The Seven Major Beginner Mistakes

Baby Mistakes

Starting anything new involves mistakes. Tons of them, if you plan on being good. Although you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, there are a few that often go ignored. These mistakes accompany the first phase of anything and it is easy to repeat them in everything new that you do.

I don’t claim to be immune to these mistakes. Actually, I think it is simply because I have made these mistakes myself so frequently that I’ve begun to recognize them. I believe they come up simply by virtue of the forces that cause you to start something new. Unintended side effects of motivation, breaking out of your comfort zone or ignorance.

1) Expecting Too Much, Too Early

Motivation is necessary to start anything new. But the downside of this motivation is that you also become impatient. The more you care about reaching a particular goal, the more distress you feel when feedback indicates you aren’t going to make it.

I’ve made this mistake dozens of times before. When I first started blogging, I had dreams of wealth and grandeur. What I started with was a few page views a day and later a couple cents from AdSense. That’s a mighty big gap to bridge when your enthusiasm is high.

Long-term goals are great, but it’s the next-step goals that really matter. When you obsess about being perfectly fit and toned, earning a thousand dollars a day or finding the perfect relationship you can’t focus on what’s ahead of you. Especially if what’s ahead looks nothing like the final destination.

2) Too Much Knowledge

More correctly, too much false knowledge. A good 80% of learning is simply un-learning all the things that turned out to be wrong. It’s taken me a great deal of practice to realize that the solutions I currently have are probably wrong. And the correct solutions are far off in the distance.

It isn’t a sin to say, “I don’t know.” Although this sounds like a problem more common with beginners, it is even more common with people who have achieved some status and are starting on a new level.

I’m privileged enough to have a journal that has recorded my highly erroneous predictions. The one thing it has taught me is to be humble and look for opportunities rather than assumptions.

3) Overplanning, Under-doing

It’s scary to start something new. Especially if there are actual risks involved. But corresponding with the first and second mistake, a lot of planning in the beginning is useless. The only things that are important are the rough idea and the next step. You are probably wrong in most of your plans, so getting all the details straight is a waste of time.

4) Too Few Experiments

How do you know what will work? Testing new possibilities instead of just guessing gives you actual results. It’s easy to prejudge an idea and fail to explore it. Sometimes your original hypothesis will be right, other times it will be dead wrong.

When I commented that I exercised almost daily, many people informed me that this was bad. But after testing both options I found the daily exercise to give better results.

5) Being Wrong Too Long

A lot of self-help is concerned with people giving up too early. In my opinion, people are just as likely to give up too late. There are good times to quit and bad times. I like to look at all long-term projects and goals I have almost like relationships. From this perspective, passion, compatibility and quality experiences are just as important (or more) than end results.

6) Making Simple Endeavors Complex

Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated. I’d argue that success in most areas depends on doing a few key areas well and a lot of luck. But if you’re impatient and aren’t careful you can get caught up on distractions. There aren’t any secrets, and doing well in most things is fairly obvious.

7) Failing to Attack From All Angles

All areas of life are interdependent. Relationships influence business, influencing health which influences relationships. If your focus is too narrow, it is easy to look at a problem as fitting into only one category. This cuts off many opportunities which may appear in different areas of life.

As an example, if you were trying to improve your career, looking only through the lens of work isn’t that helpful. Relationship networks, energy you get from a healthy body, stress relieved from a fun life or a financial cushion to support you in job changes can all help.

I’ve found it is best to focus on all areas of life more or less simultaneously and simply look for connections where you can draw benefits from one area over to another. Life isn’t lived in facets, but a whole.

  • Rajnish Kumar

    Thank u for your really inspiring article on biggner’s mistake i am a software developer i got a task now to learn a new langauge and do programming in that. For this i overplanned and under-doing how should i rectify my this mistake give me some of your insight on similler problem

  • Bill

    Very Practical advice, thanks. Everyone wants to make everything sound so easy, it can be easy to get down if results aren’t evident right away.
    I bet my email has a few of those make $1,000 a day messages in it.
    Making progress Without trying to be perfect is good instruction.

  • jim redmond

    All I know is this information should be stamped on our foreheads. I have used bits and pieces but never in the total form that you have laid out for us. thanks again for your insight and your simplistic view of success. jimir

  • Linda

    Isn’t this so true. everything is in the details. sometimes that means goal will be delayed due a step that was passed by.

  • lrembo

    visualizing the end result is grand but getting there is the journey and how much fun you had on the way.

  • David Egginton

    This is largely the result of most of us learning by trial and error, with on-line training being woefully inadequate.

    Speaking for myself, I would welcome a group of mentors who answered the question they were asked and managed not to introduce complicated irrelevances. If only we could all KEEP IT SIMPLE

  • David Tupica

    Very nice article. It reminds me of a great saying by one of my favorites, Mr. Jim Rohn, “Most people over-estimate what they can do in their first year, and greatly underestimate what they can do in five years”. The toughest part of any endeavour is just getting started. Then one must alway be testing and analyzing to grow your business forward. Mistakes should not be feared, as they just add to the data collected to help move you forward.

  • Jennie

    Great advice! Thanks so much.

  • Scott Young

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!

  • Theresa Cahill

    Good Morning Scott!

    You’re an up-n-at-it-early kind of guy… 5:35 a.m. – I can barely see straight at that time of the day LOL!

    The entry that catches my eye (they all do, but this one the most) is:

    “6) Making Simple Endeavors Complex – Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated. I’d argue that success in most areas depends on doing a few key areas well and a lot of luck. But if you’re impatient and aren’t careful you can get caught up on distractions. There aren’t any secrets, and doing well in most things is fairly obvious.”

    There are so many self-proclaimed individuals out there swearing there are secrets to this and that when common sense dicates that the basics are always basic. The trouble comes when a person, alone and working hard, has to cover lots of ground … consistently.

    Working in fits and starts returns only fits and starts results.

    Also, many things done (especially online) are not difficult, but fall into the time-consuming arena. There are only so many hours of the day, and the need to still maintain a life offline 🙂

    And, as you state, luck plays a huge role… being in the right places at the right times doing the right thing, consistently.

    As always I enjoyed my visit and look forward to your next insights!

  • kenneth daniels

    I’m guilty of overplanning & undersoing which boils down to procrastination for me. Thanks for the article