I was sitting at work and I was desperate for a postage stamp. I don’t normally conduct personal business at work (these entries being a notable exception), so I’m not used to carrying stamps to the office – let alone using them. I broadcast an APB for a stamp and got an immediate reply. A stamp had been seen in the office next door. My coworker dutifully gave me a single stamp and I was in business. I retrieved my sealed, addressed envelope and licked the stamp. I immediately noticed that the gum on the back of the stamp was completely inadequate. While it tasted really bad, it wouldn’t stick to the envelope at all. I really appreciated the gesture by my coworker (giving me the stamp and all), but I was really disappointed that the stamp I so dearly needed was defective. I put voice to my disappointment, only to hear the following rejoinder from my coworker: “it’s a self adhesive stamp John; you’ve got to peel the back off first.”
These kinds of experiences in life are incredibly useful. They help us to nurture low expectations for ourselves, thereby making it easier for us to meet them in the future.