How to Overcome High Expectations and Live The Life You Love

Jordan Mendiola
Photo by Chad Walton on Unsplash

Who here graduated high school, was expected to go to school, earn their degree and earn a high, stable salary? 

I’m sure many of us were.

Thankfully for me, my parents have supported any decision I made ever since I became independent and out of high school. 

I started by joining the Army reserves as an engineer. I then went on to take college courses for marketing, led by dropping out after my first deployment overseas and landing a social media marketing job.

All things aside, I was expected to go to school, focus on my studies, and find a career — but have achieved what I’ve wanted solely based on my own willpower, and you can too. 

Work hard enough to have savings, a fair amount of money, and some investments.

A great place to begin for anyone with high expectations is to get your finances right. Although this means working more and budgeting, you’ll thank yourself later for the cushion you built early.

In a more than 1,000 Americans survey, 80 percent said they have a budget.

Money isn’t everything, but it is a vital tool to get what you want and need. 

  • Savings offers security.
  • Spending money offers opportunity. 
  • Investments offer the opportunity for growth.

I would have never been able to experience as much life as I have without money. I worked for just above minimum wage at a movie theater, dog walked on the side and took on any other side hustles I could early on.

The money I made allowed me to purchase a MacBook Pro, filming equipment, tickets to live shows, and money to travel — all of which equate to productivity and inspiration.

“What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.” — Julia Cameron

Avoid living above your means. Instead, live at or below your means.

Every dollar you spend your money on matters. Fashion, experiences, things from Amazon, and the list goes on and on.

I’ve never been the flashy type of person, but I like having quality things in my life. 

My first car was a used 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer. I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve gone thrift-shopping at Goodwill. Some of the clothes I’ve purchased were dirt-cheap from China. 

Finances in check do not give you the right to live an inflated lifestyle, especially if you can’t afford it. I had to go broke to get humbled. 

A survey found that about 54% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. And nearly 40% of high earners — those making more than $100,000 annually — said they live that way.

Being broke made me realize that if you’re not committing to your goals or looking for ways to be better, you will remain in your situation for a long time. 

“I urge you to live within your means. One cannot spend more than one earns and remain solvent. I promise you that you will then be happier than you would be if you were constantly worrying about how to make the next payment on nonessential debt.” — Thomas S Monson

Make your own decisions without the fear of failure.

Anyone can place an opinion on you and what you should do with your life.

You can take their advice, and it could work out for you. Or it could make you miserable and resentful. 

The support of my parents allowed me to try so many different things without worrying about succeeding. 

The biggest lessons in my life came from failure.

  • Starting a YouTube channel taught me so much about video editing and being in front of an audience. 
  • Writing showed me how to structure thoughts and communicate them to an audience.
  • Joining the Army showed me how to step outside of my comfort zone, make mistakes, and bounce back from them. 

Motivation has to come from within. Without a burning desire, you can’t get anywhere. So even though I work overtime, serve in the military, and cook more than I eat out, it funds my current lifestyle. 

“The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.” — Deepak Chopra

How to Overcome High Expectations and Live The Life You Love

  1. Work hard enough to have savings, a fair amount of money, and some investments. Without money, you have no leverage. Once you figure that out, you can take control of your life without depending on others or their opinions about you. 
  2. Avoid living above your means. Live at or below your means, always. Volatile spending habits can create instability for even the highest earners. Control your outflow of money with as much attention to detail as you do with your earnings. 
  3. Make your own decisions without the fear of failure. Success can’t be an expectation. Everything you try has a different outcome waiting for you. It’s a matter of what you can tolerate and are willing to work towards that matters. 

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email:

Chicago, IL

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