Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you that the only way to improve is to try and fail until you get things right. And believe it or not, life works the same way! Here are 18 “mistakes” you ought to shamelessly make, and never apologize for.
1. Not giving your job 100%
There is more to life than work. Sure, it’s what people say you need to do if you’re going to be successful. But it comes with a lot of side effects, not the least of which are burnout and general empathy.
Make the mistake of working for the weekend. Enjoy life outside of work. Who knows, maybe what you enjoyably pursue outside the office will be the key to your hefty and steady paycheck.
2. Staying out late the night before work
Ted Mosby says nothing good ever happens after 2 am. Nay, we say! How in the world are you supposed to find out when good things stop happening until you find the end? You have friends you need to spend time with, right?
Go build those lasting friendships and write those stories you’re going to tell your kids one day. Eventually you’ll settle down and you won’t want to stay out late anymore, so enjoy it while you can. A few rough mornings in the office are worth it.
3. Going after that risky opportunity
Ask any entrepreneur how they became successful, and their story will begin with taking a massive risk. It’s scary. People will tell you you’re wrong or naive all day.
And you very well might fail more royally than the prince himself, but in doing so you pursued something to its end with passion and fervor. That’s what matters.
4. Ending a friendship or relationship that doesn’t let you pursue your dreams
You’re a strong independent woman that don’t need no man! But seriously – people come and go; your mind stays. Do you really want to live constantly thinking “what if”?
Let’s answer that for you. You don’t. It doesn’t matter if you achieve great success. What matters is that you made a commitment to yourself, to fulfill your dreams, and you might find success along the way.
5. Spending all your money on experiences
Not everyone wants to work hard for 30 years, then settle down in a little house with a white picket fence. And that’s okay. It’s also okay not to save all your money. It’s okay to travel around the world with no certainty about where you’ll find income.
Spending money doesn’t mean you’re wasting it. You’ll only find out what’s really valuable to you by investing in yourself, so go have that unique experience!
6. Blowing off friends for some you time
Introverted or extroverted, everyone needs alone time. Even if your friends are going to some big party, don’t worry about missing out. Blow them off! You’re valuable, and time with yourself is important.
Indulge in some guilty pleasures. You deserve that bubble bath with a glass of wine and a Nicholas Sparks novel! You go, Glen Coco.
7. Treating Yourself
Money is a fickle thing. You, however, are invaluable. Splurge on yourself! Neglect responsibility and indulge in your hedonistic tendencies, because yes, those shoes do look great on you, and yes, you will have a paycheck coming in later that week.
Life isn’t always about making the “right” financial choices. Yes, you’ll get older and feel the need to spend less. But don’t you dare feel bad about treatin’ yoself. You deserve it.
8. Neglecting to keep up with the latest trends
When was the last time that keeping up with Kardashians provided you with any lasting value? How bad will you really look at family gatherings if you didn’t hear the latest political banter? You can only learn and be interested in so many things everyday.
We recommend spending that mental power on topics you actually find interesting. Migration patterns of the Brazilian Horned Frog? Fascinating!
9. Quitting your job without knowing what you’re going to do
Your parents may kill us for saying this, but, psst – it’s okay not to have a plan. Really. Yes, quitting your job is relatively serious. So is paying rent. But what’s the worst that can happen? Couch surfing while you live the bohemian lifestyle? Big deal.
If you’re completely unhappy in your current place of employment, quit! Figure out what you want to do later. Try for a bunch of odd jobs. Quit your job and moved to a new city with no plans, and you may just be all the happier for it!
10. Moving to a new city with no plans
Live a little. Experience the country, or different countries. Everybody grows up wondering what it would be like to randomly move off to New York, L.A., Venice, or London. Take the leap and go for it!
Worst case scenario, you meet a few sketchy people and have to freelance write to get by. Isn’t the potential pay-off and enjoyment of a world of new experiences worth the risk? Wrecklessly, go!
11. Dating that one person you know is terrible for you
You’re attracted to them for a reason. You know the situation won’t end well, but does that really mean you have to lose out on weeks or months of a good time?
Besides, it’s much easier (and more meaningful) to learn what you do not want in a significant other than it is to really conclude what you do want, day-in and day-out. Future you will be thankful.
12. Using free time to accomplish personal goals
You don’t have to feel bad about bailing on friends. You don’t have to get ahead on work. Maybe you simply want to read one book a week for a year, or build a business on the side, or visit every major city in the U.S.
People will say to use that time to boost your career. Nay! Pursue your goals! Achieve your dreams! And don’t look back.
13. Making a complete fool of yourself in public
Acting out probably isn’t going to be in anybody’s best interest. But making a complete fool of yourself teaches you one of two things: either you definitely need to never do anything like that again, or that it’s okay to come out of your shell a bit.
Sure, people will feel uncomfortable for a moment. But what if that one ridiculous moment is the key to relieving your social anxiety, enabling you to experience more things in life and achieve more of your goals without constantly worrying about failure? Would you say that’s worth a few laughs at your expense?
14. Taking an awful job
Something’s got to pay the bills, right? However admirable it may be to wait it out for your dream job, or for that one position you really deserve, sometimes you just need to take a lesser position.
Pros? Because you enjoy your job less, you’ll find more distractions throughout your day (usually other friends also unhappy with their jobs), and you’ll be more inclined to pursue things you love outside the office. Those little moments of friendly distraction will turn into tight bonds, and that time you spent on your dreams will become invaluable.
15. Trying something new
You’re right, raw squid does sound like a terrible idea. So does working in an industry you have no prior experience in.
But even just one try, just one attempt at something new, can do more than simply broaden your horizon. It could be a crucial next step to how you live the rest of your life. Fear not, and try often.
16. Getting a pet
They cost money, poop everywhere, and take up way too much of your time and energy. But aren’t they just the cutest? Taking care of a pet actually teaches you a ton, and not just if you’re ready for kids or not.
It teaches you to be considerate of another, how to organize your time, and to get into a routine (like when your cat jumps in your bed at 6 am every morning, meowing in your face to feed it).
17. Doing something for yourself despite others telling you not to
Your friends are right. Doing that one thing will end badly. But maybe you need to go through that to understand what’s bad about it, or if it’s really a bad choice at all. You can tell someone not to write a book all day, but that it will only be a waste of time and a failure.
Listening to you doesn’t bring them closure and understanding. People have to “waste” that time and try their hardest before they can come to grips with their poor choices. And then, they will know how to better handle things in the future.
18. Trying to live a life separate from your family
We all have to go through this at least once. Yes, we love our families. But dang, are we sick of them! You have to prove to yourself that you can make a go of it on your own and not end up in a van down by the river.
You’re going to make a ton of mistakes, and it’s likely going to be really difficult. But if you don’t try to do things on your own, you’re never going to learn about yourself, your place in this world, and all the wonderful things you’re capable of.