5 Things You Think You Know About Life (But Always Get Wrong)

confused woman
Life is basically one long ass experiment that we have to take part in. 70 plus years of trial and error where we all try to do our best to make the most of what we have without killing ourselves in the process.

It’s a fine line.

We all make mistakes. We all walk down certain paths only to realise that we should have turned back a long time ago. It’s ok, it’s just how we learn.

Occasionally the matrix likes to reveal a few truths and if we’re paying attention, get to discover a few ways in which this whole life thing is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Things like…

1. Good things happen when you least expect it

You’ve all heard of The Secret right? That wishy washy movie that tries to tell us that if you wish for something with all your heart and soul then the universe will conspire to make that happen for you; well no it doesn’t quite work like that.

Well, to be honest there is something to the idea that if you do good things for others then over time you will get something back. That is just common sense. People have long memories and I don’t know about you but I remember everyone that has been good to me over the years. I also remember the douchebags too.

Back to my original point, if you sit on your ass and expect the world to owe you a favour then you’re out of luck. The most successful people in any area are always those that worked themselves into the ground to change their life. Yes you can win the lottery but if you’re hanging your hopes on several million to one odds then you deserve to stay where you are.

This also holds true with relationships. Everyone has at some time or another moaned to a friend about being single or not finding their true love. I guarantee you this friend has told you something along the lines of ‘love happens when you least expect it’ or ‘don’t worry, you’ll meet someone just don’t try too hard’.

Sincere advice yes but misguided.

You have to put yourself in that shop window. If you double your social engagements, actively try to make new friends, spend time on improving your look – both physically and the clothes you wear and most importantly, trying to learn from your past mistakes then you are doing all you can.

Bad things happen when you sit at home wishing for a better life.

2. There is an expiry date on everything we do

Society has been designed to trick us into following a set path and if we do anything slightly different then we are deemed as failures. Think about it, we are pressured into getting a degree and then eventually a safe career that will hopefully make us enough money so we can sign away the next 25 years of our life on a mortgage. Renting? That’s for youngsters; you should own a house at your age!

How about marriage and kids? It isn’t so bad for men but women are ready for the scrapheap at 30, well at least that’s what a lot of people feel like when they see their friends settling down and they wonder why it isn’t happening for them.

This is where bad decisions are made.

If we feel like we have a deadline that we can’t meet then there will be mounting pressure to just grab anything just so we can tick that box.

Are you panicking because you are in your late twenties but still aren’t any closer to actually using that degree of yours? It’s ok because you’ve been offered a job in a boring office that pays well and has benefits. Hooray, you’re in a proper career now.

Are all of your friends now married with kids on the way? Don’t worry because that guy you’ve been dating for 6 months is nice enough with a half decent job. He definitely seems marriage material and you could do worse right?

Deadlines or at least the feeling that we must do certain things by a specific arbitrary age will just cause unhappiness in the long run. Never feel pressured to follow a path that isn’t in alignment with your values. It doesn’t matter what your friends are doing and they shouldn’t ever put pressure on you to follow their life path.

You should always be doing the things you want to do, when you want to do them.

3. Having more money will solve all of your problems

We all want more money.

It doesn’t make a difference what your current salary or bank balance is, everyone always wants more than what they have, usually in a belief that this will somehow result in a happier existence.

I mean there is a certain amount of freedom that money can provide. If you were to double you salary then you could go on more holidays or maybe treat yourself to a new car or some better clothes. Sure this is great but what generally happens is that most people, regardless of their income, live to their financial limits.

To put it simply, higher income equals a more expensive lifestyle which in turn will lead to higher expenses and even higher levels of debt.

You’re back to where you started.

If you are struggling to take care of your family because you are unemployed or on a low income then sure, a higher income will make a difference but there is a law of diminishing returns involved here.

Once you’re comfortable, a doubling of your salary won’t actually change anything. At the end of the day you’re still you. This is the thing that some people don’t understand.  We see it all the time with celebrities, rock stars, top level athletes etc. When someone admits that they struggle with depression for example, the general public respond with the same thoughts every time.

“How can they be depressed with millions in the bank?”

Money doesn’t solve problems within. A bigger bank balance can only change your life situation, not who you are as a person. If you’re likely to get into debt on 10k a year then you’ll almost certainly get yourself into debt on 20k a year, or 100k a year.

Addiction, depression, anxiety or anything else that may be troubling you right now cannot be solved with a bigger bank balance.

Money will just amplify the kind of person that you are.

4. Information that comes from an authority is always correct

Most of us have a very simple relationship with information. For example we turn on the news and expect to be told about all the major events that are happening in the world right now. It all looks very professional and what they are saying seems to make sense, so we accept this information and move on.

We certainly don’t question it.

Hell we even spread it.

“Did you see the news earlier? Apparently there is a deadly virus that is ten times as contagious as SARS… do you think we should lock the doors and never go outside again?”

Remember SARS and more recently Swine flu? We were led to believe that these viruses were like the second coming of the Bubonic Plague yet it was all a fuss over nothing and the vast majority of us never personally encountered either illness.

How about news on the internet? We are fooled into thinking that publications have to tell the truth, that if they lie something bad will happen to them. This isn’t the case at all. The Daily Mail website regularly spins information with misleading headlines and actually creates stories out of nothing just to entice readers to its site.

We all like a bit of fiction from time to time, it’s why we lose ourselves in movies and books, but we read the news for facts, not lies. The problem is that sensationalist headlines will inevitably lead to mass social media sharing and before you know it, millions of people have read a fake article and now believe every word.

This spills into our everyday lives also.

Doctors for years have told us not to drink alcohol with antibiotics yet there is absolutely no medical reason why. It’s just a throwback to the old days when medication plus alcohol abstinence was a method of treating (preventing) sexually transmitted diseases.

You’re more sensible when sober, apparently.

It is always better to take any media headlines with a pinch of salt, read them for entertainment but don’t rely on them for facts. Always question any advice given, regardless of where it comes from.

5. There is an ‘us’ and ‘them’

It’s all too easy to view those in lofty positions and instantly decide that they must have something that we mere mortals do not. Maybe a talent they were born with or an upbringing that we could only dream of. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know right?

Most people are guilty of following this train of thought as it’s so easy to do. We see world class athletes performing breath-taking physical feats and compared to us they seem to live on a different plane of existence.  We look at our favourite actors and wonder how they can seemingly slip into different personalities and characters with ease. We are in awe of virtuoso musicians and marvel at how they can captivate thousands of people with just their instrument.

We are just seeing the final product of a lifetimes worth of practice and dedication. That is all.

If we refer back to the start of this article, these are the types of people who take their life by the scruff of the neck and make things happen for themselves. They put in countless hours of practice and study while most of us either put in part time hours or simply sit there moaning about why we can’t do it.

They have no superpowers or hidden tricks. They are all human just like you and I.

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to meet someone famous then you will probably agree how ordinary they look up close. People that seem 7ft tall in movies actually appear short in real life and without the trickery of Photoshop these impossibly attractive women aren’t quite as skinny as we first thought.

The majority of ‘them’ were once just like ‘us’. They grew up in awe of their idols and dreamed that one day they could be part of the same world. The only difference being they actually put one foot in front of the other and moved toward their goals.

Nobody is born into greatness.

It’s earned.


Are there any lessons that you have learned along the way? Share them in the comments below.

About Jamie

Jamie is a guitar teacher and writer who hates the typical 9-5 existence. After quitting his job to enter the world of guitar tuition, he created this blog to document his thoughts and struggles as he takes on societies norms armed with nothing more than his cheeky wit and undeniable charm - Give his Facebook page a like, add him on Twitter or follow his Google+ page and he will repay you with even more awesome words!


  1. Great article
    It is so true how easily we fall into step behind so many misconceptions in life and hold onto them as our own personal mantra

  2. My very best life lesson (or rule to live by) is that there are no failures, only learning…
    Great article, & I especially like your first & last points, about success being something we (a) have to earn, and (b) CAN earn!
    Vanessa recently posted..Have you heard of tapping for anxiety?My Profile

    • Thanks Vanessa, success is a never ending journey, often without an end in sight yet those who keep going will always get further.

  3. Wow, there are some harsh statements in your post. Love it! 🙂

    I’m huge on challenging the norm and living your own life. There is indeed a certain path that society expects you to follow in order to be a “success”.

    I found that when you deviate from what the majority considers as the normal way to live, you start feeling pressure even from close friends and family members. It’s amazing how powerful the social conditioning is…

    So I welcome posts like this one, that shake people a bit. Let’s wake-up folks! Let’s live our OWN lives…

    Cornelius recently posted..How To Make Better DecisionsMy Profile

  4. Interesting article, Jamie. I feel like there are just a lot of preconceived notions out there that we just grow up accepting, only to realize later on life that maybe, just maybe we should look at it a bit closer. Especially number four. I know tons of people who are well old enough to form their own opinions but automatically assume that if someone with ‘authority’ tells them one thing then it makes it law. Unfortunately, life isn’t that perfect and even those with power gets things wrong because they too are trying to figure life out.
    Vincent Nguyen recently posted..The Value of BanteringMy Profile

    • Thanks Vincent, I think the main cause of ignorance in society isn’t due to people being lazy it is more to do with the amount of information that is being fed to them every day. You’re right though, we are all learning!

  5. Hi Jamie,

    I could sum this up by giving it a new title – THE EXACT 5 Things You Think You Know About Life (But Always Get Wrong) 🙂 You did a great post Jamie and you hit the most important points.

    I like this the most “They put in countless hours of practice and study while most of us either put in part time hours or simply sit there moaning about why we can’t do it. They have no superpowers or hidden tricks. They are all human just like you and I.”

    We can make things happen if we truly wake up from the truths of life and learn then act from it.
    Patricia Anderson recently posted..Life Is Good: Mary’s StoryMy Profile

    • Thanks Patricia, it’s true that if you aren’t moving forwards then you are simply going backwards. At least that’s what I think.

  6. The ‘us’ and ‘them’ amuses me too many times, they become the ‘them’ because they do the things that the ‘us’ aren’t willing to do, namely step out of the comfort zone and hit the universe until it makes a dent!

    ‘Money doesn’t solve problems within.’ – Couldn’t agree more, money should be used to serve, not abuse.

    Covered some really important topics here, lovely article!
    Nick Goodall recently posted..Learning To Love FailureMy Profile

  7. I cannot agree more on point no. 4 !
    Sai recently posted..Think Inside the Box!My Profile

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