One can say youth is the trial period of life where we're bound to make more mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet said something along the lines of the importance of learning from experience or mistakes but they don't have to be ours. As some sort of rite of passage as young people there are some common mistakes that we make and I'm here to give you a taste.
Some Common Mistakes...
Oh well, this might as well be a Buzz Feed article haha. I'm focusing on young people because I'm young and they say "a fool at 40 is a fool forever" lol. I'm not trying to be rude at all. I'm guilty of making some of these mistakes to these days and I'm not trying to come across as judgemental it's just my opinion and you can agree or disagree. I hope you enjoy this and let me know if you can relate.
01. Thinking They Have All The Time in The World
Youth and having time are often put together you'll think they're synonymous, having time because you're young may be true but then again young people die at an alarming rate so maybe not so much. I'm not saying you shouldn't exercise patience when the need be (see 07 Ways to be More Patient) but I'm saying don't use it as an avenue to willingly waste time and procrastinate on taking action (see 8 Practical Solution to Procrastination) or make excuses (see Being Responsible is Quite Hard, But LET'S TRY). Now, some of us may procrastinate out of fear (see 5 Tips for Overcoming Fear) or we just lack proper time management skills (see The Clock is Always Ticking: 13 Time Management Tips).
If you waste too much time you'll miss opportunities and before you know it old age will catch up to you like a car on a highway and you'll be full of regret.
02. Not Understanding Money
The concept of money isn't the easiest thing to understand, it's like our bodies, we use it everyday but don't really understand it all that much. Those who really understand are in the minority. As a young people many of us are either on parental allowances or small salaries and have debt and bills to pay. When it's pay day you'll hear stuff like "treat yourself" and I can't lie I do indulge only for me to be reminiscing in the middle of the month on when I used to have money but for some reason it happens every month; you know, same old shit just a different day. In other words it has become a bad habit (see How to Break Your Bad Habits). As a rule of thumb, save 10% of any money you get so for example if you get N10,000 save N1000. It might seem small but all good habits start small (see 5 Ways to Maintain Good Habits).
A girl on Twitter said she no longer checks her bank account because God will provide. I remember a seminar I went for where they mentioned the laws of money or as I like it the 3 Ms of money which is to make, multiply and manage. Many of us only care about 1&2 and leave the management to God. Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad Poor Dad) emphasizes on the importance of financial knowledge and education and this ultimately will be the way to correct this mistake. I also remember seeing on Twitter where the question was asked if you were given the choice between $100m or the knowledge of how to make $100m which would you choose? Of course many people chose the former but if you know about people who won lotteries you'll know that as B.I.G said 'mo money mo problems'. If you don't learn money management asap it can ruin you and you could end up like Emmanuel Eboue (ex Arsenal & Sunderland player) who was supposedly rendered effectively homeless last year due to his divorce and because of his lack of financial know-how he left the finances to his now ex-wife who basically fucked him over.
03. Being Too Afraid of Failure
Life is to be lived and enjoyed not to be afraid. Many of us are afraid of failure because of the consequences of 'failing'. For example, if you failed your exams or your grades went down you could get scolded by your teachers or parents or even worse get beaten. There's the emphasis on doing things once but in real life that can't always be the case. When I was initially learning how to drive I was scared 'what if I've an accident?' it's different from riding a bike it's potentially more dangerous 'I could die' but I still had to drive regardless of the fear. There were two instructors I initially had and when I was with the nicer one I got things done easily and I wasn't as scared. When I was with the mean one I used to mess up so bad even starting the car was an issue because I was trying to impress him so he won't shout but well, safe to say it didn't work out.
On another note, giving up when things get tougher isn't gonna get you anywhere. Success needs you to pick yourself every time you fall apart like an undead creature. We know the saying "when the going gets tough the tough gets going." What I understand from this is that things will get easier as long as you keep going. In short, failure isn't the end of the world it's just one of the roads on the journey to success (see 10 Key Habits of Successful People).
04. Caring About Social Media Too Much
Social media is an awesome place, you can connect with your long lost friends, or just friends and family, you can post about your life, build a career, etc. But things created with good intentions can be used for bad things, you have trolls who perpetrate cyber bullying and they can take it to the next level. Remember when Beyonce released Lemonade and people were focused on the infamous line "you better call Becky with the good hair" on the song "Sorry"? People were coming for people like Rita Ora and a chef, I forget her name thinking Jay-Z cheated on her with them.
Social media can also lead to insecurity (see Beefing Up Your Security: How to Overcome Insecurity). People constantly comparing themselves to these Instagram models with crazy bodies (see Stop Comparing Yourself! It's a Losing Game!) or just their friends going on trips on Snapchat or celebrities doing this and that on Twitter. I fall victim sometimes and it's hard not to especially for younger people but remember people show you what they want you to see. They barely ever post about their problems.
Clout chasing is now a full time job for some people can makes them do dumb shit for people they don't know or like all for likes, shares, comments and retweets. For example, the #ShiggyChallange or #KekeChallenge or #InMyFeelingsChallenge that has people hopping out of moving cars or dancing on the road to "Keke do you love me? Are you riding?" The song is great but not great enough to harm yourself. Recently there was a video of a guy who was hit by a car doing the challenge on the road, thankfully he only had minor cuts and bruises.
05. They Invest Too Much Emotional Capital in Relationships
So, you're young and you're now getting butterflies in your tummy over a girl or guy, good for you. We've all been there but the issue comes up where you start to invest a little too much into it costing your own personal development. For example, look at the controversial movie, Acrimony (comment below who you think was really at fault lol) she invested so much time, energy and money in the guy and let's say it blew up in her face. Now, that's what you call a bad investment, but who can blame her though? Love blinded her. At a young age focusing more on yourself should be paramount and some people may play with your heart but it's not the end of the world; take your L and keep it moving.
Now, I know when you get broken up with the first time or with someone you really loved it'll feel like your whole life is a shambles but keep ya head up because it's not the end of the world. So it's important to not make someone the sun your world revolves around. It's even worse when it's a bad relationship because it is like a sinking ship if you don't jump off you're gonna go down with it. Don't cut off your friends or family when you get in a relationship, spend a good amount of time with them. With them at your side you're more likely to bounce back like a trampoline from heart break or other emotional scars.
06. Signing Contracts Without Reading & Understanding Them
Reading contracts is so boring omg! Yes, I know but it if it's an important contract make sure you read and understand before signing it because contracts are binding and breaching it can have severe consequences. Honestly, these contracts can be used to exploit you especially if you become successful. For example, Nigerian pop artist, Kiss Daniel (now Kizz Daniel) who was having contract issues with his label, G-Worldwide, this may have just been a result of not reading the small print and signing because boys were hustling and hungry on the streets.
A more popular example will be Lil Wayne and Birdman who were having contract issues and he sued Birdman for $50m in 2014 or 15. Birdman discovered Wayne at the tender age of 11 (correct me if I'm wrong) and they see each other as father & son. I'm pretty sure Wayne didn't read nor did he understand his contracts, I think there was no written contract, not too sure. Thankfully this year, Universal, the parent label of Cash Money had an out of court settlement with Wayne for $10m or so. Read your contracts, kids!
07. People Pleasing
As a "nice" person you may wanna please others at your own expense, and you don't really don't want that. You know the saying "nice guys finish last", this can be because they're not being true to themselves. It's not selflessness, it's just a twisted form of selfishness that hurts you more than you may realise because you can get taken advantage of. For example, in a funny show, Impastor, a woman came to her ex best friend to keep a wedding dress for her and she really wanted to say no but didn't. Can you guess who her ex best friend she was getting married to?... Her ex boyfriend who left her for the best friend.
You can't always say yes to everything or everyone, sometimes you just have to put your foot down and say no. You have to live life by your principles and for yourself. Not everyone's gonna like you because of it but at least you'll be more fulfilled (check out Mark Manson's book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck).
08. Keeping Bad Company
As young people full of energy we tend to tip the line between right and wrong. Something doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong. Peer pressure is as real as Freddy Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street and it may lead us down the wrong path, you know the saying "show me your friends and I'll show you who you are." Kendrick Lamar on a song, The Art of Peer Pressure details how his behaviour drastically changed when he was "with the homies". The bridge starts like this
"Smokin' on the finest dope...
Drank until I can't no mo'...
Really I'm a sober soul
But I'm with the homies right now"
If I remember correctly someone was fatally shot at one point in the album, Good Kid M.A.A.D City. Bad company corrupts good morals and so many young people have been led astray because of this.
09. They Lack Patience
There's a time to be patient and a time to take immediate action but you need wisdom to know what to do. For example, imagine you hear there's a time bomb in the area do you run immediately or wait till the last second so you can dive like an action movie? I'll go with the former. Imagine you step on a mine in a mine field will you immediately raise your foot and risk blowing yourself up or patiently keep your foot on in and look for something to replace our foot with? Don't blow yourself up.
Patience is important and it costs way less but impatience is like giving money to an over spender. One of my guys told me about his experience with forex trading. He got into forex trading and he won big the first time, he put it back in to get more and he lost money, he put some more and more. Long story short, he lost a lot of money and fell sick. He now believes in the importance of exercising patience.
10. They Don't Check What They Eat
What you use your body to do in your youth may come back to haunt you later on. Honestly, I'm guilty of this but I try not to eat sugar as much but I'm getting there small small. In our 20s the main thing on our mind is getting money, flexing, getting girls or guys and just generally having fun. This fun can involve drinking, smoking and junk food. I'm not against them when they're done in moderation but as the saying goes 'your body is a temple'. No matter how busy you are 'ogbeni' please at least eat a fruit once a while, take a walk etc. No matter how busy your schedule gets, regular exercise and healthy food are a must. This will not only shape up your body but also your thoughts and give you positive vibes.
11. They Barely Network
As a young person most times the seriousness of working hasn't really registered especially when you've never worked a day in your life. So, as Burna Boy said on his song Ye, we just wan chop life (enjoy life). At this point there's this feeling of the 'world is my oyster' so I'm gonna take my time with it; it isn't necessarily a bad idea but the sooner you start networking the better. Your network is net worth as people often say and when you get in close proximity with people can elevate you that's a great deal.
There's the saying that success is mostly about showing up. If you show up where these people are and you're putting yourself near success everyday and soon you'll grab the success bull by the horns and ride it away! If you find yourself in need of a job, a girlfriend, business partner, etc. just think about networking i.e. where are these people? What do they do? How can you meet them? So, how can you network? Social media (definitely the easiest way), seminars, workshops, parties, etc. Don't get it twisted, networking isn't only for professionals, nor is it a suit and tie event, it's everyone's game. Albeit it may seem boring to you simply reaching out can improve your life.
12. Lack of Focus
The lack of focus is arguably one of the bigger sins of youthful exuberance. If you've played shooting games like Call of Duty or Halo then you'll know that you can't hit your intended target if your aim is off. Aliko Dangote (Africa's richest man) listed having focus as one of his tips for having success. Trying to do too much at once will make you a jack of all trades and a master of none. You can diversify later on like Dangote who now produces sugar, cement, pasta etc. and more recently refining petroleum but he started with one. Lack of focus can cause indecisiveness or be a result of it (see Indecisive Much? How to Deal with Indecision in 10 Ways!).
Some weeks ago, a well intended friend gave me some advice about the blog saying I should tell stories, talk about movies, etc because not everyday advice, it's getting boring. I told her I won't be able to keep up with that kinda content and if she wants movies she should go check out some YouTube channels. She wouldn't go to a movie channel asking for self-improvement tips. Focus is so important because a specialist gets paid way more than a general practitioner.
13. Money = Happiness
As cliche as it may sound, money can't buy you happiness. There are many rich people that are empty shells instead of full vessels. For example Demi Lovato who recently overdosed on heroin and it was all over social media. By usual standards she's a rich person but she still has some demons regardless.
Following only money can lead to future full of regret especially when you have ZERO passion for your job. If you keep chasing only money you'll find yourself close to the end of your life when you finally grab it and you still won't be satisfied. When you chase only money you'll be more willing to do any and every thing for the money, some people throw their morals out the window because of money and they get into crime like robbery. Always remember the saying in the Bible 'for the love of money is the root of all evil'. Look at Naija politicians embezzling money every time sucking the nation dry and watering their pockets like a water pump. Are they happy? Do they have peace of mind? I doubt it.
14. Thinking They Can Eat Their Cake and Have It
This saying didn't make any sense to me when I was growing up, I mean, I had cake and I ate it so how can you say I don't have it? How did I eat it in the first place? Lol. Now, I know better like the Headie One song.
Actions have consequences and we all know karma is a bitch that can come and bite you in the butt like rabid dog. Nigerian music legend, 2Face said it best in his classic song, No Shakin' where he said 'nobody wan kpai but dey wan go heaven' (nobody wants to doe but they wanna go to heaven).
Many young people want success but don't wanna work for it or sacrifice for it. Like they want it to come in a gift box from Santa, some of them are just plain lazy (see Symptoms and Solutions to Laziness). I won't lie I get lazy, the struggle is real but I shake it off sometimes, sometimes I fall and get up afterwards. Remember you can't eat your cake and have it and "faith without works is dead" James 2:17.
15. They Don't Get Mentors or Think They Can Do it Alone
As a youngin there's the huge temptation or will I call it pride or fear that you can figure it out all your own but as some of you know, it takes too long especially when it doesn't have to. Now come in mentors who Tai Lopez (millionaire investor, entrepreneur) usually says shave years off your learning curve. Mentors are people who've gone through the experience and who can guide you properly and it ties in with the Warren Buffett statement at the beginning. This African proverb in my opinion sums up the importance of a mentor easily "what an elder sees sitting down, a child cannot see even when it climbs a tree." Mentors don't have to be alive or even people you know, it can just be people's books you've read, someone you see on TV, someone's online programme you bought and follow closely etc. So who are some of your mentors? Comment below.
Another mistake is thinking you can do it alone, there's no bigger lie than that. No 'self-made' person did it alone. You might have the knowledge but you learnt it from somewhere, when it's time to execute it, you didn't do it alone. Think about it like building a house, you can't build a house alone, you need architects, brick layers, plumbers, electricians, etc. So, remove the arrogant thought that you're a one-man army that can do it alone, life is not a Jet Li movie.
16. They Expect Others to be Like Them
Expectations are a funny thing and it's hard not to have them. Many times when we do something for others or act a certain way it's like we've had an unwritten contract with them where they should act alike. For example, if you like someone they should like you back. In reality, this isn't the case and can never be so. Just look around your household, your siblings or parents don't act the same. Just because you do good to someone doesn't mean they'll do good to you too. Jesus didn't do anything bad to Judas yet he betrayed him. Not everyone will have similar intentions like you so it's best to do your part and then manage your expectations. If you don't you'll end up being disappointed repeatedly. For example, many people put their faith in Buhari (Nigerian president) and voted for him in 2015 when he was screaming change! Change! Change! Up and down and now many of them are regretting it.
17. Graduating from University = Guaranteed Success
This is a false equation because graduating with good grades isn't a guarantee of success, at least not for many people. For example, Rihanna is a successful woman but she didn't even finish high school but everyone and their mama knows Ms Fenty. Nigerian parents emphasize the importance of going to university and graduating with 1st class or 2:1 so you can get a good job. We know say this formula no dey work again (this formula no longer works) unemployment is high, 1st class graduates are riding okadas (motorcycles for public transport). Even if you manage to get a job N50k salary is really not enough especially if you live in an expensive place like Abuja or Lagos; don't be stuck in the rat race (see Life After University). The way to survive is to be entrepreneurial, a problem solver, someone with marketable skills and building success habits (see 10 Key Habits of Successful People).
18. Playing It Too Safe
Risk taking is part of life and to develop yourself certain risks need to be taken. Denis Waitley said "life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing." For example, when I was learning how to skateboard at first I was scared but intrigued simultaneously because my friend was showing me how to do it. I was learning and for a while I didn't fall until one day when I was making a turn but got off with no scratches. The second time was on a cool April morning and I fell because of some mud and I got bruised on my knuckles, I told two of my close girl friends at the time but they got scared and told me to stop. The third time was the worst! It was Easter Eve and I was going too fast it was at LTB for my Essex peeps. I got a sprained ankle but still went to church the next day and for like 3 weeks my ankle was swollen and ya boy was limping. Guess what? After my ankle healed I got back on and let's say I can do alright for myself on a skateboard these days.
You should learn how to take calculated risks so that if it backfires it'll cushion the effect and that means planning (see 11 Steps for Creating an Effective Plan). Risk taking doesn't mean you won't fail or get hurt. If you win you'll be happy and if you lose you'll be wise. I haven't fallen from my skateboard ever since unless you count that one time I was trying to show off to a girl lol.
QOTD: "Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." - Oscar Wilde
WELP! THAT'S IT FROM ME GUYS! NOW...
So, how many of these mistakes are you guilty of? Comment below, I'm guilty of at least 95% lol. Download my infographic below and Share it with this post link on social media. SUBSCRIBE to my blog so you don't miss a thing and to get instant access to my free e-books. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest. See ya next Monday.
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Jeweller on Mondays, Book Connoisseur on Wednesdays, Quotologist on Fridays (ahh I'm still working on that one lol) and Blogger everyday! My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!