Big Mistakes Some People Make....

Date: 10/23/2006

In my counseling experience I find that there are certain mistakes many people make. These mistakes may prevent them from solving their problems. By being aware of them, you can avoid making these mistakes. 


One big mistake that some people make can be illustrated by the following true story.  About 3 weeks after the beginning of the school year I went to meet my son's first grade teacher.  I arrived at the school when it was recess and the 35 or so children in his class were running around, jumping, playing in the classroom and in the outside area next to it.  The teacher spoke with me for a few minutes and then called out "Okay, everybody sit down!" 

That is all that he did.  Then, all of the children stopped what they were doing and sat down in their seats ready to learn!


I was astonished and asked him "How did you do that?!"

He answered me "It's not one thing I's fifty things I do."


Many of us make the mistake of thinking that there is one thing we can do that will solve a particular problem.  We come to believe that that is all that stands between us and being successful in some particular area.

It may be worthwhile considering if, perhaps, the solution is more multi-faceted. If so, then looking for that one, easy, magical answer may lead to frustration when things don't work out as we would have hoped.

(For example the Mishna in Pirkei Avot lists 48 ways to acquire Torah.)


A second big mistake is the opposite of the first and can be illustrated by this story.  A fellow I know opened a tax consulting business.  He did everything right:  the right location, the right office decor, the right advertising, the right price....and business was--as he put it--"not bad".  However, it was not great and it did not grow like he had hoped it would.

A business consultant he was working with told him that he sees one fault:  He does not come across as having self-confidence.

In other words, sometimes there may be one major factor to solve a problem that a person overlooks while he pursues everything else. 


A third mistake is being passive.  We live in a world of comfort and convenience.  I don't begrudge these to anyone...but they can have an influence on people that discourages them from putting in the needed effort to solve problems and make changes.  People will often "wait for something to happen", or "for circumstances to change",  etc. 

 It is usually a better approach to go and actively do something. 

A subdivision of passivity is "blaming".  This is one of four ways Viriginia Satir lists that people use to avoid dealing with their problems.  In my experience, as well as many others I have spoken to, it is the most common.  And, it may often be an outgrowth of passivity.  The idea is that someone blames another person  or circumstances for his problem.  The implication of this kind of thinking is that the problem has little or nothing to do with himself.  He is therefore not the one responsible to solve it.  Here are some examples of "blaming":

--"I am not successful because I did not have a good education...did not have a good upbringing...there is too much competition in my field...the economy is weak...the government has started to favor the consumer...the weather conditions are not good..." etc.