The #1 Way to Avoid Unnecessary Pain in Life

“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?

Health:

1. Smoking

2. Excessive drinking

3. Poor diet

4. Drug-taking

5. Failing to exercise

Financial:

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

Relationships:

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

Career:

16. Poor presentation/ personal hygiene

17. Not being proactive

18. Laziness

19. Blaming others

20. Doing something they hate for a living

Life:

21. Dangerous driving

22. Negative thinking

23. Endless procrastination

24. Forgetting how to have fun

25. Not listening to good advice :)

14 thoughts on “The #1 Way to Avoid Unnecessary Pain in Life”

  1. Great article…”common sense does not necessarily translate to common practice” is very true. This is a great little list to chew on for a few minutes.

  2. Super nice.. You inspired me to make a “to do list” just now.. And one of the lines says “No procrastination” so I better get going. :D

    Really nice article. No reason to have more pain in ones life than what is neccesary to feel good.

  3. Really nice article. There are some things (especially in the relationship section) that you probably don’t cherish until they’re threatened or lost. I guess that goes for everything in the list, health or your job for example.

  4. Lesley: yes, it seems I am a classic case of someone who learns their biggest life lessons from painful mistakes. And I am sure there will be pain to come in my future. However, I am a lot more aware now than in the past of the potential consequences my actions may have. For example, I watched one of my best friends go through a divorce last year and that is something I never want to experience. When I think about why the marriage broke down, I can clearly identify some ways in which my friend acted that contributed towards the outcome of divorce. I intend never to make those same mistakes. And that may sound obvious, but I think many people just ignore those types of messages because they are unconsciously drifting through life.

  5. Yes but experiencing pain in your life can be a great motivation to change too. Let’s face it – if someone had told you before you did a dumb thing in your life not to do it would you listen or would you find out for yourself? Most of us needed to go through some pain to find out what we didn’t want. If I fester over all the dumb things I have done in my life I would be dperessed but always you can see some lesson or some benefit that came out of it. My biggest regret is that in the process you sometimes hurt others, and I wish that didn’t happen but once you realise you can affect others by what you do you tend to think twice before you do something. I guess knowledge is one thing but wisdom is putting what you know into practice so that it becomes real. It is all a big learning curve but beating up on yourself too much doesn’t help either. The fact that we are all talking about it is a great sign.

  6. Hi Peter, GREAT tips for ALL the different areas of life! Congrats on your healing from depression. I have healed myself of chronic pain and illnesses and know how good it feels to come out on the other side! GREAT blog and I will be checking out a lot more of your articles! Jenny

  7. Mesila,

    Interesting comment. Perhaps I should have said “drug abuse.” I agree that marijuana can add value to the lives of some people. Personally, it makes me fall asleep.

    Peter :)

  8. Agree with most of this…but why is it “excessive drinking” that’s bad, but ALL drug-taking is?

    I do not agree here. Though one should regulate their use, I think marijuana can actually be good for some people. I had a rare eating disorder from age 3, a total aversion to food, which it cured me of, once I became an adult.

    It’s one of my favourite pleasures in life; taking it away would just decrease the quality, not increase it.

  9. “The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret”

    This quote of yours has changed mine life. i am using it take decisions in moments of temptations and i am willing to pay the price of discipline.

  10. Your articles are very inspiring and right on target. How did you get so smart in just 25 years? Unfortunately, I needed to be reminded of a few in the relationship department. Unfortunately, I am 60 years old and in a bad relationship that should have ended years ago. I urge others to be very careful in choosing a mate. I think people have become more savvy about looking out for themselves than used to be and you are helping. Keep writing!!

  11. Wow, the section on the relationships was 5 for 5 when it comes to my problems I had with my ex. Everything listed there was checked, resulting in copious amounts of mental and emotional stress, and inevitably, pain.
    1.Accept your partner for who they are,
    2. Appreciate them for who they are,
    3. Make sure dialogue is always open and ready,
    4. Don’t force things to happen if they can’t, and
    5. NEVER become a slave to how you feel.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top