The Five Mistakes Most People Make That Stops them Living Their Purpose

I’ve been a change consultant for 30 years, I’ve worked with an untold number of individuals from Micmac communities in Canada to corporate tycoons and yogi’s in India. And believe it or not, the problems are similar. It’s the solutions that vary….

Here are my top five most common mistakes people make:

  1. Golden Handcuffs

Work is more important than people think and when the baby comes, the family grows, the mortgage gets larger and the realisation that life is slipping us by people start working for money. Like a pair of golden handcuffs work becomes a source of revenue to feed the monster and when this happens, we lose the individual.

Most depression, relationship breakdown, heart ache, ill-health, addiction can be traced back to golden handcuffs and when those handcuffs come off, and the income fails, you can add suicide and self/domestic abuse.

Loving your work is a big step from golden handcuffs but there’s a middle ground, and that’s being thankful. At least, in a job you might not like but from which a good income can secure your family, you can be thankful for the job, the boss, the people, the client and the product.

A leader can’t lead an unthankful employee. They are self destructing. If there’s one unthankful person wearing golden handcuffs in a team, they will bring down the tone of the team, the company and the culture.

So, golden handcuffs are my number one mistake.

2. Taking Things for Granted

There is an old quote “we don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone” and how true is that? Relationships that were taken for granted – fizzle into mechanics of day to day. Business’ that are run for the future typically don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s in the details that we avoid taking things for granted. People take their health for granted, they take their love for their family for granted. They even take their own existence – awake in the universe – for granted. And the result is MOANING.

I go to great pains to remind my clients that “it could be worse” – my mission is purely to try to help stop the MOANING MENTALITY. A focus on all that’s not right…..

There is a catch to this… and it leads to problem number 3.

3. Problem of Positive Thinking

There’s a vast difference between being optimistic and being a positive thinker. Positive thinkers get no where, optimists succeed. Do you know the difference? If not, you may be making a huge contribution to your own downfall.

There are two sides to everything. The positive thinker wants to see the positive, one side. This is defined as emotion, or better still ego. Our ego seeks pleasure (the positive) and wants to avoid pain (the negative). This, in another language is the difference between leadership and follower, between love and expectation, between success and failure, between hard headed and open hearted, between motivation and inspiration.

There are two sides to everything. Knowing both sides of something, whether it’s a new lover, a new car, a business, yourself, your family, your company is vital if you want to lead it, rather than have it lead you.

You can’t manage anything you can’t see the two sides of. You can’t love anyone you can’t see the two sides of. This is a huge contradiction to mass consciousness and even the Buddha knew it when he said “teach them the illusions (happiness) until they are ready for the truth. or Jesus who supposedly said “be in the world (emotional one sided beliefs) but not of the world (see both sides and love it).

Replace that crazy and disempowering notion of positive thinking (which by the way leads to depression) with “see both sides and then focus on the positive.”

Focussing on the positive once the negative is balanced creates incredible optimism. But focussing on the positive in the absence of any negative leads to taking things for granted and emotionally unstable disempowerment.

4. Focussing on the Moment

50% of our day needs to be spent focussed on the future. The other 50% can focus on the moment or whatever.

All human eyes are turned to the future. All marketing promises a better future. All human motivation and the human spirit itself is focussed on the future. When the future doesn’t look attractive we get ill.

Nobody resists change.. change is attractive.. as long as the change promises a better future. But most change isn’t presented like that, it’s presented as better for the firm but maybe not the individual. People are so dumb in business leadership, and most of it is caused by a dependency on HR whose function is to sort out the moment, not the future.

Leadership is about the future. Parenting is about the future. Love and attraction and relationships are about the future. Sure, in the heat of infatuation in the short term we can forget the future and be in the NOW but when that settles, human nature focusses 100% on the future. continually improve it for someone and they’ll love you forever, compromise and try to make their moment to moment problems go away and they’ll resent you.

Vision – the future….use Walker’s wheel to plan it.

5. Self Dislike

What’s the most severe punishment you can give an already imprisoned individual? Solitary confinement is the answer.

In Nepal, as a reward for Buddhist monks doing incredibly well at their studies, the monastery will agree to place them in solitary confinement for 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 hours, 3 minutes…. That’s reward…

Why is one solitary confinement a punishment for 2 days and the other a reward and it’s for more than 3 years?

Pascal said it “Most human problems come from the inability to sit quietly (means no ipod) in a room by themselves”

Simply put “most people wouldn’t be their own best friend”

Nobody beats you up, loves you, cares for your success, wants your happiness more than you. This is an incredible awareness and one that often comes so late in life that it’s a huge  aha moment on why stuff happened throughout your life. Depending on your partner in a relationship, to care for you, love you, desire you more than you, that’s the consequence of this one mistake people make – dependency – and it causes havoc.

I do life coaching 30 day challenges, corporate culture change programs, team building and leadership training. If you feel that your world could do with a little reality check, please be in touch.