One of the biggest mistakes we make is that we assume we always learn from our mistakes. I’ve met enough people who learned little from their own stupidity.
We all know these people. In fact, we probably are these people. You know why? It’s damned hard to learn from your mistakes. I’ve never met someone who actually enjoyed failing.
Let’s be honest, no one likes to make mistakes, and lose their time, energy, or money. So that’s why we need to make an effort to learn from the things that we wish we didn’t do. The father of functional philosophy and pragmatist philosophy, John Dewey, made that point obvious:
“The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”
Learning from your mistakes does not happen automatically—it requires thinking and reflection. So here’s my reflection on the lessons I learned from the mistakes I made in my twenties. Here we go.
Do you ever feel like you’re completely lost in a world that keeps on racing? The world moves fast. One moment you’re excited about a new opportunity, and the other moment you feel totally hopeless for no particular reason.
And if that’s not bad enough, there’s so much noise in the world that we lose sight of what we’re doing. It’s not uncommon to think, “Wait, what was I supposed to do on this planet?”
Look, we all get distracted. The world’s a weird place. And people ask me about how we can get clarity all the time. One reader recently sent me this email:
“Love to hear you talk about how to get clarity and minimize distractions and noise around us. What techniques do you employ to find that focus?”
It’s a good question that got me thinking. And if I look at how I get clarity in my life, there’s only one technique I use.
How often have you started a new habit that you already quit after several days? If you’re like me in the past, the answer is something like, “all the time.”
Forming a new habit is hard. I don’t have to tell you that. We all know how difficult it is to live a prosperous and healthy life. If it were easy, everybody would do it.
We also know that our chance of succeeding is much higher if we start small, right? It’s common sense. “Don’t take on too much in the beginning — you’ll have more reasons to give up.” So goes the advice, which is solid. I’m not going to argue with that.
But far too few people actually start small. In fact, I see more people starting big than starting small.
Why is that? I think we can get too excited about making a change or doing new things. When we dream about making a change in our lives and start believing in it, the excitement usually takes over.
That’s why we end up doing too much too soon.
What’s something that you want in your career? More clients? A new job? Attention for your app? More readers?
Whatever it is, before you get it, you need to pitch it to the person who can give it to you. I’ve been pitching all kinds of things during my career: Myself, my ideas, and my products. My pitches have failed more times than I can count my successes.
But those failures have been good to me. As renowned Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor, Carlos Gracie Jr., once said:
“There is no losing in jiujitsu. You either win or you learn.”
The only way to survive your career is to not acknowledge failure as a setback. Instead, look at every failed pitch as a lesson. After “failing” many times, I created 3 rules for sending pitch emails that actually work.
When you apply these rules correctly, I guarantee you will get more replies.
Do you sometimes feel like you’re wasting your potential? And do you also feel unsure about how you can even reach your full potential?
If so, you’re like any other ambitious person who wants to make the best of his/her life. Because to me, that’s what “reaching your potential” means.
We all have limited time on our hands. Some live longer than others. But you and I both know that it’s not about how long you live, it’s about what you do with the time you’re alive.
It’s about leaving everything on the table and making sure you live up to your inner drive. Look, when I talk about reaching your potential, I’m not talking about what other people or society thinks we should do with our lives.
The dialogue about happiness has not changed much for the past 3000 years since ancient Greek and Roman times.
But people pretend that everything has changed and that more people are unhappy than ever. That’s supposed to be because we’re more connected than ever.
You read it all the time. “Technology makes people feel lonely and depressed!”
I agree that technology itself has changed. But human nature has not. People have been unhappy, lonely, miserable, and sad since the start of modern civilization. We still ask ourselves questions like:
One of the most important habits that I’ve formed in my life is daily writing.
Without question, writing every day has brought me many great things: A better career, fulfillment, self-improvement, and most importantly, the ability to share my ideas with you, the reader.
I wanted to be a writer for a decade before I became one. All it took was a decision. At some point, you have to look at yourself and say, “I’m a writer.” And then, start doing your job by writing every day.
I recommend that to everyone because of these 5 reasons: