Mistakes, are what enable us to learn and grow as humans.
There’s no shame in making them and they happen to the best of us with a crushing inevitability. There are really only two things that matter when it comes to mistakes:
- How you react to them.
- Whether you make them again.
It’s the latter point that we’ll turn our attention to in this article 10 mistakes successful people know never to repeat.
Touch your hand to a flame as a curious child and you immediately learn a powerful lifelong lesson – don’t play with fire. Just one experience of the pain and you know this is an experiment never to be repeated.
How many times though have you ended up dragged into a business situation hoping this time will be different when there is a clear precedent for failure in front of you?
If it didn’t work previously, there is an extremely good chance it won’t work this time unless something significant has changed in the interim.
Not staying true to yourself
Cognitive dissonance is a very real and very damaging phenomenon.
If you repeatedly end up in situations that clash with your own internal belief system and sense of who you are, failure via self-sabotage is only a matter of time.
Trying to change other people
This is one of the most heartbreaking mistakes on our list to avoid repeating because the intention that drives people to try and get others to change can often be so pure.
It’s a fruitless endeavour and bitter experience will eventually teach you that the only person you can effectively change is yourself.
Strive to be an example others can follow by concentrating on your own success rather than spinning your wheels with meddling in the lives of others.
Trying to please everyone
Try to please everyone and it’s more than likely that you’ll end up pleasing nobody, least of all yourself.
Success requires hard decisions and a clarity of focus and that will inevitably result in some ruffled feathers along the way. Accept this as a price that has to be paid for progress and concentrate on knocking it out of the park for those that truly matter.
Falling for the comfort of short-term reward
Study after study shows the benefits of being able to postpone immediate gratification. The ability to keep your eyes fixed on a long-term goal without succumbing to short-term temptation is a key driver in securing success in business and beyond.
Looking a gift horse in the mouth
If that job offer, project proposal or marketing discount sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
We’re hardwired to be susceptible to perfect promises but all successful people have learned the importance of checking the small print at some stage of their careers and go out of their way not to get suckered into bad deals on the basis of outlandish claims.
Getting lost in detail
Success requires fanatical attention to detail but it also demands discipline in managing that attention itself.
You’ll need to be able to switch between different perspectives and levels of detail at will and move from micro to macro at a moment’s notice to in order to execute on long-term goals.
Getting lost in the weeds of finicky minor details is an easy trap to fall into and one that can fatally damage your ability to take in the big picture and secure the win. Don’t make that mistake more than once.
Omitting crucial steps
Every project or deal demands a certain degree of due diligence at the outset before action is committed to in earnest. For reasons of time, budget or resource constraint, it can be tempting to skip this stage.
Never do that. The extra time you invest at the beginning can save you from a world of hurt down the line.
Failing to reflect
Mistakes, while unfortunate, are rarely entirely random. There is a traceable chain of cause and effect behind every blunder or misstep, the outlining of which is a key component in avoiding having it happen again.
A worryingly large amount of people fail to reflect on their mistakes and identify key learnings, preferring instead to think of them as things that just happen rather than events that are caused.
Concentrating on the surface layer
As within so without. The external trappings of success that will hopefully come your way should not be the driving force behind it. Your interior mindset and motivation are the engine that will power you to future glory.
Concentrate on what lies within to prime yourself for what’s to come and don’t be distracted by external trinkets.
We hope the list above helps you in managing your mistakes. The pain of them occurring is unavoidable but we should have no fear of experiencing it in our lives, either personally or professionally.
The key to future success is in acknowledging our own role in mistakes that happen and taking concrete steps to ensure they are not repeated.