Everyone makes mistakes — but while some people learn from them, others seem to fall into the same trap again and again.
Now, a leading author and emotional intelligence expert has revealed the 10 mistakes to stop making in the new year — and how to avoid repeating them.
In a lengthy LinkedIn post, Dr Travis Bradberry, the best-selling author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, explained the difference between “smart” people and the rest of us was their ability to learn from their slip-ups.
“Smart, successful people are by no means immune to making mistakes; they simply have the tools in place to learn from their errors,” Dr Bradberry wrote.
“In other words, they recognise the roots of their mix-ups quickly and never make the same mistake twice.”
Citing research from the Clinical Psychophysiology Lab at Michigan State University, Dr Bradberry said people who made mistakes either reacted with a “fixed mindset” or a “growth mindset”.
The former tend to repeat their errors because they usually ignore them, while the latter use them as a tool for self-improvement.
But Dr Bradberry said anyone could boost their emotional intelligence by learning from the 10 mistakes smart people “only make once”.
Believing in someone or something that’s too good to be true
“Smart people only need to be tricked once before they start to think twice about a deal that sounds too good to be true,” Dr Bradberry said.
“Smart people ask serious questions before getting involved because they realise that no one, themselves included, are as good as they look.”
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result
“If you keep the same approach, you’ll keep getting the same results, no matter how much you hope for the opposite,” the author wrote.
Even though it’s tough, smart people know they need to change.
Failing to delay gratification
“Smart people know that gratification doesn’t come quickly and hard work comes long before the reward,” Dr Bradberry wrote.
“They also know how to use this as motivation through every step of the arduous process that amounts to success.”
Operating without a budget
Dr Bradberry said smart people only needed to “face that insurmountable pile of bills once” before learning to manage their money better — which means they never have to miss out on something because they’ve “blown their precious capital on discretionary expenditures”.
Losing sight of the big picture
Dr Bradberry said smart people weigh up their daily priorities against a “carefully calculated goal” which gives them the “discipline and perspective” to adjust their course and make progress.
Not doing your homework
While it’s tempting to make shortcuts, smart people know it will hold them back from “achieving their full potential”.
They also realise “there’s no substitute for hard work and due diligence”.
Trying to be someone or something you’re not
Dr Bradberry said smart people realise that happiness and success “demand authenticity” and that others can usually see through phonies and fakers.
Tr ying to please everyone
Not only is it impossible to achieve, it also stops you building up the courage to “call the shots and to make the choices that you feel are right”, even if others don’t agree.
Playing the victim
Dr Bradberry said smart people soon realised it was a “form of manipulation” which can easily be found out by others.
Trying to change someone
Intelligent people realise that you can never change someone who doesn’t want to — and instead they focus on building their lives around “genuine, positive people and work to avoid problematic people that bring them down”.