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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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