Everything I do seems to backfire and go wrong.
I’m not being melodramatic when I say that I’ve spent literally years feeling like nothing I do goes right.
But lately I’ve turned over a new leaf.
This is the start of a whole new chapter in the story of me, and it can be for you, too.
“Why can’t I ever do anything right?” 21 no bullsh*t tips if this is you
If you feel like you can’t ever do anything right, I can already prove you wrong.
Did you eat food yesterday? You did that right.
Did you put on a pair of shoes, a dress, shave, brush your teeth? You did those things right.
As for the bigger things in life? Here’s a way to stop beating yourself up.
1) First of all, stop repeating it
Seriously, just stop.
Try your best to stop thinking it, too. And when you do, just accept the thought like an old guest who keeps showing up unwanted.
Nod, smile and move on.
Oh hey it’s Youcant Doanythingright. Sorry Mr. Doanythingright, I’m kind of busy right now. You’ll have to see yourself out, but feel free to pour yourself a drink.
You may wonder what good it does just to stop indulging so much in this statement and belief.
At first, none. Eventually, quite a bit! Your beliefs are powerful and can help feed into self-fulfilling prophecies.
You may be failing at 99% of your life right now. But if you build an ironclad storyline around that it could end up being 100%.
2) Find the roots of the belief
As I said, you may be experiencing disappointment and frustration in almost all areas of your life.
Looking back, you may also notice a pattern of failure and broken dreams.
It’s okay to feel angry, sad and confused about that. In fact, it’s natural.
What I want to hit pause on, however, is the belief itself that you can’t do anything right.
The problem with a statement about what you are able or unable to do is it’s very final.
If you can’t do anything right, why even try ever again?
If you’ve failed a lot and you’re pissed off, however, that’s a much better start!
So where did this belief come from and what fed into it? Do a deep dive through your past and write down those who reinforced this belief and when you really became convinced of it.
One example comes from writer Ryan Fan. As he notes:
“For me, it’s a lot of experiences in my childhood that I felt like I didn’t do enough in — familial discord that I wanted to fix as a child when I was the youngest one and couldn’t fix anything.”
3) Stop trying to improve yourself!
If you want your life to get better, try to improve yourself… right?
Well, actually no.
Trying to improve yourself and visualize an ideal future is part of what holds us back.
So often, we try to get “better” or “work harder” but without having any foundation built.
I’ve encouraged you to stop reinforcing the idea that you “can’t ever” do anything right.
But I’m not telling you to be positive or just brave your way through it. What I’m saying instead, is to find a foundation to build from.
And that foundation is one thing: your mission in this life.
What would you say if I asked you what your purpose is?
It’s a hard question!
And there are far too many people trying to tell you it will just “come to you” and to focus on “raising your vibrations” or finding some vague kind of inner peace.
Self-help gurus are out there preying on people’s insecurities to make money and selling them on techniques which really don’t work for achieving your dreams.
Sage burning ceremonies with some vaguely tribal chanting music in the background.
The truth is that visualization and positive vibes won’t bring you closer to your dreams, and they can actually drag you backwards into wasting your life on a fantasy.
But it’s hard to gain confidence and find your purpose when you’re being hit with so many different claims.
You can end up trying so hard and not finding the answers you need that your life and dreams begin to feel hopeless.
You want solutions, but all you’re being told is to create a perfect utopia inside your own mind. It doesn’t work.
So let’s go back to basics:
Before you can experience a real change, you need to really know your purpose.
I learned about the power of finding your purpose from watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself.
Justin used to be addicted to the self-help industry and New Age gurus just like me. They sold him on ineffective visualization and positive thinking techniques.
Four years ago, he traveled to Brazil to meet the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, for a different perspective.
Rudá taught him a life-changing new way to find your purpose and use it to transform your life.
After watching the video, I also discovered and understood my purpose in life and it’s no exaggeration to say it was a turning point in my life.
I can honestly say that this new way of finding success by finding your purpose actually helped me to get over this sinking sensation that I never do anything right.
4) Do one thing right that matters
What is one thing in your life that matters which you can start doing right now?
It may not be the big things…
Maybe your love life is a wasteland…
Your career is in the dumps…
Your social life is nonexistent…
Your mental health even scares psychologists you go to…
But is there one other thing that’s important which you could do “right” at this time?
For example, could you start working on your physical health and getting fit?
Your life may be shit, but could you start doing that one thing right?
Why not try?
You’ll find that you start becoming much less convinced by the idea that you can’t ever do anything right when you have one or two big items you do start doing right.
The pattern starts getting easier to break once you snap the first link in the chain…
5) Clean your room
Canadian professor Jordan Peterson famously told troubled and confused young people to start by cleaning their room.
It became something of an internet meme and was also the subject of jokes, but Peterson’s point was well made.
What he meant, simply, was that instead of trying to build the Eiffel Tower or become a famous actor, we should start with getting our immediate surroundings in order.
This relates to the previous point about finding one thing you can do right.
Even if you’re living in a shitty small apartment or a huge villa, look at your immediate surroundings.
Then declutter, organize and clean.
Maybe it’s feng-shui, maybe it’s just human nature. But almost all of us are able to start getting a handle on a situation better when our surroundings aren’t a pig sty.
Give it a try.
6) Divide and conquer
Think about the words “Why can’t I ever do anything right?”
They’re quite dramatic. When have you said them and why?
I think we all have at some point, but the problem happens when they keep replaying like an old tape recording in our head.
And each time louder and shriller.
In my own life the times I have had these words coming up a lot are almost always situations in which I feel overwhelmed or have too much on my plate.
When we have 100 things to do, don’t know how and have multiple problems going on at once.
“When we have a lot going on in life, we might feel overwhelmed.
“And when you’re overwhelmed, it can be quite difficult to see clearly—just like when you’re stressed.”
That’s why cutting through them by dividing and conquering. Divide up the challenges you’re facing and the parts of your life that aren’t working out.
Then tackle one at a time. You can even make a schedule for what stressful issue you want to deal with on what day.
7) Embark on an adventure
Ordinary day-to-day life can start becoming a dull routine in a way that brings us down to the depths.
If you’re finding work and other aspects of your life overly stressful and disappointing, try embarking on an adventure.
This can take many different forms:
- A cross-country road-trip.
- Bungee-jumping and going whitewater rafting on a three-day trip.
- Visiting your parents back home who you haven’t seen in year.
- Renting an Airbnb for a week on a lake and swimming every day (or ice-fishing if it’s winter).
- Going on a pilgrimage to Tibet or Mecca.
- Gambling on a riverboat casino while getting really drunk.
- Visiting New Zealand and walking around where they filmed Lord of the Rings.
- Filming a home-movie or writing a script and trying to sell it to Hollywood.
Inasmuch as it’s possible to take a short breather from work or set your own schedule, think about the power of breaking your routine.
You might find that you do a lot better once you rebel against the overly structured life that’s holding you down.
8) Escape the rat race
The 9 to 5 rat race and corporate grind can wear all of us down at times.
Feeling trapped in a career you hate or even one where you feel your potential and skills are being wasted can be truly soul-crushing.
If this is what you’re experiencing, it could be one of the primary reasons why you feel like you can’t do anything right.
In this case, it’s time to think about what your purpose is, like I mentioned earlier, and how to take concrete steps to improve your job situation.
It’s not always possible to leave a job you hate or find a new one.
But there are almost always real steps you can take to find out more about what you love to do, gain more autonomy at your job and start having more of a sense that you’re accomplishing worthwhile goals in life.
9) Get a hand from your friends
If life has become utterly overwhelming, there’s really no shame in asking friends for help.
Maybe you need a friend to look after your kids one evening so you can work late…
Maybe you need a short loan in order to deal with dental problems that are driving you nuts and making you feel like your life is just never going to be OK…
Maybe you just need a friend to talk to about this feeling of being worthless and doomed to fail.
There’s nothing wrong with talking to friends and sometimes leaning on them for support.
Especially when you’d do the same for them.
“If you feel like you can’t get anything done, that’s okay. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. There’s no shame in asking a friend to lighten your load.
“That’s what friends are for.”
10) Start getting specific
What exactly has gone wrong in your life that you believe is your fault?
What could you have done better?
Try to think of one or two of the specific and large things that are not working out for you or have crashed and burned badly in the past.
Instead of a blanket statement about how you can’t do “anything” right, think about a few specific things you haven’t done right.
Earlier I talked about the danger of being overly vague and positive in relation to feeling lost in life.
In fact, instead of focusing on the positive I want to suggest you do the opposite.
Focus on what’s wrong:
What has you trapped?
And how can you beat it?
Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.
I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.
You see, willpower only takes us so far…the key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.
And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.
Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there.
It all comes down to one thing:
Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.
Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having.
So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.
11) Wipe the slate clean
Sometimes one of the best things you can do when it feels like you can’t do anything write is to take a few days off.
Do nothing, if possible.
I still recommend drinking water and eating, of course, but other than that and maybe a nice walk outside, just do literally nothing.
Stay far from your phone and electronic devices and maybe settle in with a decent book and a cup of tea.
Play a musical instrument or listen to something that helps you refocus.
Do breathwork and reconnect with your body.
This fixation on being wrong, inadequate and cursed is an issue of being too much in your mind and stuck believing your thoughts.
Which I’ll touch on in the next point.
Just remember to take some time off for yourself and decompress.
The world will still be waiting once you’re back.
12) Get out of your own way
Many of the seemingly insurmountable problems we face can be traced back to thought loops and being stuck in our head.
Far too often, we get in our own way, tied up in mental pretzels and looking for solutions to have a perfect life.
The problem is that this gets in the way of living life.
You may be able to obsess about what’s gone wrong or right for months and come up with a foolproof plan about how to fix it.
However, what still remains is to actually take action and do the plan.
And this is often much different than it seems in your own mind.
Getting out of your own way is often simply a matter of not analyzing everything so much.
The broken relationship that’s tearing you apart right now might seem like a necessary loss in two years when you meet the love of your life…
The depression over growing up in a broken family may fade down the road when you become a parent and have your own family…
Never take the present moment and turn it into a grand narrative about never being able to do anything right.
13) Read books that build you up
As I’ve said in this article, I don’t feel that visualization and “positive thinking” is the miracle cure that so many New Age gurus advertise.
But I do believe that what we focus on matters and that it’s vital to shift from an abstract-analytical way of life to an active-applied way of life.
Reading about others who’ve done that can be a great help.
In particular, I recommend the following books:
- Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- The Power of Broke by Daymond John
- Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
- Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
And so many more…
14) Get your love life on track
Speaking from experience, I can say that feeling like nothing went right has been a particular problem for me in dating and relationships.
If you’ve had similar struggles then you can undoubtedly relate.
Whether you’ve been single for a long time, dating around or are in a long relationship or marriage, you may feel that it’s all been a waste of time.
Where is this all leading?
Why am I alone all the time? Why do I keep ending up with the wrong person?
What is really the point of this?
I get it, because I’ve had all those questions myself.
Relationships and dating can be confusing and frustrating. Sometimes you’ve hit a wall and you really don’t know what to do next.
I know that I was always skeptical about getting outside help, until I actually tried it out.
Relationship Hero is the best site I’ve found for love coaches who aren’t just talk. They have seen it all, and they know all about how to tackle difficult situations like feeling totally hopeless about finding love.
Personally, I tried them last year while going through a really nasty breakup.
They listened to me and provided actual insights that were helpful instead of just boilerplate bullshit.
My coach was kind, they took the time to really understand my unique situation, and gave genuinely helpful advice.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
15) Build your self-confidence
If you’re feeling like you can’t do anything right, it’s a sign that your self-confidence is at an epic low.
The best way to start rebuilding self-confidence, or build it up from scratch, doesn’t start in your thoughts however.
It starts in your actions.
As I’ve been emphasizing in this article, it’s key to get over the idea that positive thinking or visualizing a better future is going to fix your life.
However by rooting out what’s really going wrong and taking action, you can begin to actually change how you view and experiencing the world.
It’s basically the difference of watching a baseball match versus actually playing in it.
Instead of feeling any number of things about what you’re watching, why not actively participate and make a difference within it?
Whether this means taking on a greater role at work, volunteering, getting more involved with family or taking on responsibility that you otherwise might have shirked, remember that action trumps words.
You can think and talk and type all day long, but what’s going to make the difference is the work you do and the actions you take.
16) Tap into the power of networking
One of the best things you can do if you feel stymied and constantly disappointed by failure and frustration is to network.
Work with others and share the load.
Work on a project together with other smart folks who are dedicated and have bright ideas.
There are many situations where you can accomplish a lot on your own and gain from solitude and time alone.
But there are also others where having a team or even a loosely connected network can do a lot of good for you and empower you through the times when you feel like nothing is going right.
Networking in terms of meeting others who share your interests and may be interested to offer you work or partner together is also highly recommended, both online and offline.
17) Reinforce your closest friendships and family connections
When you feel like you can’t do anything right and life is going off the rails, this is often the best time to get back in touch with those you’ve lost touch with.
That could be friends, family, old acquaintances or even just those you haven’t seen in awhile.
When you’re down on your luck and feeling like crap, those who are close to you or know you from various times of your life can help remind you who you are.
You may just find that part of the purpose and drive you feel is missing in your life is rediscovered by going back to your roots.
Revisiting the past doesn’t just have to be a nostalgia tour, either.
You may find that you’ve been missed and that there’s a lot of new ground to cover with people you haven’t seen in far too long.
18) Maximize your daily reality
If you feel like you can’t do everything right, you need to get out of your head and into your feet.
Maximize your daily reality and try to make each day the most worthwhile it can be.
Some days that might include fully taking the day off.
Other days you may be up burning the midnight oil and working until the latest possible time.
What’s important is to make your goals manageable and take things one day at a time.
Long-term plans are great, but don’t forget the importance of your day-to-day habits and routines.
19) Pump the brakes on perfection
Black and white thinking is very tempting and I’ve engaged in it a lot myself.
The problem is it doesn’t get you very far and it leads to feeling recklessly overconfident or completely cowed when neither are realistic reactions.
A lot of this is the inner drive for perfection.
We all want to do as well as we can, but it’s crucial to make sure you’re not trying to live up to somebody else’s expectations and selling yourself short.
Always remember that you have your own life to live and that nobody else is going to do it for you or deal with the fallout from bad choices.
If you only do what society has conditioned you to want or strive for an imagined perfection, you’ll end up missing the journey along the way.
And that would be highly unfortunate.
20) Let go of what you can’t control
There are just so many things in life we can’t control, from the weather to getting a terminal disease.
One of the hardest things you can ever do is leting go of what you can’t control.
Letting go doesn’t mean not caring.
It’s more about laughing in the face of chaos.
There’s just some rules of the game in terms of what’s out of your control and you can either fight them kicking and screaming or laugh in their face.
There’s not many other options.
We’re all living in the eye of the storm with a death sentence hovering over us.
Let go of what you can’t control!
21) Find your tribe
One of the biggest problems in modern and Western societies is that we’re too individualistic.
We believe that our happiness and misery is a completely personal affair that has not much to do with the group situation around us.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Many times life is hard, disappointing and confusing. That’s a fact, and we should never gaslight ourselves into thinking everything is fine or that we have to be “happy” regardless.
What we should be doing instead, is seeking out collaborative and group experiences where we can communicate, share and learn.
Finding your tribe in one form or another is often the antidote to the deep feeling of hopelessness that’s becoming more and more common in modern society.
Getting it right this time around
Getting it right this time around is a noble goal.
Then again, life never really goes how we hope or expect it to go.
The key at the end of the day is to start living your life more than you think about your life.
Quiet reflection and planning has its place, but in our high-tech society we can become overly attached to our thoughts and personal sufferings.
We may feel we’re the unluckiest person on the planet with no hope for the future when in reality we’re one chance meeting away from a dream job or relationship.
Don’t give up too soon.
You’re doing one big thing right.
You’re reading this article and working to understand your emotions and struggles.
That in itself deserves a hand of applause.
So just keep going, and work on the items I’ve put in this list.
It’s OK and inevitable to have some days when you curse existence. Just try to make the days where you wake up and feel great, motivated and action-oriented even more numerous.
Putting yourself first
What’s your number one goal at the moment?
Is it to buy that car you’ve been saving up for?
To finally start that side-hustle that’ll hopefully help you quit your 9-5 one day?
Or to take the leap and finally ask your partner to move in?
Whatever your goals are, there’s a hidden trap in how you set them.
The trap is this:
You’ll only experience genuine life satisfaction when your goals are aligned with your values.
Because when values and goals are aligned, you enjoy the journey much more. And this makes achieving your goals much more likely.
If you find it hard to articulate your deeper life values, I suggest downloading the free values exercise by career coach Jeanette Brown.
It takes only a couple of minutes and will reveal a number of powerful insights about your underlying values.