The Biggest Wastes Of Time
** This post originally appeared on Lifehacker. This article is republished here with permission. **
Date: 4/13/2019 4:22:48 PM ( 20 mon ) ... viewed 438 times
The Biggest Wastes Of Time We Regret When We Get Older
By Kristin Wong May 29, 2018
Dwelling on Your Mistakes and Shortcomings
Learning from your mistakes is one thing. Dwelling on them wastes your time, diminishes your confidence, and keeps you from getting on with your life.
The dwelling also makes you more apt to repeat your mistakes. In a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, researchers asked subjects to spend money during an imaginary trip to the mall. Before "shopping", some subjects were asked to recall a past financial mistake. They found those subjects were more likely to incur debt. A press release for the study concluded:
Perhaps the most surprising, Haws said, is that searching through the past can negatively affect behavior, depending on the ease of recall, even when past examples are positive...Instead of dwelling on the past, Haws said, her research into behavior suggests that setting goals for the future can positively change present behavior...In short, if we want to have better self-control, "Look forward," Haws says. "Don't look back."
When you think about your own experiences, it probably makes sense. Dwelling makes you feel like a failure. When I feel like a failure, it's easy to tell myself there's no point in trying, because I already suck. (Hence, getting further into debt when you already feel like an overspender.)
Of course, you don't want to skip over your mistakes and ignore them either. The goal is to glean something from them, then release the failure. I like Emilie Wapnick's process for doing this:
In order to let the past go, you must forgive yourself officially.
Feel the embarrassment or shame one final time. Really feel it throughout your body. Next, tell yourself that everyone makes mistakes and you know you that that outcome was not your intention. It was an accident. Finally, make the decision to forgive yourself and do it. It helps to even say it out loud.
From now on, it's OK. You are forgiven.
Every time the thought comes back, simply remind yourself that you have already been forgiven, so there's no reason to feel bad anymore. Then push the thought away.
One of my other big-time regrets is not allowing myself to fail out of fear of my own shortcomings.
For years, I stayed in a comfortable place and didn't try to do things I wanted to do. I wanted to travel after high school, but I went to university close to home instead, because I was too shy to meet new people, and I was afraid I couldn't make it in another city. After university, I wanted to be a freelance writer, but I decided to find a more stable, accessible job instead because that was easier. There's nothing wrong with wanting to live a stable, comfortable life, but I was doing it for the wrong reasons: because I was afraid to fail.
Eventually, I got tired of this. I decided to find work I actually enjoyed, travel more and live somewhere else. I made a ton of mistakes along the way, and even when I did succeed, I felt like an imposter. Still, I think the bigger mistake was not trying sooner. Even if I failed, I would have learned from my mistakes much sooner.
Worrying Too Much About Other People
It's easy to waste time worrying about other people, too. Don't get me wrong — your friends and loved ones mean a lot to you, and you want to spend time nurturing them. But we also spend a lot of time fretting over problems that don't matter in the long run.
For example, I spent years getting annoyed with people who undermine me. I complained about them, tried to understand them, wondered what was wrong with me that I inspired that kind of behavior. Those habits always lead to a dead end, because they didn't involve action. The older I got, the less tolerant I became of this behavior, and I learned to nip it in the bud.
I also indulged another time-wasting emotion: jealousy. I compared myself to everyone, wanted what they had, and felt inadequate. Like most negative, destructive feelings, the first (and biggest) step to overcoming it is understanding it.
I paid attention to my jealousy and what triggered it, then learned that it was less about the other person and more about my own feelings of inadequacy. In short, I embraced that jealousy. Envy is a bit different, but it often comes from the same place, and here's what writer Trent Hamm suggests in dealing with your envy:
The question is, why do you want it in your life? I like to use the "five whys" when handling a question like this. Whenever I'm trying to answer a "why" question, I repeat it five times, asking it of the answer I come up with for each question. When you identify a particularly strong desire that you have, step back for a moment and break it down into small pieces. Then, see if there isn't a way for you to address those smaller pieces in your own life. Again, let's take that international trip. What elements am I desiring when it comes to that trip? I want to expose my children to different cultures…. The thing is, when I start breaking that trip down into small pieces, I start seeing pieces that I can easily incorporate into my own life.
Once you understand why you feel jealous or envious, you can take action to take care of the problem, whether that means processing the emotions or coming up with goals for yourself. Either way, that's a lot more productive.
Most of us are probably guilty of all of these at some point, and really, they're human nature. Regret is another big waste of time, so there's no point in beating yourself up over these. The sooner you learn from them, though, the sooner you can free up your time and energy to live the life you want.
This story has been updated and edited from its original publication.
This post originally appeared on Lifehacker. This article is republished here with permission.
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