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It’s not the avoidance of certain mistakes which will make you successful

[ 3 min read ]

There is so much advice on avoiding mistakes. Advice which is pointless in my opinion.

It’s not about avoiding the mistakes. Those who tell you their story are probably very successful (by most people’s measure) so how could this be about avoiding making this mistake?

They made this “stupid” or “rookie” mistake and it didn’t bury their chances.

It’s not about avoiding this or that mistake. It’s inconsequential that they did this mistake, but in an attempt to help others they will look for something that might help others succeed.

It’s not the avoidance of a certain mistake which will make you successful. It’s the perseverance in the face of failure, hardships, etc. It’s doing and never losing the confidence that what you do is good / valuable / matters / worth doing, and getting up each time you fall, not having a list of all possible mistakes to avoid (which will very likely paralyse you).

You will tell to yourself My God, there so much stuff I should avoid doing, factor in, remember. How am I supposed to even start?

And those are probably not all the warnings. And it’s often that the advice we get from one source contradicts the advice we got somewhere else.

We fool ourselves that it’s about taking this script from others and following it to the letter and we will come on top. That’s there’s a recipe. Take one spoon of this, three spoons of that, add two eggs, butter, mix it up, put it in your oven (exact settings are of course provided), and it will be a success. Always use this type of flour, unless you want to screw it all up. I tried product X the other day and it didn’t pan out so I recommend that you don’t use it. And so on and so forth.

But who is advising whom? You, who never made this mistake (and now that you already know that it is a mistake, you won’t do it — you will be “smarter”, because the host of this program told you how to be smarter), or the person who actually did the mistake?
Who is telling the exciting story? Who has something interesting to recount? The person who will never make any mistake (because he / she has collected all the advice in the world from all individuals he / she could think of — and is probably paralysed), or the person who gave it a shot without knowing what should and shouldn’t be done, and how things should be done, and now gives the advice on what kind of mistakes you should avoid?

It’s also this lunacy of those who tell the exciting story. They assume that had they not made this mistake, the reality would be different (always almost perfect, never equally flawed or worse). In other words, were it not for this one wrong move, decision, the situation would have been perfect (perfect from their own point of view) which is a ridiculous expectation if you think about it. Why do they assume that the whole universe should be on their side and act in their favor?

And so they erroneously conclude that had they not made this mistake something which was their goal or dream could have been accomplished sooner, or with less effort. It’s true if you wanted to cross the street and didn’t notice that a car is approaching and it hit you and you didn’t cross that street. If you looked one more time before you set your foot on that street you very likely would be fine and on the other side right now (the mistake is clear). But with things which are not as clear (like most life decisions) to conclude that otherwise the reality of the world would have been perfect and you would have gotten everything you wanted (faster, with less effort, cheaper, etc.) is nothing but a wishful thinking. Could or could not have happened. We will never know for sure.