Emotional Wellbeing


Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

One of the biggest mistakes people make

One of the biggest mistakes people make is meant to make life less stressful. The irony is that the more we make this mistake, the more of a struggle life will be in the long term. It sounds counterintuitive but if you take away and understand this lesson, you will already be ahead of the pack in terms of finding the life you want.

Do less avoidant coping

Avoidance is the biggest mistake people make. If you want to experience less fear, rejection, failure, and other unpleasant emotions, you might use avoidance to cope in life. Avoidant coping works in the short term because we feel safe and avoid what we fear. However, this solution is short-term and soon you will feel fear and be presented with unpleasant feelings again.

It is only through approaching your fears and getting through the experiences that you will learn how to master the tricky side of life. When you push yourself to manage distress you teach yourself that you are resilient. Your brain slowly changes over time and the neural pathways adapt to cope with your newfound bravery.

The ‘bravery network’ in your brain

When you find the courage to go on that date, apply for that job or even leave the job you hate (etc), you will undoubtedly feel discomfort. No one likes uncertainty nor do we enjoy distress. The important thing to remember though is that when you DO, your bravery network in your mind strengthens and every subsequent time you act bravely, you will find it easier. The more you do – the more confident you become! It’s a fact and research has proven this time and time again.

We are hard-wired to avoid anything unpleasant. The biggest mistake people make is to hide away from life and choose comfort. You can’t be successful if you never try new things and live your life. If you don’t want to live with regret and if you want to build and improve your confidence – start ‘attacking’ what you fear.

What have you been putting off?

I’m not going to lie, it’s not always easy to approach what you fear but it’s NON-NEGOTIABLE if you want to grow as a person. How will you ever know what you are capable of if you avoid life and opportunities? If you suffer from chronic depression or anxiety, it might be harder for you to get going as you’ll be starting on the back foot but if you know what you need to do, you can begin by dealing with the mental health issues that hold you back.

You can start at any stage and at any age – one foot in front of the other.

Decide on the next right step

You don’t have to focus on the whole mountain. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to overwhelm themselves with the task ahead. Every task starts with the first small step. What would your next right step be?

Write down what you have been avoiding and then break it down into manageable steps.

For example:

Find a new job – Goal


  1. Find a career aptitude test online to give me some ideas
  2. Google jobs in my area
  3. Update my skills by doing Course X.
  4. Submit CV to at least 3 companies


You can break it down even further but the small steps will increase your confidence.

The Anxiety Equation

We often overestimate our fears and worries such as – It will be too difficult to do, it won’t work, I will fail and so on… We also underestimate how well we will cope and tell ourselves that we won’t cope if we fail. This often isn’t true and we do ourselves a disservice when we talk to ourselves this way.

Change the channel – ask yourself what would be so bad about failing? In my opinion, I would rather try and fail than avoid altogether. Complete avoidance means that I am not making the most of my life. I see life as an adventure full of behavioural experiments. I am happier when I try and learn than when I am left wondering what might happen. of course, when emotions are involved in terms of relationships there is more at stake.

If you have done a risk assessment and have decided something isn’t for you, that’s different to avoiding altogether because of fear. Know the difference.

The bottom-line

Don’t make the mistake of avoiding what you fear. When you have courage and push yourself a little, your confidence will grow. Either – things will go your way – victory! Or it won’t (shit happens) BUT you will find that it’s not as bad as you thought it would be. You will pick yourself up, feel disappointment for a while but you will still have your life, your comfortable bed and life will go on.

Shift your thinking and see life as an adventure for you to test. Make friends with failure – I see them as successes in many ways although I would prefer for everything to go my way!

Accept that life is up and down but congratulate yourself if you are living life and are plugged into the energy of life!

Mandy X


PS. here’s to more failures and successes!!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash