Life Traps People Fall Into
Today while I was searching for the ever elusive end of the internet instead of working on my writing, I realized that life is full of traps that we’d all be better off avoiding.
My biggest trap by far. I’ve become a mistress of procrastination. The ability to procrastinate is without doubt one of life’s biggest traps. When we procrastinate we know we’re putting off something important so that we can enjoy a little instant gratification rather than buckling down and doing the hard work of finishing a task. For those who can’t seem to get there procrastination under control be sure to check out the Pomodoro Technique!
2. Waiting for Inspiration to Finish Something
Closely related to procrastination, waiting for inspiration before finishing a project is a trap a lot of writers fall into. It’s why some writers take years to finish a book.
They’re waiting for inspiration. Some of the best advice I ran across for my writing was one of Heinlein’s Five Rules – You Must Finish What You Start. And it doesn’t just apply to writing, it applies to everything. Do the walls in your house need painting? Don’t wait for inspiration, go buy a gallon of paint and paint them. Sure, you might have to put a different color on later, but in the meantime at least there painted.
3. Doing Things You Are Supposed To
This is one of those subtle traps. There are some things you’re supposed to do. You must eat. You must sleep. If you’re married you’re supposed to be faithful to your wife. The things I’m talking about are things like college and work and getting roped into doing things that you don’t want to do. Not everyone needs to go to college right out of high school – although in all fairness, it’s extremely difficult to go back later. You don’t have to have a traditional 9-5 job. If you’re willing to put in the work and willing to live on rice and beans for a while, anything is possible. I know a guy who mowed lawns in high school and turned it into a million dollar business by the time he was 25.
4. Sunken Costs
Sticking with something because you have too much invested in it. We all know people who have houses or cars they can’t afford and are so deep in debt they can’t see the light of day. From an outsiders perspective we all know they’d be better off getting rid of the car or house and downsizing their life until they get things under control.
Sure it hurts to let the Porsche go, but it’s better than filing for bankruptcy.
Along the same lines, relationships can fall into this category too. If you’ve been dating someone for five years and the relationship isn’t going anywhere, maybe it’s time to move on. Will it hurt? Probably. Will you be better off?
Without a doubt.
5. Married to The Wrong Person Out of Fear of Being Alone
I’m a firm believer that marriage is forever. What I’m talking about here are the people that get married because they have a fear of being forever single. If you fall into this category, whatever you do don’t get married. If you haven’t learned to be comfortable with yourself then it’s incredibly selfish to expect someone else to be comfortable with you. It’s kind of a cliché but you have to learn to love yourself first.
6. Staying in Your Comfort Zone
Another one of life’s traps. The fear of trying new things paralyzes a lot of us. I remember when my husband and I were dating and he wanted us to take sailing lessons. It sounded so fun at first, and then when we were sitting in class and they told us we’d have to tip the boat over on purpose I almost walked out. What sane person tips a sailboat over? And it definitely wasn’t in my comfort zone.
People stay in their comfort zones because it’s well … comfortable. For me, it was finally putting something up on Amazon to sell. I’d written for years, but the fear of rejection is a big one to overcome. After I’d put some stuff up, I found it was really no big deal.
Want to paint? Take a cross country trip? Go to New York? Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
7. Friends are Forever
For anyone just entering their twenties I have news for you. Friends are rarely for forever. They grow up, get married, have kids, move away. Some never move beyond high school, reliving it for the next fifty or sixty years. Rarely are friends forever.
And seriously? Do you really want to stay in high school forever?
8. Failing to Move Beyond Your Past
Remember me mentioning those people who are still reliving high school? They’re living in their past. The trap I’m talking about here are the people who blame their pasts for their present. If you had a crappy childhood, horrible parents, or were the victim of the mean girl in high school, it’s time to get over it.
This particular trap is a pet peeve of mine. Yes your past may be sad, but don’t let it trap you into making excuses for the mistakes you’re making today. Pick a goal and make it come true.
And remember it’s NOT your parents fault. Don’t buy into the myth that only lucky people make it in life. We all make our own luck.
9. Sales on Things You Don’t Need
I confess I used to fall into this trap. I’d go shopping, come home brimming full of excitement, telling my husband how much I’d saved, and he’d look at me and say something like “Do you really need another pair of shoes?”
His point was that I already had a closet full of ‘sale’ shoes, most I’d never worn, and some I still haven’t. Sales are wonderful for things we need, and for the things we don’t need? Well, let’s just say that it took me a maxed out credit card to figure out what my husband meant when he asked, “How much did you spend?”
Remember – it’s not a sale if you didn’t need it!
10. Believing Things Make You Happy
Busy trying to keep up with your friends or the neighbors? Stop while you still you can. You’ll never to be able to keep up with what they have, and it won’t make you any happier. There’s a reason one of the ten commandments is
“Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Goods”
Moses figured it out. You should too.
11. Taking Life Too Seriously
People who never take time out to enjoy life are just sad. They work long hours, take stuff home with them, and have lots of unused vacation. They make work sixty hours a week, but they almost always end up with broken relationships and kids who can’t stand them.
There is way more to life than work eat sleep. Don’t fall into this trap, life is too short. Take some of those vacation days and take a trip. Spend time with your loved ones. Go sailing.
And leave the cell phone at home!
If you can manage to avoid all of these traps life throws at us I guarantee you’ll be happier for it. If you know any other big traps leave a comment.
Nikki Caine writes spicy romance stories. Check her out on Amazon.