By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
How many of these top 10 life mistakes are you making?
What is a mistake for one person may not be for another. Over the long haul, most mistakes can be turned into assets if you recognize you are making them and change what you are doing. Here is a list of some of the things people report have been their top mistakes in life. Take a look at this list and see if you are making any of these. If so would today be the time to change what you are doing?
1. Trying to live up or down to others expectations.
Having someone who believes in you can be a powerful incentive. But if you find you are doing things you do not want to do because others expect this of you, take another look at these efforts and decide if this what you really want out of life.
Are you trying to enter a career or profession because that is what your family expects? If you get there will this be something that makes you happy? Often people try to do things to get the love and acceptance of their families only to find that what they do can never be enough. If you try to make the big leagues because your parent wanted to get there and now is living through you, be careful.
Potentially worse is the situation in which someone fails because this is what their family expects of them. Do not listen to others who need you to fail so they will not feel so bad about themselves. If you have always been told that you can’t do something, that you will never be able to do what you want, take another look at this and see if this is really true or is it others trying to hold you back. Some parents even think the way to protect their children from failure is to tell them they can’t do things so they will not try and be disappointed.
Give things a try and see how far you can go. Do not be held back by doubts, yours or others. You may discover you have more ability than you think. You do not need to make it to the White House to be successful, but if you do not try you will never know if you could have accomplished something.
2. Insisting life be fair.
Do not waste time insisting life be fair. You can spend a lot of time, fighting over what is and is not fair but sometimes life is just not fair. Work to change things if you can, but do not let unfair situations or people keep you from your pursuit of your goals. It may not be fair that someone else gets into a good school and you do not. Dust yourself off and keep going. People who get advantages early in life often fade as time goes on. People who learn to overcome adversity keep moving forward.
3. Blaming others for what you lack.
It really does not matter whose fault it is that your life is not the way you want it. You can stay stuck in blame or you can take the initiative and start off again.
4. Expecting someone to fix you.
Making your life happy or you successful is an inside job. Others can help but they can’t make you a different person. A good doctor can help you heal but the docs will tell you that a patient who takes an active part in their recovery and maintains a positive attitude will recover more rapidly.
5. Thinking you should be somewhere else.
Do not blame your life on where you are. Be as successful as you can. If you really need to be somewhere else, say you want to act, you need to go where there are theaters. Do not say that someday when you move to New York you will become a great actor. Learn all you can where you are.
6. Saying you are too old or do not have the time.
Always wanted to do something? Now is the time. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you are too old or do not have the time.
Always wanted to go back and get your college degree? Think you are too old? How old are you now? How old will you be in four years? Will you be any different in age whether you go to school or not? Lots of people are going back to school or starting a new career at ages that used to be thought of as too old. Truth is you can do whatever you set your mind to if you stop putting it off.
7. Letting fear keep you from trying.
Lots of people never tried things that they might have been good at because they let fear stand in their way. Take a realistic look at what it is that you always wanted to do. Get some advice from someone else. Always wanted to write the great American novel? Age is no barrier. Give it a try.
Doing things is more possible now than ever before. You may not have the advantage of going to a prestige school or years to practice your skill. You do not need to be as good as Shakespeare or Hemingway to write a book. Whatever book you write will be your book. Why let fear keep you from giving it a try.
8. Expecting someone else to make you happy or successful.
Learn that others can’t eat for you, can’t sleep for you and can’t exercise for you. They also can’t make you happy. Having happy loving people can add to your happiness but you can be miserable any place you choose. You can also learn to be happy in whatever situation you find yourself in. Work on making your life better but accept that happiness is up to you not others.
9. Calling yourself names.
Do not call yourself names or put you down. Some people experienced this as children and have kept up the destructive practice. They may pass down this negativity to their offspring. There is no proof that calling yourself stupid can make you smarter. What it will do is make you give up trying and not trying is the perfection of stupid.
Believe in yourself, accept yourself as you are, and you will go a whole lot farther in life. Calling yourself names will not motivate you to do better. It will hold you back. Tell yourself positive affirmations and you will do better. Say you can’t and you will make that come true.
10. Trying to please others.
Spend your life trying to please others and you are likely to please no one. Others are hard to please. Work to please yourself. Do things you can be proud of and you will end up pleasing those who matter.
Yes, sure you want to please the boss or your partner. Do this not because of the desire to please them but because doing you best will please you and see how many more people will be pleased by your efforts.
Those are the top ten life mistakes on my list. Are there any other mistakes that you have made and now regret? What are you doing to overcome those mistakes and move forward?
For more on becoming the best you possible, check out these other counselorssoapbox.com posts.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
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Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.