#1. Not Keeping your word
You and your word are the same. If people will call you honest, it’s because of your word. Integrity is largely about your words and how you keep them. When you keep your word in your head, it’s for you alone. No one can demand accountability from you for the words you haven’t said yet. It’s only when you say it out loud, when you give them to someone as a promise that you would be liable to account for them.
Don’t say what you can’t do. Don’t promise others what you can’t give. When you give a promise, you light a flame in the soul of the person your promise went for. It’s their hope. Their lives might depend on whatever is it that you promised. When you don’t fulfill them, you don’t only kill their trust for you. You kill the flame your words lighted. This flame might be the only thing the person has. The only thing that keeps them going.
A piece of someone dies anytime your words to them come unfulfilled. Keep your words. Do what you say you’ll do.
#2. Allowing people to live their lives through you
This life that you are living is for you alone. It’s a coat that fits only your skin and no other. No one can live it better. No one can steer this boat to a safer place. Only you can. Live for yourself. Do the things that make your heart swell with happiness. The things you can look back to and say; “I did that—it was for my joy.”
Refuse to say yes to people because you want to fit in. Don’t live to the dictate of others. They also have their own lives to live. Look into the mirror and live top please the guy you see in there. People will have their expectations of you—the way you have to live your life. Society will look at you and seek to beat you to fit into a certain way of life. In the end, the choice is yours. You can choose to live to make others happy or you can choose yourself over all other things.
#3. Comparing yourself with others
You are who you are and others are whatever they are. People have their miles to travel. Everyone has their way of getting to their destination. Yours might take time. The most important thing is getting there. Looking up to people who are ahead of you and comparing your life to them only makes you a loser. You lose still when you look down and compare yourself to others doing worse than you.
Life isn’t about who is better than you or worse. It’s about you and how you make every moment count. Stop comparing. it only leads to regret—it leads you to a point where you get to believe your life has no value. You forget how to be happy. Obviously, the people you compare yourself to are doing better than you are.
You can only learn from people who have gotten where you want to be. Study their stories of success and failure and take a cue. what they have that you lack isn’t the ultimate measure of happiness. Happiness is not a destination. You could find happiness everywhere around you even now that you are not who you wish to be.
Your best life isn’t what others are living. Stop comparing and live for today.
#4. Sticking around toxic people
People you hang around with should be people who share your dreams and see the joy in them. You friends are the ones who encourage you to take the step when you’re doubting. They are the people who bring dreams into your existence. They critique your ideas to bring the best out of it. When you are with them, you feel loved and appreciated and you glow in their presence because they believe in you.
When you bring up an idea, the first person who says it cannot be done should never be your friend again. They are toxic people and they can poison your growth. At least, they should say why it won’t work and offer alternatives. Move with people who improve you. Move with people who share their lights with you when the road ahead is dark.
Staying around toxic people kills your energy and creativity. When you stay around them for too long, you learn to conform to their ways. You forget who are and the light in you dies. Because you let go of yourself to conform with the people you move with.
#5. Being in Debt
Don’t enter the new year with old debt. Don’t enter the year with the attitude of being indebted to people. Some debts lead to the lack of peace of mind. It is able to steal your sense of liberty making you feel you owe your existence to the one you owe. Settle all your debts if possible, before the year ends. If you can’t, make honest arrangement with people you and settle the debt in the early months of the new year.
If you owe a debt of gratitude to other people, pay that one too. People who helped to keep your ship afloat need to hear a word of thanks from you. Those who were there with you through thick and thin need to hear you appreciate them for what they did to help. Never let a debt of gratitude slip unpaid. Your sense of gratitude will determine if you are worth the worry people go through to help you.
Call your boss and say thank you. He provided a conducive working environment for to thrive. Send a thank you mail to that colleague who helped you to beat deadlines and kept your back. Tell your customers you are thankful for their invested faith in you. They could have gone anywhere but they chose you.
#6. Not taking advantage of the resources social media presents
Social media is the new currency. The peripherals are what most people are benefiting from—connecting with friends, posting photos and saying hi to total strangers. You can go deeper and take advantage of the resources therein.
You can make your Facebook account your business office where you meet your customers. You can use your space to convince prospective customers to run the tide with you. See social media as a canvas—an empty one. Every brush you pick should paint a perfect picture of your skill set. Sell something or sell yourself. Make your presence counts. Make money on social media.
#7. Trying to change people
There is only one person you can change. Actually, there is only one person you have to change—the man in the mirror. The rest can think for themselves. When you find yourself with someone you don’t like. Or you find something about people you don’t like, change yourself. When they see the change in you, they might be motivated to change who they are.
The power to change people is not in your hand. It’s a lot of frustration and heartbreak to try and think of changing another when they themselves don’t see the need to change. Don’t try to change people. You can give them the reason to change but you can’t change them.
#8. Blaming others for your situation
Who you are and what you become are results of the decisions you make. The decisions you make can make you fortunes. The decisions you make can be the reason for all your sadness. When things do not go the way you wanted them to go, look into the mirror and talk to that guy you see in there.
Blaming others for your mishap is an attempt to dodge. It’s an attempt not to take responsibilities for what you’ve become as a result of your own decisions. When you blame others, you see no reason to change your method of doing things. After all, it’s not your mistake to become what you’ve become. It’s other people’s mistake. They have to change. Not you.
You give the power to change to other people when in actual sense, you should talk of change to the guy in the mirror. Blame others and you’ll always be the same. Take responsibility. Take action. Change yourself. Be that guy.
#9. Desiring after things you can’t afford
It’s good to have desires. It’s good to have things in mind that you are working towards achieving them. Having desire isn’t a bad thing. Desiring after things you can’t afford makes no sense. It only makes your life miserable. It pushes you into thinking your life isn’t worthwhile. The cliché is this; live within your means. If you must have desire, desire after things within your means.
Happiness is being content with what you have. If you don’t have, and you want it, take a step at a time. No need to desire after mansions when all you have is money to hire a single room. Don’t waste your heart in desiring after the latest iPhone when you’re struggling to make ends meet. Desire within your means.
#10. Thinking it’s too late to start
It’s not too early to start anything. And it’s not too late to be whatever you wish to be. You can still dream a dream no matter your age. Thinking it’s too late to start is a defeatist approach to life. Many people have found success at the very start. But trust me, a lot many more have also found success when age wasn’t on their side.
Charles Darwin wrote “On the Origin of Species”, the book that changed the landscape of scientific community when he was 50 years old. Are you too old to write a book? Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s and grew it into the world’s biggest growing fast-food franchise when he was 52. Do you think you are too old to start that food joint? Vera Wang entered the fashion industry at the age of 40 and later became one of the world’s successful women’s designer. And you think it’s too late to start a fashion business?
#11. Taking friends for granted
We all begun life with people. Along the way, we became more attached to others. They became our friends. It is no good hanging around bad friends. But it’s everything to find a friend who inspires you to take up challenges. Don’t take these friends for granted. They are the diamonds in your cycle.
I looked back over the years and thought about all the friends I’ve lost along the way. The good ones. The ones that gave me a hand when I was down. The ones that shared their meals with me because I was running on an empty stomach. Those friends who failed with me and yet said; “let’s give it one more try”. I tried reconnecting with them. Those I don’t have their numbers I sent them mails. Those I could found on Facebook, I sent them friends request. Those I had their numbers but I never called, I called them.
Things have started changing in my life since I started doing that. My network of people to look back on is very rich now. I keep connecting these friends to people they can benefit from and they also do same with me. It’s easy to do it with friends.
#12. The attitude of not reading
When I see a man without a book in hand, I see a hollow man. If someone tells me he/she hates reading, a piece of me dies. How do you know when you don’t read? How do you maneuver the curves of life when you don’t read the cautions in the books of those who have maneuvered those curves successfully time and again?
Books change me. I have read some books that have changed everything for me over the years. I pick a book and I ask myself; “what’s the new thing I can learn from this?” A page after another, I pick up information. Great discoveries and a better insight. I learn. Then I feel I’m a better person than the guy I was before reading. Reading gives you the opportunity to consume the experiences and knowledge some masters have acquired over the years all at a goal.
Make it a point to read something coming this year. Develop the attitude and appetite for reading and your life would not be the same. There are treasures to be found each passing day. These treasures are hidden in the pages of the books you ignored to read. Pick it up. A word after a word. A sentence after a sentence. A paragraph at time and all the treasures become yours to keep.
#13. Holding on to toxic relationships
Relationships should keep both parties happy. It’s a way we benefit from each other and celebrate our differences in a glowing manner. When you decided to be together, you only thought of love, affection and dreams of a better tomorrow. Now the tables have turned. They don’t treat you like you deserve. They hurt you where you should have been loved.
Stop living on hopes that things will turn out well. Read the red flags and walk away. People don’t always change for the better. Relationships shouldn’t necessarily get worse before it comes good. Read the signs well and decide for yourself. Leave when they hurt you most times. Leave when everything is important to them than you. Leave when they hardly respond to your calls. Leave when it has become difficult maintaining the relationship.
It’s beautiful to be in a relationship. A toxic relationship is not worth your time. Be guided by yourself worth. Always choose yourself first. When it longer brings you joy, leave it behind and have your peace.
Author: Nesta Jojoe Erskine