10 Mistakes High Achievers Never Make Twice Success requires always learning from new mistakes.

By Barrett Wissman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hero Images | Getty Images

Success does not happen by itself. It is a long and arduous process. Influence and impact are part of a marathon, not a sprint. It is easy to look at successful people around us, though, and make excuses for why they have accomplished so much. We can write it off as luck or raw talent. While there are some people who might have inherited significant wealth or ended up in the right place at the right time, all high achievers have had to work for what they have. They have all failed, struggled and, importantly, persevered.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of influential people is that they learn from their mistakes . They reflect on their shortcomings and errors in order to be better the next time around. This happens across their entire life, but here are 10 mistakes, specifically, that the best people never make twice.

1. Trying to change someone else.

You cannot change another person. You can offer them different ideas, perspectives, or opportunities and they might use those as a means of growth. Fundamentally changing someone, though, cannot happen. They have to decide to change for themselves.

The highest achievers realize this and stop trying. They do not exert significant effort and thought into changing another person. Whether this is a loved one, a friend or an employee, it is an important lesson to realize. When there are characteristics of another person that drive you crazy, you can tell them that, but there is often not much you can do to fundamentally change them. Instead, the best people tend to take those facts about others as a given and they make decisions accordingly.

Related: He Went From Dead Broke to Millionaire Because He Just Wouldn't Stop Trying

2. Do the same thing expecting different results.

It is madness to try the same thing and expect a different outcome. The best people have realized this. When they fall short, they evaluate why and change their approach. They do not make excuses for their shortcoming and rationalize taking the same actions again. Instead, they save significant time and energy, plus they succeed more frequently, by trying new things.

Related: 11 Ways Successful People Deal With People They Don't Like

3. Focusing entirely on the short term.

Anyone who has committed to strictly short-term thinking knows the consequences. Despite the instantaneous benefits and gratification, it will bite you later. The best people know to think long-term. They are able to exercise a vision and employ it. They stay patient and it leads to higher levels of sustained success.

Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People

4. Trust someone even when their head and heart say otherwise.

Our gut instinct about people tends to be true. The fact that many others might like someone does not mean you are compatible with them.

This does not make them a bad person, but the best people are keenly aware when they do not trust or want to work with another person. Instead of convincing themselves otherwise, they accept it. It saves them the pain or issues that could arise from a collaboration.

Related: Habits of the World's Wealthiest People (Infographic)

5. Skimp on research before making an important choice.

Making an important decision without understanding the impact and ramifications is a big mistake. This could be with an investment, with a friendship, accepting a job or moving to a new city. The best people have learned to do the necessary research before making important choices. They do not rely on just one source of information or one other person's opinion. They, instead, weigh all of the factors and take into account their own circumstance and preferences.

Related: Consider These 5 Factors Before Making Your Next Big Decision

6. Blame everyone else.

High achievers have learned not to point fingers . Doing so does not accomplish anything productive except for a bit of an ego bump. Even when others are in the wrong, the top people do not waste their energy blaming them. They, instead, try and solve the situation at hand. When they personally fall short, they are also able to take accountability. This allows them to improve over time and not tie their actions as close to their ego as many do.

Related: Don't Blame Others -- Learn From Their Mistakes

7. Be someone they are not.

Acting like someone you are not is a mistake. It decreases happiness and can cause you to go against your moral code. It leads you down a path that is not true to yourself. High achievers are able to accomplish so much because they have sustained energy. They are doing what they love, day in and day out. That enables them to work hard for long periods of time.

In the short run, it is possible to accomplish a lot without being true to yourself. As time goes on, though, it takes a toll. The best people do their own thing and benefit greatly because of it.

Related: Recognize People for Who They Are, Not Who You Want Them to Be

8. Failing to document efforts or results.

It is important to document successes, failures and results. For one, it provides a meaningful way to reflect. You can look at past results to learn more about yourself and the world. Your actions are very informing, and reflecting upon them can better align future decision making. Looking at tangible past accomplishments is also a great way to gain energy. In the struggles of everyday life, it is easy to get jaded. Being able to look at your achievements can remind you why you have been working hard.

In addition, documenting past results will prepare you to talk about them in the future. Whether this is on a resume, in a job application, or even on a date, being able to discuss things you have done in the past is extremely valuable.

Related: What You Can't Document Could Hurt You

9. Spending time with bad people.

The best people have a time in their lives when they realize that they need to be more thoughtful about their friends. We are the average of the five people we surround ourselves with the most. Time tracking is key. When others are dragging you down, you will be much less successful. The best people have realized this. Although it is challenging to take a step back from friendships, there are beneficial long-term impacts.

Related: Stop Spending Time With Toxic People

10. Afraid of taking a risk.

Every high achiever has had to take risks in their life. It is one of the only ways to stand out from others. Successful people have learned that playing cautiously does not work. Instead, they embrace risk and are willing to take chances in order to leave an impact as well as improve their own life.

Wavy Line
Barrett Wissman

Chairman of IMG Artists and Principal in Two Pillar Management

Barrett Wissman is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and concert pianist. He is chairman of IMG Artists, a performing-and-cultural arts entertainment business, and a principal in Two Pillar Management, which represents and partners with social media brands, influencers and celebrities.

Editor's Pick

'Catastrophic': Here's What You Should Know About the Debt Ceiling Crisis — And How a Default Could Impact Your Business
I Helped Grow 4 Unicorns Over 10 Years That Generated $18 Billion in Online Revenues. Here's What I've Learned.
Want to Break Bad Habits and Supercharge Your Business? Use This Technique.
Don't Have Any Clients But Need Customer Testimonials? Follow These 3 Tricks To Boost Your Rep.
Why Are Some Wines More Expensive Than Others? A Top Winemaker Gives a Full-Bodied Explanation.

Related Topics


The Real Reason Why The Return to Office Movement is Failing is Revealed in New Study

There is a vivid sign of the disconnect between employees and their workplace, a glaring indication that companies need to revise their scripts to improve their hybrid and remote work policies.

Money & Finance

3 Ways to Create Multiple (Big) Streams of Income

Here are three ways to create multiple streams of income. These strategies require effort and resources but offer significant financial potential.

Business News

Raccoon Adorably Orders A Donut From Dunkin' Drive Thru: 'Little Gentleman'

The hilarious clip has garnered over 21.3 million views on TikTok.

Business News

7 of the 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in the U.S. Are in One State

A new report by U.S. News found that San Diego is the most expensive city to live in for 2023-2024, followed by Los Angeles. New York City didn't even rank in the top 10.

Business News

As CEOs Head to China, Elon Musk Hailed as 'Global Idol' and Treated to 16-Course Dinner

Elon Musk, Jamie Dimon and Laxman Narasimhan are all in town for separate business matters.


9 Strategies to Help Your Employees Find Their Purpose (Or Watch Them Leave)

Purpose-driven organizations seemed like a foreign concept for many. Today, it is the key for businesses that want to stay competitive.