I enjoy reading your blogs. I have a quick question. You hear a lot about mistakes people make when they are first starting out. Can you please give me some advice on how to avoid some of these mistakes? – Jason K. (Newport, Rhode Island)
Great question, Jason. I admire you for wanting to learn how to avoid mistakes early in your life. I wish I had your foresight growing up. I read a great article recently by Henrik Edberg called “Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes When You Think?” Below are the headers from his list followed by my own insights, which is good advice for adults of all ages.
1. You Overthink – you overanalyze until you sweat the small stuff and become paralyzed out of fear.
2. You see things in black and white – Your way or the highway. You create unnecessary barriers to your own success.
3. You think the world is revolving around you – You are too consumed by your own thoughts and you ignore the common sense advice from others. Despite what your parents, friends, spouse, significant other or “mirror reflection” tells you, you are not the smartest person in the room.
4. You generalize yourself and your world – Generalizations are often unfounded projections of oneself or others. Do not let the negative comments or views of a select few dictate how you perceive yourself or what others may think about you. Stop being so hard on yourself.
5. You look for problems even when there are none – You look for smoke when there is no fire. You always expect a shoe to drop, or something to go wrong. This can often lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
6. You are addicted to your comfort zone – As I discuss in my book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, one of the main reasons why so many people seem to fail and never achieve their goals and success is because they simply succumb to their fears and never make any real efforts to ever get out of their negative comfort zone. This would involve doing the necessary disciplined work to improve their current situations or, even better, understanding how to avoid their comfort zone altogether.
7. You think about yourself as a victim – No one has control or power over your life unless you give them that power. Take the appropriate actions to own your own circumstances and stop blaming others for poor decisions that you either made or did not make.
8. You think that what you feel now is just how it is – To quote the Chinese Tao Philosopher, Lao Tzu: “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” Enough said!
9. You compare yourself to other people – Stop trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Comparing yourself to others is the quickest way to lose your own way. Do not cut corners by trying to live outside your financial and personal means. Do not make rash or emotional decisions that only create more drama and delays toward accomplishing your own goals.
10. You think you already know how things work – What possesses normal, intelligent, educated adults (young and old alike) to ignore basic common sense? Like I said earlier, you are not the smartest person in the room. Successful people listen, learn, and lead.
“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” ~ Friedrich Nietzche
Best of luck and keep me posted as you grow your future success,