Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn from the common life mistakes that others have made?

It seems like there’s some kind of unwritten rule out there that we can’t learn from other people’s mistakes.  Who in the heck had that bright idea I want to know.

And more to the point how many of us have accepted this as a truism in life? 

I know I did for donkey’s years (a little expression from over the pond that just means a long time). Sorry it just comes out naturally.

But more to the point, how great it would be if we actually not only could, but did, learn common life mistakes so we could easily avoid them ourselves?

Here’s my shot at sharing my view of 5 common life mistakes you could easily avoid, by simply applying the lessons learned by others..

1. Missing opportunities

If you’re like most people (including me) you probably learned that mistakes and setbacks were bad things to have happen.

And that made it hard to deal with the situation.  It seems that it’s always harder to manage things from a negative attitude.

Whilst it’s true that handling these challenges isn’t always easy, if you could view them in a different light, it would be easier to get through those dark moments.

Because seen in their true light, setbacks, challenging moments, mistakes, whatever you call them often are new opportunities. 

For some strange reason that I haven’t worked out yet, and believe me I’m giving it some serious looking at, opportunity often looks like misfortune.

But viewed from a higher perspective your life is as good as your mindset.

And to rise above our mistakes stop viewing them as bad things and give yourself a chance to see the opportunities that are often flowing in the wake of each mistake and misfortune. 

2. Not keeping promises

My daughter was just out of drama school, with no job in sight. 

One of her friends suggested she join him and his team to perform a play he’d written.  No money was involved, but she would get to practice her craft at some teeny tiny theater in the heart of a teeny tiny village in England.

She said yes.  And rehearsals began. 

A week later she received a call from a prestigious theatre company in the south of England, would she go for an interview.

Naturally she went. 

And then disappointment showed it’s not so pretty face. 

Rehearsals for the play that would run through the entire summer were scheduled to start in the next couple of weeks.

She said she was sorry, that whilst she’d love to play the part, have the job, be involved with the company she’d already promised her friend and couldn’t in all decency let him down.

Out of all the people who auditioned for this lead role, she got it. 

They were willing to rehearse without her for a couple of weeks. 

They told her later they were not only impressed with her acting chops, they were also impressed with her integrity. The fact that she kept the promise she’d made to her friend was an added bonus for the theatre company. 

Her story quickly spread through the theatre world and she was offered many more jobs in various theatre companies across the UK over the years, whilst many of her friends and colleagues from drama school were sadly still struggling to get work.

An actors life can be a tough one.

So wherever you are today, you never know what tomorrow holds.  Hold fast to your integrity and don’t neglect to do what you know is the right thing.

Make promises. Keep promises. It might bring you more than you ever imagined possible. And it’s one of the most common life mistakes that is pretty easy to fix.  Do what you said you’d do. The end.

3. Neglecting others

It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of something important to us which can lead to us neglecting those we care about in our life.

The truth is we add more value to our life by making a difference in the life of someone else. Someone said there’s no better exercise for your heart than reaching out and lifting people up.

Remember when you are older and look back you’ll have a greater sense of fulfillment and meaning in life for all the kindnesses and help you offered to others.

Because at the end of the day you’ll discover that what truly matters is not how much is in your bank account or what goals you accomplished but the things you did for someone else that will fill your heart and soul with joy.

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says if you want happiness for a lifetime – help others find happiness.

4.Not saying what you need to say

This has been a hard one for me.  I was always concerned about hurting someone’s feelings. Or ending up in an argument that would bother me for days. But my silences didn’t protect me.  The words I never spoke I swallowed until I got sick.

And that woke me up. I asked myself “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Often the only question that really matters is the one you ask yourself. You know that already of course!

I wasn’t sure of the answer.  Will people yell at me?  Will the world come to an end?  How will it feel?

Well clearly I’d already made myself sick by swallowing all the words I didn’t say.  So it was time to push myself a little further than I’d dared to go before.

I had to practice, slowly at first because I was totally outside of my comfort zone, and it was scary to me.

But eventually I learned how to speak up kindly, for myself and for others. And when to speak and when not to.

And I got better at it. And the world didn’t end and though many were surprised, no one yelled at me.

So be BOLD and pipe up…

5. Non-appreciation

I know it doesn’t always seem like it, but we we truly are all in this together.  We’re on the same team, heading towards the same goal.

We’re spiritual beings. And we’re here expressing as us in our unique and often imperfect way.

We’ve all made mistakes, messed things up, probably hurt and wounded other people.

Funny how we’re connected through our imperfections isn’t it?

Remember to appreciate this. 

Appreciate and value the differences between you and others. We’re all doing the best we can, where we are, with what we’ve got.

And then appreciate those things in your life that bring little moments of joy or laughter.

It’s good to remember that what we take for granted can sometimes be taken away.

And appreciation can’t be given often enough, not because there’s nothing to lose, but because everything can be lost.

Final thoughts

Every life is strewn with mistakes and failures and I’ve learned that the best thing to do is to pass quickly through them.

The longer we dwell on our misfortune the greater it’s power to cause us pain.

And the greater chance we miss out on new possibilities because our hearts and minds are too filled and focused on the flaws, imperfections and mistakes of life.

Now I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, tell me about a time that you made any of these common mistakes or any others and what did you learn and how did you grow as a result?

You are so appreciated and I am truly grateful for you reading and sharing the way you do.

Meanwhile encourage one another.

Love Elle




Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. I love the example in number two “keeping your promises” with your daughter and the acting job. I think it is so important, but very hard to do, to live life without trying to conform ourselves to force what outcomes we want. In doing so, we might end up compromising promises, values, and many other things. If we live authentically and with integrity and just let things unfold, it usually works out. We truly never know what tomorrow holds. 🙂

  2. These are beautiful lessons, and wonderful advice along with them. The story of your daughter and the theatre job is very moving. I also like the idea of passing through our mistakes and failures quickly, not lingering there and beating ourselves up.

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