How We Stumble: 6 Mistakes of Man

The great Roman orator Cicero (106-43 B.C.) offered these “Six Mistakes of Man”–six habits of thinking that keep us a prisoner of ever-shrinking patterns. Who doesnít share some of these? Find out what mistakes you share, and without self-blame and judgment, gently fix them and move into a life of more meaning and love.

1. The illusion of personal gain. To begin with, the seesaw thinking that elevates personal gain as a result of crushing others betrays the infinite sense of things. It presumes that life and its resources are finite, that there isnít enough to go around, and therefore we can only secure our piece of the pie at the expense of others.

2. The tendency to worry. When we tend to worry about things beyond our control, which is common, we are struggling with the lack of faith in the stream of life. This can lead us to a negative self-centeredness that adheres to a false sense of responsibility for everything.

3. Insisting that things are impossible. Because we cannot accomplish something, to say that it is impossible is easier than to admit our own limitations. This sort of world-in-a-thimble thinking prohibits our ability to learn anything new. It prevents us from growing or being refreshed.

4. Trivial preferences. It is clear that one constricting view leads to another, and when we refuse to put down our trivial preferences, we make smallness and self-centeredness a way of life.

5. Neglecting the refinement of the mind. (And the heart.) This is a way to choose the unexamined life over a receptive, listening journey. It is a way to stay in hiding, to choose unconscious living over mindfulness, heartfulness, and awareness.

6. Compelling others. And finally, when attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do, we fall into the ever present trap of conviction.

Adapted from Facing the Lion, Being the Lion, by Mark Nepo (Conari Press, 2007). Copyright (c) 2007 by Mark Nepo. Reprinted by permission of Conari Press.
Adapted from Facing the Lion, Being the Lion, by Mark Nepo (Conari Press, 2007).


Walt Prettyman
Walt Prettyman9 years ago

No.1 To attain personal gain by crushing others comes from a small insecure brain, or a sadist.
No.2 I agree somewhat, but there are tragic events that can cause you worry about everything.At times it takes years or decades to live with it.
No.3 Nothing is impossible when you believe you can do it.
No.4 Trivial preference is for trivial minds.
No.5 Refine your heart and mind, see life
No.6 Compelling others? thats what priests and politicians do. Most of the herd cannot think for themselves

Bill Zitterkopf
Bill Zitterkopf10 years ago

Thanks. All these things are very simple, but true. Sometimes we get too much into being intellectual instead of just keeping it real and simple. Listening, learning and meeting others where they are is wonderful. Have a great day.

Eve Le Guellec
Eve Clemencet10 years ago

" Mindfulness, heartfulness, and awareness" : who wouldn't want to stive for those as a way to self-fulfilment and, resulting from that , more to give others , and more sense of belonging to he universe ?
Thanks for the insights into ways of getting away from the blindness of self-centeredness.

Darren Ch'ng
Darren C10 years ago

These underlying attitudes are life-sapping indeed. Thanks for the wisdom.

Gershon M.


Ericka o.
Ericka o10 years ago

3. I think that things arent imposible, cause look at this everythings is posible today and we have to have hope, nothing is imposible!! or like nike says: imposible is nothing!!

Adam Funk
Adam Funk10 years ago

Thanks, players! I needed that bit of wisdom.

Marlis Kelleher
Marlis Kelleher10 years ago

Those are very true statements and really worthy of thinking about ,and looking at one self and finding the right way with out pushing our ways on others , Thank you

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K10 years ago

the key to being able to overcome these points raised is never mentioned for one reason or other. This key is found in the realm of knowing and living your life according to the 7 natural laws.

Orlando Tribaco
Orlando Tribaco10 years ago

It's true, I myself had experience this kind of things which I find very destructive. Thank you very much for this kind of topic which very helpful.