James Altucher says, ‘honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.’
Well, I’ll be honest with you, mistakes hurt.
Mistakes—whether yours or someone else’s—bruise your ego and stir all sorts of fears and worries within you. You start to question yourself. You wonder what will happen next and what the worst case scenario may look like.
Mistakes suck, but mistakes also play an imperative role in your growth and success. For as Einstein said, ‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.’
Assuming you don’t wish to play it safe your entire life, you must accept that mistakes happen. After interviewing 163 experts, thought leaders, and all-round inspiring folk for my book, The Successful Mistake, I appreciate this more than most.
Some mistakes are unavoidable. They are there to test and teach us.
But what if I told you many of your mistakes were avoidable, and by looking in the right places, you could spot them before they happen? If I promised you such a good time, would you continue to read?
3 Warning Signs That Prevent Mistakes from Happening
Most mistakes begin small. They’re tiny little things that would barely register in your day.
But because you pretend they don’t happen, disregard them, or make poor decisions on the back of them, these little mistakes grow into big mistakes, which in turn develop into life-altering failure.
Certain mistakes are thrust upon you, and you cannot do much to avoid them. Yet many begin slowly, and by keeping your eyes open you can spot them before they spark to life. So if you notice any of the following, take note, for a mistake may be near.
1. You Get Complacent!
One of the biggest warning signs of all is when you grow complacent. We may enjoy the idea of an easy life, but the truth is, you need a challenge.
When it comes to growing a successful business and life, this is never more true. You need to remain motivated. You need to keep pushing. Like a shark, if you’re not moving, you die.
Such complacency lead to Thomas Frank’s biggest mistake of all. As he built College Info Geek while still at university, he was a busy boy indeed. Between studying, blogging, and marketing, he had little time to spare.
So as his site grew, he decided to cut back on his studies and take fewer classes. It made sense, after all, as more time spent on his business meant more chance of success. Yet with this extra unstructured time on his hands, Thomas grew complacent.
Instead of growing, his business plateaued. He didn’t feel as motivated, and it wasn’t until he got this motivation back that College Info Geek continued its rise to fame.
2. You Get Stuck in your Own Head!
Although you may surround yourself with people at all times, this entrepreneurial roller coaster can be a lonely ride. It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, as you work on your ideas, your plans, and your growth.
You become so fixated on your work that you shut yourself off to the rest of the world.
You become blind to opportunity, mistakes, and everything else.
You simply get lost in your own head, which is a dangerous place to lose yourself in.
Take John Corcoran, the co-founder of Rise 25, and a man who has built his career as a master connector. Today, John rubs shoulders with the best of the best, and has an enviable black book of contacts that most people would die for.
Yet rewind to when he first started his business, and his days told a different picture. You see, despite building a successful career in politics, entertainment, and the tech scene, John desired more.
So, he started his own practice and got to work.
And work he did, so hard that he went months without networking. All those relationships he had built during his successful career slipped by the wayside. He condemned himself to a lonely entrepreneurial existence and had little to show for it. He was busy, sure, but did he grow? Was he happy?
No. John got stuck in his own head, and it lead to what he described as his biggest business mistake of all. This entrepreneurial roller coaster is lonely enough as it is, so don’t make matters worse by keeping yourself to yourself.
3. Everyone Around You Says ‘Yes’
Yes is a dangerous word. If all you say is yes, you’re sure to drown under work, responsibility, and commitment. Yes doesn’t provide freedom; it offers nothing but imprisonment.
Yet it isn’t only when you say yes that issues arise, When you’re surrounded by a bunch of yes men, mistakes are close by.
Scott Oldford experienced this as he became a well known “web guy” at a very young age. During a period when most of us plucked up the courage to ask that girl or guy to the dance, Scott made large sums of money, won prestigious awards, and built an ever-growing business.
He had everything a teenager could desire, including a group of people who told him what he wanted to hear. One yes followed after another, and soon Scott began to believe the hype—creating Scott Oldford The Monster, as he described it.
Scott soon lost everything he built. He had to start from scratch. He had to figure out who Scott Oldford was. I’m happy to say he’s doing just fine today, but only after he lost track of what truly matters.
That’s what happens when you surround yourself with ‘Yes.’
So if all you hear is that simple three-letter word—either from your own mouth, or from those around you—take note, a mistake may be near.
Of course, warning signs like these won’t vanquish mistakes from your life. Some are unavoidable. Some provide invaluable lessons you need to experience.
But the sooner you nip these mistakes in the bud, the easier you’ll find your road to success.
I learned this from speaking to those who have been there and done it—successful folk who are at the top of their game. I encourage you not to wait until you make your own mistakes. Instead, learn from others so you can fast-track your way to the finish line (today).
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