We all make annoying mistakes.
And that’s usually a good thing. But some mistakes are dangerous. They suck out your precious energy and make you feel awful inside.
Enough of that. You deserve better.
It’s time for you to feel great by avoiding these seven stupid mistakes.
1. Compare yourself to others
This must be the most common mistake in the history of mankind. We all do it even though we know it’s bad for us.
I mean look at her, you might say. She’s so smart and gorgeous.
Why am I such a failure?
Hold it right there for a minute while you ponder this brilliant quote from Chris Garrett:
You’re not inside her head. You don’t know her full story or what’s going on in her life. You don’t see her struggle, the path that brought her to where she is today.
Sometimes the most loud-mouthed and happy person may be miserable on the inside. You never know.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, ask yourself these essential questions and tune into the answers. Listen carefully because these answers are important to you.
The smart choice: Compare yourself to yourself. Always. When in doubt, remind yourself that you only see edited versions of others.
My example: I started this blog in January 2012. At the time, I looked at other blogs and got caught up in subscriber numbers, sidebar designs and Facebook likes. I was wasting my energy and I started complaining.
Which brings me to my next point.
2. Whine about everything (without doing anything about it)
OK, so let’s face the facts. We whine. A lot. It’s part of human nature. It’s not sexy, but we do it nevertheless.
It feels good at the moment. It’s an easy way out. But the problem is we don’t take any responsibility. It’s not sustainable.
We’re doing ourself a major disservice. We use our precious energy to be part of the problem. We somehow forget to be part of the solution.
The smart choice: Whine less. Be a doer instead and see what happens. You will be surprised by the results.
My story: I like to blame my computer for almost anything. It’s so convenient because it can’t argue back (at least for now). It doesn’t get the job done though, so I’m working hard on getting rid of my tech whiny-ness. My computer approves.
How about you? What do you whine about a lot? Why?
3. Be too proud to ask for help
Pride kills people every day.
You don’t ask for help because you’re afraid to look weak and feel dumb. You think it means that you’re not good enough.
Nonsense, I say. It means you’re human.
Ever tried being more human? It helps. A lot.
It does take some serious guts, though, which is why most people hide behind fake masks and pretend to know more than they do.
(Hey, don’t we all?)
The smart choice: Next time you’re facing an obstacle, look around and ask for help. Reach out on social media. Use online forums (but remember to avoid mistake #2). If you struggle with this, think of help as a gift. People love to feel needed. Why would you rob someone from feeling that?
My story: I was stuck with a crappy website. I didn’t know what to do. I toyed with it, but it only made matters worse (see #2). Eventually I swallowed my pride, bought a professional WordPress theme (affiliate link), and asked my friend to set it up.
4. Live up to social expectations
It’s funny how society makes us behave in a certain way. The pressure never ceases to wear off. We need to work with it, not against it.
It’s a matter of becoming comfortable in your own skin, which is not an easy task.
Stretch your boundaries little by little. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
The smart (and more fun) choice: Choose one task that’s slightly outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be anything major, just something that doesn’t ring true with social expectation. Maybe strike up a conversation with a stranger on a bus or a train. Or play tag in public.
My story: I opened my coloring book and drew in public. Apparently a 23-year-old shouldn’t use crayons. Oh, you should have seen the looks! People thought I was mentally ill.
But I resisted the urge to stop. The teddy bear was more important.
Some people take life too seriously.
5. Play it safe (all the time)
I interviewed Dr. George Tippett about two years ago. He taught me that we sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reasons.
He also said something that has stuck with me ever since our last interview:
“When given a choice, do the most outrageous.”
This way, you ensure you make the most out of your options. By the end of your life, you want to have lived fully. Besides, what kind of life is risk-free? Does that even exist?
The smart choice: Start living, not existing.
My story: I’m afraid of heights. Like really afraid. I went skydiving about a year ago. The thrill from that jump still tickles my stomach. Heck, it made me want to help you to take that step and conquer your fears too.
6. Allow your fears to steer the way
This ties in with not taking any risks.
Remember, most fears are learned. We often let these external factors lead our lives.
A common fear is not having enough money. It feels very real and it activates our monkey brain. Again, it’s a matter of remembering that money can be made.
Compare money to time and you gain perspective. I still haven’t met a single soul who’s said they’ve spent too much time with their family or friends and too little in the office.
The smart choice: Befriend your fears. Acknowledge that they exist. Then take small steps to live with them. See it as an un-learning process.
My story: I was afraid when I moved out of home for the first time. That’s kinda scary for most people.
But I moved to Barcelona – a place I had only seen on postcards. I didn’t speak the language very well (you know, it was a matter of “I took Spanish in high school”) and I didn’t know anyone. It turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences ever.
7. Care too much about what others think
This dumb life mistake relates to all of the above. It’s the most dangerous mistake, and a difficult one to tackle.
Especially if you’ve just been dumped.
We are social beings, so of course we’re going to care about what others think of us. Read not too much.
No one is living your life. Only you can choose your response.
Remember it’s OK to be fragile. You don’t need to grow a “thick skin”.
But you do need a system to help you with the trolls (I’ll talk more about a practice I use for this in a few weeks. Editor’s note: It’s called mindfulness and you can read more about it here).
The smart choice: Recognise that other people’s words and thoughts do not reflect reality. Although their looks feel as if they do.
My story: I have sensitive skin, so when I go to the grocery store I can’t buy those hyper-marketed “male” soaps (you know the bottles with the ferocious animal names and black covers on the front).
Instead I’m left with a few other, let’s just say less ferocious-looking, soaps. Which I’m totally fine with by the way. I’m not really a big fan of the whole having a gigantic panther in my shower.
Anyway, when I get to the check out, the person at the counter is giving me this stare, this “Oh my, I can’t believe he’s buying this kind of soap.” She only really shows it for a split second, though, but you can totally tell.
People have an opinion about everything, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it into consideration.
If I would, my entire body would be itching like a freaking mosquito bite. Why be in such pain so others can find something else to judge you by?
And yes. That even includes the check out chick at the counter.
Because they kick us down and then we rise again.
Over to you
How do you overcome these stupid mistakes? Any ones you want to add to the list? Let us know about your concerns in the comments, and we’ll help you get moving again.