Here is what I have learned about success:

It’s all about managing expectations.

For example, I try to go first whenever I can when giving presentations in class.  That way, no matter how ill-prepared I may be or how often I fumble over my words or even how lame my powerpoint presentation really is, there is no one to compare it to yet.  Going first allows the presenter to set the expectations for the rest of the presentations and is the one that the rest are measured against.

If I can help it, I never, ever go last.  Going last is simply not an option.  I’m not that much of a douche bag that I will email my professor ahead of time and insist on going first, but I definitely try to be that person that is like, “Oh, yeah, no big deal, I’ll go first if no one else wants to.” You know, all nonchalant.  And when someone else is like “Oh, I want to go first!” (because that always happens- there are always other freaks like me who want to set the bar low) I’m always like *Hulk’d up* NO I’M GOING FIRST, YOU IDIOT FUCK!

Just kidding, I don’t turn green, grow three times my regular size, or bust out of my white (??) shirt and purple pants.  I don’t even shout at my classmates. I simply keep it real and let everyone know what’s up: I must go first.

In life, I finally learned to be that kid at a birthday party to have her gift opened first.  There were far too many times I tried to be that girl whose present was so good it had to be saved for last. You know, that whole save the best for last bullshit.  But what parents don’t tell you and what you learn after birthday party after birthday party is that it sucks when someone else gives the same gift as you- or worse, someone gives a better present than yours.  That is a situation that takes you on a bullet train to Sucktown.

The best time to give your gift is first.  That way, you have the best gift of the day, even if it’s just for a moment.  That’s a moment you can’t get back. And, that way, if there is a duplicate gift situation, you don’t look like a dickhole and you don’t have to sit in the corner and cry because someone gave the same gift you did.  You can know that you have won. (Because winning is really all that matters- ask Charlie Sheen.)

At work, you have to manage expectations too. If you do something really impressive one day that is something that is expected to be repeated, you better believe that you have just set a precedent.  You will be held to that standard from now on.  That is totally fine if you don’t mind working your butt off to constantly exceed expectations and/or consistently perform at a high level.  But if you’re lazy as fuck and it was done on a fluke, then you’re pretty much up Chocolate Creek without a popsicle stick. If you’re lazy as fuck at work and really just want to do the least amount of work as possible, then you should never do anything more than what is expected of you. Because that is the kiss of death for you, and you can no longer be lazy as fuck.

I have finally realized that even dealing with some family drama, it all comes down to managing expectations.  Drew and I have tried (and failed at) the being-sneaky approach- that just ends in tears (including my own). We can’t just lie about our plans and spring them on a certain person at the last minute- a shitstorm of drama explodes out of seemingly nowhere.  We have also tried the let’s-be-really-vague-about-our-plans approach and that just ended in bitterness, shouting, resentment, anger, and, yes, you guessed it, tears (including my own).  Being vague has usually just resulted in having to lie (which we all know I am not good at) and/or just really awful family moments.

So, this time, we are trying the honesty-is-the-best-policy approach.  This approach includes telling both parties exactly what’s up and setting clear expectations for everyone involved. That way, when the time comes to leave, no one is surprised or upset.  I’m psyched about this.

Here’s hoping.

So, my friends, go forth and embrace this managing expectations lifestyle I have adopted.  Share with me your success stories. Or just stories about your childhood birthday parties. I would enjoy that as well.

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