Wouldn’t it be nice if all our mistakes were just a one-time thing? But sadly, life isn’t like that; I for one have found myself saying time and time again, “Oh my gosh, how could I do that…again?”
I think we can all learn from intelligent people who never make the same mistake twice.
These are the folks who understand what author Paulo Coelho meant when he said, ““When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.”
In this article, I’ll share 11 mistakes we all make, but which intelligent people never make twice.
Hopefully, we can learn a thing or two from them!
1) Not setting boundaries
I’ll start with a very common mistake we’ve all made at one point in our lives. Never saying no. Doing favors we don’t want to do. Being okay with unacceptable behavior.
In short, not setting boundaries.
The thing about intelligent people is that they’re, well, intelligent – they learn faster and remember better.
So, they may have overcommitted or failed to set boundaries in the past, but they certainly won’t do that again. They understand the importance of boundaries in managing their energy and time effectively.
2) Accepting less than they deserve
Part of setting boundaries is knowing what you deserve and saying no to anything less than that.
A job that pays too low given your skills? No.
Fake friends? No.
Toxic relationships? Hell, no.
As a quote from the Perks of Being a Wallflower goes, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
I’d add, aside from love – practically anything else!
It’s all about having high standards. Intelligent people may have once fallen into the trap of accepting less than what they deserve, but once they realize that, you can be sure it won’t happen again.
They’ll remember to accept only those that can rise to their standards instead of lowering them.
3) Trying to please everyone
This is closely connected to those standards I’ve been talking about.
You see, sometimes when we want to fit in or keep the peace, we’re forced into situations where we have to try and make everyone happy.
I say “forced”, but actually, it is a choice. Don’t you agree?
Because the reality is, no one can really force us to do what we don’t want to do, unless we were in a literal hostage situation.
Otherwise, we’re free to live our lives the way we please, other people’s opinions be damned. That’s something intelligent people know.
They’ll quickly realize when they’ve fallen into the trap of people pleasing and will immediately regroup and self-correct. Because they know its real consequence – we lose a bit of ourselves when we constantly put other people’s needs above ours.
It’s not about being selfish, but about maintaining a healthy sense of self-respect and self-worth. They aim to be fair and kind, but never at the expense of their own health and happiness.
This leads me to my next point…
4) Neglecting self-care
Ah, this one’s something I always slip up in. I mean, we all know self-care is essential for our health and happiness, yet how often do we let it slide?
Have you made these mistakes – more than once?
- Skimping on sleep
- Eating junk food
- Not exercising
- Suppressing your emotions
- Not seeking help for depression/anxiety/other mental health issues
I know I have. I guess I’ve got a long way to go, because these are certainly mistakes intelligent people won’t be making twice.
They know that neglecting self-care leads to burnout, and that’s a hard, hard lesson they won’t forget.
5) Ignoring their intuition
Just as they know how important a sound mind and body are, intelligent people also understand the value of “the gut”. They don’t just rely on logic to make decisions; their intuition comes into play, too.
I’ll give you a perfect example of this. I once accepted a job offer that looked really good on paper. I did it, despite a certain feeling I had that it wasn’t the right fit for me. The attractive compensation package overrode all those alarm bells I should have heeded.
True enough, I would find out just how bad a fit it was for me. Not only was I given tasks that were way beyond what we’d agreed on, but I also got blamed for things that weren’t even my fault. The stress I ended up with was just not worth that hefty salary.
Since then, I’ve learned to listen to my intuition. I now know that it’s my brain trying to alert me from potential risks and icky situations.
6) Making assumptions
You know what they say about the word ‘assume’…it makes an a** of u and me.
And yet, many of us do it over and over!
Why do we never learn? Perhaps because we aren’t as mindful of our thought processes as intelligent people are.
That’s not to say intelligent people haven’t ever made the mistake of making a wrong assumption. Of course they have; they just learned their lesson quickly…and permanently.
Once they’ve realized their mistake, they take it as a reminder to keep those knee-jerk opinions and snap judgments at bay. To take the time, ask questions, and gather more info before forming an opinion.
7) Trusting the wrong person
Ever trusted someone only to be betrayed? Then when they apologize and appear contrite, you decide to give them another chance…and get betrayed again?
I’ve been there, especially in my past romantic relationships. I guess being in love has a way of making us hope for the best over and over, placing our trust in the wrong person even when they’ve proven they’re not worth it.
Having experienced this, intelligent people are extremely careful not to repeat the same mistake.
Because of their high standards, it’s incredibly hard for them to give second chances. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.
And on the rare occasion they do – and get betrayed yet again – believe me, that’s going to be a complete, utter write-off.
8) Staying in their comfort zone
Another mistake intelligent people never make twice is getting stuck in a place of stagnation.
And really, that’s what the comfort zone is. While it’s definitely warm and comforting, it’s a dangerous place to be in, much like falling asleep in the snow. You feel like you’re getting sleepy, but you’re really getting dead.
Intelligent people have latched early on in their lives to the idea that growth happens fastest in unfamiliar territory.
So while they might have gotten stuck in their comfort zone in the past, they now recognize those signs early and seek out something fresh and new to challenge themselves.
That said, they don’t just do it recklessly, as the next section shows…
9) Making impulsive decisions
As we know by now, intelligent people are fast learners. So, if they’ve made an impulsive decision in the past that led to awful consequences, they’ll remember to be more careful and reflective next time.
Plus, since they’re smart, they value rational, logical thinking, which is why they’re more aware when a decision is stemming from a place of emotion.
10) Not learning from failures
As intelligent as they are, they do experience failures just like the rest of us. It’s a natural part of life, after all.
The difference is, where many of us might miss the lessons in our failures, they don’t.
This is something I learned the hard way. I used to take a “hammer” approach to problems, which means I kept hammering away, doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result each time.
Unfortunately, as Albert Einstein said, that’s the very definition of insanity.
That’s why intelligent people pivot quickly. Once they’ve failed at something, they don’t go and do it again using the same approach that didn’t work.
No, they analyze what went wrong and apply those lessons moving forward. For them, the real failure is not learning from the mistake.
11) Trying to be someone they’re not
Finally, we get to this last point, which is definitely something you’ll notice in intelligent people.
Authenticity is the way of life for smart people. You know why? Because they already know that trying to fit into someone else’s mold never works.
They may have tried it in the past, for one reason or another, such as:
- Social acceptance
- Fear of rejection
- Professional pressure
- Cultural expectations
But once they’ve made this mistake, that’s it. Never again. They see it for what it is – a disservice to themselves.
They take to heart what they’ve always known anyway – that the best version of themselves is the real one.
So, they embrace their individuality, their strengths and weaknesses, and live a life that rings true to them.
As you can see, intelligence doesn’t necessarily shield us from making mistakes. After all, we’re all human, even if we have the highest IQ ever registered.
It does, however, give us the advantage of learning quickly. What matters most is how we grow from those mistakes and use them to push us forward and do better next time.
And if you need a little reminder, think about this wise advice from Henry Ford: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”