It’s always best to set expectations lower than what you’re willing to do. Not so low that you can’t be asked to perform simple tasks — pass along a message, refill the communal coffee pot, water the neighbor’s fake plant while they’re out of town — but low enough so no one truly knows what you are capable of accomplishing. Here are some examples of this in action:

  1. Fixing things: When you become the “fix-it” person, your days will be consumed with neighborhood kids coming to your door to fix their bikes and scooters and your idiot neighbors mower.
  2. Powerpoint Presentation/Excel: You know the person in your office that you go to every time you need a spreadsheet that does more than add? That person hates their life.
  3. Picking stocks/gambling: If you have the knack to pick stocks that soar, or hit a 4 on a soft 17, you will be asked repeatedly for tips, secrets, and advice. And when that person loses their $250 in 9 seconds, they will blame you.

Don’t be great at anything, or if you are, don’t tell anybody. Let the low expectations hang there and give the illusion that you are just good enough to get by but not good enough to make a difference in their lives.

This same theory holds true with my golf game, I could hit the 15-footer for par, I could stuff it within 3-feet for a kick-in birdie, but what fun would that be? When people think you can’t do something and then you do it, you get praise. That is literally the only reason I play golf, the expression of approval from my friends. The glimmer of admiration as I hit a “thump” sand shot to a tight pin in my friend’s eyes, is enough fuel for me to lift a car. You don’t get compliments when you simply just do what you are supposed to do, you get it when your ability surprises somebody.

So there you have it, I am an amazing golfer, I just choose not to be because I wasn’t loved as a kid and need constant praise.

Later idiots. 

Adam Grubb

Adam Grubb is the CEO and Creative Director of Stick and Hack Media. He hosts three podcasts on the platform and is Executive Editor of and Stick & Hack Magazine.