post written by: Marc Chernoff

12 Big Mistakes You Made This Year


12 Little Mistakes You Made This Year

Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.

As long as the world is turning, you’re going to be dizzy and you’re going to make mistakes.  And that’s okay.  Your past mistakes can teach you what you need to know to create a wonderful future.

Here are twelve big mistakes you (likely) made this year and what you need to know going forward.

  1. You didn’t accept enough risk. – Living is risky business.  Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk.  To truly live is to know you’re getting up and taking that risk.  To not get out of bed, clutching to illusions of safety, is to die slowly without ever having truly lived.  Be a little risky and realize the full potential of your life.  Read The Millionaire Fastlane.
  2. You gave in to your fears and negativity. – The reality is we all get afraid.  It’s not about being afraid but what you do when you feel that way.  When you feel doubt, or fear, or anger, or frustration, know that you can let it go just as surely as you can pull your hand away from a flame.  Keep your life focused on the goodness, on the possibilities and on your most treasured dreams.  What begins in your mind ends up in your life.  Think continually of the way you would like to be, let these thoughts drive your actions, and your reality will reliably catch up to your thinking.
  3. You let uncertainty paralyze you. – As time goes on, you’ll understand: what lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t.  Time solves most things, and what time can’t solve, you’ll learn to solve yourself.  Sometimes you’ll not be able to see where you are going in life, clearly.  But know that your soul’s inner GPS will guide you home.  You will find that you will be the right person, at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing on point.  Trust your intuition.  Relax.  You know what to do.
  4. You did what everyone else wanted you to do.Life is too short to spend all your time trying to make everyone else happy.  Besides, it’s impossible to please everyone all the time.  Make choices that take your mind, body, and soul into consideration.  You are the only person who knows what’s best for you.  It’s impossible for anyone else to know.  No matter how much you share with them, they are not connected to your deepest desires, intuition, or hopes and dreams.  Always, ALWAYS listen to yourself and what you want first.
  5. You were far busier than you were productive. – All work is not created equal.  Try working with mindful awareness of the type of work you’re doing and how it’s helping (or limiting) your progress.  Focus on the reason for doing what you’re doing, the deepest reason you can find within yourself.  This steady self-awareness will keep you focused as long as necessary on the right activities that bring you closer to your goals.  Read Getting Things Done.
  6. You didn’t practice enough. – If I were to write a book entitled, “How to Be Amazing at Anything”, it would only contain a single page with one word on it: “Practice!”  Because that’s all it takes to be amazing.  Whether it means learning to write by practicing writing or learning to live by practicing living, the principles are identical.  In each instance, it is the relentless routine of a precise set of actions, physical and intellectual, focused on a desired result.  Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, faith, or desire.  Practice is a means of inventing an amazing outcome.
  7. You let little bits of stress consume you. – Don’t get stuck on the one thing that ruins your day.  Don’t waste your time on one unhappy thought.  If one window of happiness closes, run to the next window, or break through a wall.  A dose of stress is a great entry point for you to pick up your head and say, “I’m only going to go through this once.  I’ve got to figure out how to live my life in a positive and joyful way.”  You must learn to let it go.  You were never in control anyway.
  8. You let the same people drain you over and over again. – People inspire you, or they drain you; choose them wisely.  Don’t lose your dignity and self-respect trying to make someone accept, love and appreciate you when they have proven that they are incapable of doing so.  If someone or something in life is meant for you, you will still have to work for it, but you won’t have to beg for it.  You will never have to sacrifice your dignity for your destiny.
  9. You set unrealistic expectations. – There are always two ways to be happier: improve your reality, or lower your expectations.  We’re wired to expect the world to be brighter and more meaningful and more obviously interesting than it actually is.  And when we realize that it isn’t, we start looking around for the real world.  But this is the real world, and it’s actually a beautiful place to be.  We are our own worst enemies for expecting otherwise.  If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself, others and the world around you, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.
  10. You overlooked the beauty of small moments. – Whatever you’re waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, an inner awareness of abundance – it will surely come to you, but only when you’re ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.  So be as grateful as possible, for small things, not just for big things… for the simple act of breathing, the time together, the conversations, etc.  Every moment counts.  Every second matters.  Whatever is given is a gift.  Read Buddha’s Brain.
  11. You didn’t focus enough energy inward. – Even when you’re with others, you’re still with yourself.  When you wake up in the morning, you’re with yourself, laying in bed at night you’re with yourself, walking down the street at noon you’re with yourself.  What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with?  What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with?  What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep?  It’s your responsibility to be the person you want to be with.
  12. You were hoping to make fewer mistakes. – You aren’t really free until you give yourself the freedom to make mistakes.  Liberate yourself!  Try new things, learn and explore freely.  Your good judgment comes from life experience, and life experience comes from your bad judgments of the past.  You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes.  Disappointment and defeat are the tools life uses to show you the way.

And remember, all your mistakes from this past year are now just lessons learned.  Appreciate what you’ve learned, absorb the energy and possibility of today, and look forward to the year ahead.

Photo by: Trey Ratcliff

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31 Comments

  • Excellent stuff.

    Good to feel that I’ve acknowledged and moved past many of these - but there are some that I still have to work on.

    I especially work daily with the last three - even in my late 50s!

  • I can honestly admit to making many of these mistakes, but all I can do is learn from them and try to do better for next time.

  • I’ve been reading your articles for about a year now. That being said, this one is the one that actually hurt a little to read. It’s a wake-up call for sure. Almost like I have been doing the complete opposite of many of these. Thank you for setting me straight and opening my mind to a better way.

  • I am also in my late 50s, and I had to “reinvent” my life, a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I’ve found myself wavering between pursuing my goals, and hearing that doom-and-gloom voice that says, “It’s too late.” Thank you for reminding me that it’s never too late. Onward I go…

  • Thank U Thank U Thank U
    This came just when I needed it

  • Superb post Marc!
    The most touchy part of the post for me is #8 - one has to work for getting something loved instead begging for it. Also we should struggle to be the person we like to be with, as we have to live with ourselves all the time (there’s no way out). If we do not like to spend time with ourselves than whom else do we really have.

  • “You let little bits of stress consume you” This is the very thing that keeps on happening on me over and over again. I hope and pray and really wish that I can get away from this habit next year.

  • Thank you for writing this post. I’m sure everyone who reads it can relate in some way; I know I did.

    Christine

  • ….’ Don’t lose your dignity and self-respect trying to make someone accept, love and appreciate you when they have proven that they are incapable of doing so. If someone or something in life is meant for you, you will still have to work for it, but you won’t have to beg for it. You will never have to sacrifice your dignity for your destiny.’

    thank you for these words… they ring so true for me… it’s as if you’re speaking to me….you’ve opened my eyes to several habits I need to address.

  • Thank you - beautiful post. I see myself in most of these. #12 really stands out for me. I play music professionally and have recently began playing the accordion. Many mistakes are being made!(; But I know I can’t sound good until I sound bad for a while. My mistakes are helping me learn.

  • I don’t know why but your posts “always” come exactly in the right time for situations I’m facing, but they do.
    There are a few points in this point that address my exact struggles.

  • I consistently read and enjoy your posts, but today and 12/10 post titles are a turn-off (and an stray from your usual titles.) They suggest you know more about me than I do and, to me, sound a bit arrogant, even though I know that’s not your thing at all. I found myself struggling to read past the title. I hope this is helpful. Just a friendly opinion. Either way, I am a more sane person for your posts, and thank you for that.

  • It’s a wake-up call for sure!
    Yes, really, thank you!

  • This is the best post I’ve read here… always pertinent, helpful, insightful. THANK YOU!

  • “You did what everyone else wanted you to do” - As a manager and leader I believe there is nothing as powerful as unleashing the ability of your people to live their dreams, to live outside the expectations of others.

    One day I hope we have leaders who will to say “We need to solve problem X”, and they hire their team not simply based upon qualifications but on passion, calling, and purpose. Leaders will say “You’re hired. Now go do what you were born to do”.

  • I usually love your posts but this one was difficult to read. Over the last few days, my husband and I have decided to end our marriage. Yes, I’ve made a lot of huge mistakes but I’m trying to focus on the positive…

  • I have made some mistakes, i kept beating upon myself. I guess i needed to hear these few words. I am very much satisfied to hear that they are lessons learned. Well said Marc & Angel.

  • I usually just get one thing that is worth holding and remembering, but this one hit several points perfectly. Good reminders for the new year ahead.

  • Excellent post as usual. I especially liked No. 6. Thank you!

  • This post is really inspiring.. I love it and it will guide me a lot throughout my year ahead. Well said!!! :)

  • Love this post… giving hope in the midst of darkness. I needed this one. Thanks.

  • It’s like we’ve met before…

    Thank you for posting this. I love it.
    It’s everything I really needed to hear…

  • Perfect time to be reading this, thanks for all the great thoughts you share.

    Loved the point on practice. I heard practice makes perfect countless times growing up from my grandparents. They always gave such awesome advice, just like you.

  • All true. I would add a 13th point:

    You never declared your intentions, to yourself or to the world around you.

    When you make a choice to pursue a goal, declaring it to yourself — aloud or in your head — makes the transition into action more deliberate and focused.

    And it is with action that you will declare your intentions to the world.

    Cheers!

  • I was reluctant to read this one but went ahead. The points really touched a nerve and hurt, if it hurts it’s because it’s touched somewhere deep inside, which is a good thing. This is a wake up call… thank you

  • Happy New Year guys, and especially to you for making my mind more hopeful, one blog post at a time =)

  • Thank you!

  • I love your blog! So many great articles…

  • Very good stuff - This past year was new to many of us and now we learned so much going into 2013.

  • I did make some big mistakes. I sacrificed my dignity so much last year trying to get someone to love me in return. When he told me he was moving on with someone else I sacrificed it even more. After 3 weeks of raw pain and great support from family and friends I know I will get there. Mistakes can be corrected…

  • I know how you feel. I recently found out the one I was scarificing my time, energy, savings and love for, only used me as a rebound and was rebuidling relationship with his ex behind my back….but we will get through this, plus we deserve better….

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