reconnect with our deep inner strength and courage. We are often quick to feel victimised by our circumstances, failing to acknowledge just how much we can do about them! Empowering ourselves through conscious and selective thinking, exploring our self-healing, self-soothing powers and activating our creativity are great ways to face and combat our self-pity. Similarly, our self-doubt can be read as a disconnection from our intuition. Doubting ourselves invites us to reconnect with our immense inner wisdom, and to surrender to faith in being divinely guided and protected through life. With such magical awareness we awaken to infinitely greater love and support, and our self-belief and confidence naturally blossom. Physical and emotional clutter that crowds us can be taken as a call to see what we cannot let go of in our lives. How might we be seeking to fill real internal voids or needs by jam-packing our calendars or accruing more things? Noticing our cluttered thoughts, agendas or spaces invites us to consciously create breathing room in our lives and enjoy greater peace and flow. By honestly reassessing our values and priorities, we are able to embark on healing and refreshing decluttering journeys that can radically elevate our spirits and profoundly improve our daily lives. When both the significance and the effectiveness of expectation therapy are understood, then you will be able to harness expectations to better yourself in the workplace, in education, and in every aspect of life.

With improved expectations, you can create the foundations for success. Expecting the best creates a psychological environment where anything is possible. When you believe the sky's the limit, then you can tackle challenges and the world with a renewed sense of confidence. Most important, remember that your expectations are uniquely yours. They contain tremendous power because they come from deep within the core of your being. I'm convinced that you have the innate potential to succeed beyond your dreams. Sharing my story and how positive expectations have shaped my life for the better will help to illustrate how you can apply these same principles and techniques to further your unique aspirations. I view the mind as a muscle that requires regular training to keep strong. One way to train your mind is by learning new things. But I always thought that learning ends when your education ends. For some, that's when they leave high school, for others, it's when they get their bachelor's or master's degree. During our time in school, we learn new skills, ideas, and theories that change the way we think and operate in the world. But once we've established a way of thinking, we hardly change it. We prefer to entertain the same thoughts because they give us a sense of familiarity. We've learned that novelty is a scary thing--so we do everything to avoid it. We're creatures of habit who prefer relaxing our mind instead of straining it. "I need to relax and watch something on Netflix," is something I hear almost everyone, of all ages, say these days. I've said it myself as well. That makes me wonder what we need rest from? From the repetitive tasks we do at work?

From the familiar thought patterns we have? If you really think about it, we hardly strain our minds unless there's a specific reason--like a test or exam we have to take. Otherwise, we often think, "What's the point?" Well, the point is to train your mind just like you train your body to keep fit. You don't go to the gym for four years and quit for the rest of your life. So why don't you exercise your mind the same way you do your body? Three things may be getting in your way. First, you may not want to look weak. Many people associate showing emotion with weakness or being out of control. Take crying, for example. I've said before that tears represent intensity. Whether you cry out of joy, sadness, or anger, your tears reflect the depth of your feeling. Changing this very stoic belief can help you risk showing some kind of vulnerability. You're taking down that wall of yours slowly but surely. Second, you may have convinced yourself that your feelings get in the way of making good decisions. Your immediate feelings shouldn't govern your choices. But there's a concept called emotional intelligence, which stresses what our emotions can do for us to ensure a fulfilling and productive life. Your curiosity, being able to distinguish between wants and needs, empathy, passion--all are aspects of emotional intelligence. Far from being a detriment to good decision making, your emotional intelligence is extremely vital in making good choices. Third, you may be very tuned out of the messages your body is sending you. Your body often gives you clues that emotions are occurring.