For 3 years, I’ve wanted to do this.
At first, when I told people about it, no one was interested. “Some weird interactive show with masks? No thank you,” they said. (Actually, they mainly ignored me or just responded with, “Weird.”)
Then, after Sleep No More started gaining acclaim, it was purely the cost that deterred my friends. And I admit, shelling out almost $100 for one experience seems steep. But it’s going to be worth it. I know it. Much like when I bought tickets for Once, this is one of those things that I have no doubt will live up to my expectations. Because it has to. I paid almost $100 for it.
Thinking about this made me realize something about how I live my life–it’s totally wrong. I always talk about how it’s better not to get your hopes up so then you won’t be disappointed (inasmuch as telling yourself not to be disappointed truly results in less disappointment, which is a point I’ve never been able to prove). Setting the bar low sets you up to clear it.
That’s ridiculous. How it’s taken me this long to understand that is a mystery. After all, I studied to be a teacher, and one of the main things I tried to incorporate into everything I did was having high expectations. If you expect your students to succeed, and there’s an atmosphere of that expectation in your classroom, then your students are more likely to succeed. Why wouldn’t this also apply to other things in life?
Wouldn’t this apply to a first date? Instead of expecting it to go poorly so that when it does you’re not sad, why not just expect it to go well?
Wouldn’t this apply to new restaurants? Instead of expecting them not to live up to the hype so you don’t feel you’ve wasted your money, why not just expect them to be terrific?
Wouldn’t this apply to a big presentation at work? Instead of expecting to be grilled with difficult questions so you aren’t surprised when it happens, why not just expect to do a great job?
Because you might get hurt? Uh, yeah. You might get hurt walking down the sidewalk. You might get hurt lying in your bed. Might as well get hurt while expecting the best out of people, situations, and yourself.
Of course, if you set your expectations high, you also need to prepare to meet those expectations. It’s not as if just wanting something to happen has ever been enough to make that something occur. But wouldn’t it follow that if you do everything you can to set yourself up for that high bar, odds are, at least some of the time, you might clear it?
I know, this is not an extraordinary, sophisticated philosophy, and it’s certainly not one I just made up. People have been doing this for ages. There are inspirational posters about this concept plastered all over classrooms. There are quotes about it with hundreds of likes posted to Instagram. But for some reason, I never actually considered applying it to my own life.
So I guess Sleep No More has already accomplished a pretty big thing. And I’m sure seeing the show in 2 months will be just as satisfying.