post written by: Marc Chernoff

50 Ways to Waste a Life


50 Ways to Waste a Life

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never get it.  If you don’t ask the right questions, you’ll always get the wrong answers.  If you don’t take a step forward, you’re always going to be in the same place.  Life is a journey full of choices.  Here are 50 wasteful choices to avoid.

  1. Spend time regretting the past and feeling sorry for yourself.
  2. Complain about problems and do nothing to solve them.
  3. Follow the path of least resistance and quit when the going gets tough.
  4. Ignore your passion and follow the money.
  5. Setup your lifestyle so it’s dependant on your next paycheck.
  6. Spend more than you earn and rack up lots of financial debt.
  7. Try to control everything and then worry about the things you can’t control.
  8. Focus on what you don’t want to happen.
  9. Fear the things you don’t fully understand.
  10. Let everyone else make decisions for you.  Don’t decide on anything, ever.
  11. Let small issues snowball into big problems.
  12. Be jealous of everyone else.
  13. Hold onto anger.  Never forgive anyone.
  14. Always be right.  Never let anyone be more right than you.
  15. Seek external validation before you consider yourself good enough.
  16. Make sure everything you do impresses someone else.
  17. Lie to yourself and those around you and put up with others who lie to you.
  18. Keep doing the same thing over and over again until the day you die.
  19. Never finish what you start.
  20. Stay in the same place forever.  Never travel.
  21. Compare yourself unfavorably to those who you feel are more successful.
  22. Belittle yourself and hang out with other people who belittle you.
  23. Never learn anything new.
  24. Never take responsibility for your own actions.  Blame everyone around you.
  25. Don’t let anyone help you.
  26. Be suspicious.  Trust no one.
  27. Multitask, multitask, multitask!  Do everything at once.
  28. Fill every waking moment of your life with commitments.
  29. Don’t help others unless you have to.  Do only the things that benefit you directly.
  30. Think about all the things you don’t have and frown.
  31. Never exercise.  Only eat junk food and fried food.  Let your health rot.
  32. Don’t say what you mean.  Don’t mean what you say.
  33. Never tell anyone how you feel or what you’re thinking.
  34. Never say, “I’m sorry.”  Never say, “I love you.”
  35. Get involved in other people’s problems and make them your own.
  36. Always put your own needs on the back burner.
  37. Make others feel bad about themselves.
  38. Watch TV for several hours every day.
  39. Do lots of drugs.  Drink lots of alcohol.
  40. Don’t play, just work.
  41. Let your hobbies go.
  42. Let your close relationships go.
  43. Take everyone seriously and everything personally.
  44. Remember the insults, forget the compliments.
  45. Fail to plan.  Always wait until the last minute.
  46. Let it all bottle up inside.
  47. Always disregard other people’s opinions and suggestions.
  48. Dream about your future goals and never take action to achieve them.
  49. Fear change and resist it.
  50. Work hard, do your best, and then condemn yourself for not achieving perfection.

If you’re guilty of some of the bullet points above, remember, no matter how long you have traveled in the wrong direction you always have the choice to turn around.

Photo by: Lauren Rushing

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32 Comments

  • Great Post.. As always.. :)

  • I’ve been getting a lot of timely articles over the last couple of weeks from many different blogs and this one is no different.

    The reason why is #8 - Focus on what you don’t want to happen.

    I’ve been struggling with this for my business as it can be very stressful but I learned that focusing on what you don’t want only brings more of what you don’t want!

    Thanks for this post :)

  • If you do them all, you’ll probably end up being homeless :-)

    Anyway, for me #42 - let close relationships go is the worst of the worst! Friends and family make life worth living.

  • Excellent post

  • This blog is so good and inspirational. Most of Your posts I read morning via RSS on my iPhone. It makes a day :) Thank you

  • Excellent course in self-destruction. Awesome principles to live by taken in reverse.

    Thanks for another simple but deep post, Marc!

  • Saurabh Banerjee
    August 23rd, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Just amazing

  • Seems like my heart got pierced several times while reading each point.

  • Excellent post. I’m going to create a lesson around your post. I teach academically at-risk high school students and I believe they need to reflect upon what you have said and then decide to set goals for the future. Thanks so much for this.

  • I have one more to add to this list: Never say never. Living life should be a bit more flexible than this post suggests. But I guess that’s the point…

  • This blog is a great reminder. I actually like how you you describe what not to do instead of what to do. Thank you.

  • Just Loved this!! There are so many times we feel as though we are just “Stuck” and cannot make any changes, and dwell on the past, or the bad…
    Thank you so much!

  • Thank you for your inspirational advice. With your assumed permission I have retweeted and shared on my blog.

  • Great list! I think we are all guilty of at least a few of the above points. However, as I reach middle age I see so many people give up their dreams and just make do with mediocrity - I think we get to a point where we become beaten down by societies expectations, ‘responsibilities’, the need to succeed etc…

  • @All: Thanks for the added insight and kind remarks.

    @Elona: That’s awesome! I’m truly honored.

    @cath: I think the problem plaguing most people when it comes to pursuing their dreams is the misconception that they have something to lose. They get comfortable and fall into the trap of doing the same thing over and over because they know it’s a safe bet. Over time that safe bet slowly eats away at their true potential. (And even if this person has significant financial responsibilities tying them down, there’s always a way to make slow and steady changes.)

  • I am guilty of a lot of things on this list. But I am trying to change my ways, slowly. Thank you for this post. You are facing people with the truth - with what they need to see and read. :)

  • These points made me stop and reflect on how I’m handling myself. Thanks.

  • Guilty of more than a few and really coming to grips with this only in the past couple weeks! Done a lot of soul searching… and this article helps that process.

  • I’m guilty of too many on that list. I suppose every once and a while we need a shake up to put us back on track. Thank you!

  • Marc

    Thank you for this. I am also guilty of some of these. Thank you for the reminder.
    Andrea

  • This is excellent (these could easily have been 50 different blog posts…)

    A lot of this stuff is learned behavior - ways to protect ourselves from supposedly getting hurt, and at the same time insure that we’re never really allowing ourselves to be who we really are. Being authentic requires so much courage (at first) - dropping these safety mechanisms can be scary. But the payoff is happiness, lightness, and love. Hmmmm. Might just be worth it…

    Hugs,
    Melody

  • Thanks. I really needed this.

  • I like articles that are based on the twist of negative motivation. This one actually reminded me of a one that I wrote called how to waste your time.

    As always, thank you :)))

  • Fantastic.

    Number seven in particular is important to me. It goes back to Steven Covey’s ideas about proactivity, and even the serenity prayer.

    Don’t worry about the stuff you can’t change, focus on what you can do right now.

  • First of all. Love your blog. I’ve been following it for about a year and a half. however in this post:

    8. Focus on what you don’t want to happen.

    It seems this whole post is doing that.

  • …I lost myself while reading this list. Kept forgetting this is ways to WASTE your life. Some people live theirs by these sayings.
    ex.”Be suspicious, Trust noone.”

    Im #39 “Do lots of drugs. Drink lots of alcohol.”

    Here’s my story:
    God has pulled me away from my old life as a Stripper. He has taken me out of the world of alcohol sex and drugs.
    I studied hard and became an EMT. Paid for “work” that is mindless and boring… I turned back to my wasted Drug life.
    I went to 1 day of Workforce Training to enable me to get FoodStamps… missed the 2nd because of winding up in the hospital (from drugs)… and the next day I went to try to get back into the Workforce program, I met 2 girls. They had been in the class the day I had missed, and told me about a Weatherization Course we could take a test to get into.
    They were much smarter than I am, helped me to pass this really hard test, and we were indoctrinated into the Weatherization class.
    I have been learning all about the Science of buildings for the past 6 weeks. (4 to go!)
    My life plan has been (and always will be) to live off the grid… but I lost hope early in my life.
    This class is teaching me all about Solar Energy, Geothermal Heat, and HayBale Houses.
    The future looks so bright!
    ~Jane :)

  • @Niklas: Thanks so much for the kind remarks. As for your point about this post “focusing on what you don’t want to happen,” I have to disagree slightly. This list focuses on things a lot of people do already that leads them into situations they don’t want. It’s a bit of reverse psychology I suppose, but I think it serves it’s purpose clearly. Either way, there’s always two sides to every story.

    @Jane: Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you’re on your way to better days. Best of luck to you.

  • Now, this is great. I would love to print this on a poster and hang it up. Bravo. It really makes you think of all the negatives you do and realize you really need to take those out of your life.

  • Great list, really made me think. Drinking lots of alcohol has to be #1 on my list. I look back at the years I spent consumed with planning to drink, drinking, and recovering from drinking and can’t believe it.

  • LeeAnna Whitten
    June 9th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    I was diagnosed with bone cancer and I am very afraid not only of dying alone but I have spent so much time worrying about my children’s not loving me. I have made lots of mistakes but I have said I’m sorry. I know time spent in anxiety and stress is no good. Your list has given me some very useful ideas. I feel like I’ve been touched by God. You are an answer to many prayers. Thank you. LeeAnna

  • Very good post.

  • More than a year ago, I had read some posts here, I felt inspired but I did not commit myself to change what was my major issue : a negative system of thinking. And guess what ? The last year was so painful with so many problems. I became tired, depressed and lost to the point at age 25, I did not see any reason to stay alive. On the 31th March 2013, I was very angry with myself, I had enough of living in misery and sorrow. I started by seeking a plan for getting my debts paid and I came across your website. I read a lot but I never left a comment so here my message : THANK YOU !

    From this day, I have committed to become “master and designer of my life”. I don’t know if my little story is important, at least your message strikes something in me (I have read so many articles, blogs on Pers. Dev’ never such thing happen). Maybe I wasn’t ready to understand and face the reality…Now I’ll do my best !
    Oh just a thing I’m French and I ‘m sorry if I made mistakes in my comment.

    Good Journey to everyone, it seems that many come to learn how to live this long adventure called Life in a positive way !

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