The #1 Way to Avoid Unnecessary Pain in Life

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“Wisdom is learning from others’ mistakes”

As human beings, we all experience pain in life. The death of a loved one, messy break-ups, physical injuries, and disappointment with ourselves are just a few common examples. Sometimes pain is unavoidable. But here is the big idea: often pain is avoidable. Often pain we feel is just the culmination of a bunch of bad habits or practices that deep inside we know are going to cause us problems later down the line.

Unfortunately for many years the biggest lessons I learnt in life were from my own stupid mistakes. In fact, just today I have had to deal with some mess that stems from my one and only run in with the law when I was 17 (I am now 25). What then is the easiest way to avoid unnecessary pain? The quote at the beginning of this article says it all: learn from others’ mistakes.

The following are what I consider to be 25 ways in which people set themselves up to experience future pain. Many of them are common sense. One thing I have learnt, though, is that common sense does not necessarily translate to common practice. I have purposely not gone into much detail for each mistake as they are fairly self-explanatory. You will probably find yourself thinking of someone you know when you read each one. The question is, though, do any of these mistakes apply to you?


1. Smoking

2. Excessive drinking

3. Poor diet

4. Drug-taking

5. Failing to exercise


6. Accumulating mountains of debt

7. Spending more than they earn

8. Not having an emergency fund

9. Leaving it too late to properly save/ invest for retirement

10. Lack of adequate protection (ie insurance) for their assets


11. Expecting their partner to change

12. Taking their partner for granted

13. Not discussing key issues (eg kids) before making a big commitment (ie marriage)

14. Just not being compatible (eg financially)

15. Using emotional blackmail


16. Poor presentation/ personal hygiene

17. Not being proactive

18. Laziness

19. Blaming others

20. Doing something they hate for a living


21. Dangerous driving

22. Negative thinking

23. Endless procrastination

24. Forgetting how to have fun

25. Not listening to good advice :)