A Short, Incomplete List of the Things I’ve Done Wrong

1. I spent 6 years in call centres, from about 19 to 25, doing nothing with my life. Looked like shit, felt like shit. No achievements or lasting happiness whatsoever.

2. I believed that I could do everything I wanted alone, without a support structure. I believed in willpower instead of putting systems in place that would help me.

3. I was really anxious about calling my grandmother for a while. She’s 101 if you can believe it. Now I call her every three or four days. So much better. She told me last week that it really meant a lot to her that I called.

4. I am really bad at opening my mail. Like embarrassingly bad. Bills go unpaid, interest piles up. It’s sad.

5. For years I was constantly late, or no-show, to tons of appointments I had with friends or family. Then I would lie about it afterwards. I did this for years. Eventually I realized that no one believed my bullshit. I started respecting people’s time, but it took way too long.

6. While we wrote our first book together, my co-author Chris was blogging and meeting people every day. He became super huge as a result of it. By avoiding his regimen, I slowed my progress by like 2 years at least. Only now am I actually recovering. Huge waste.

7. When I was about 18 years old, I got a branding done– permanent scarification– for no particular reason. This isn’t a big deal but I can’t think of why I did it now, 14 years later. I’m going to get it covered with more tattoos eventually.

8. I quit art school at around age 19 to pursue a dot-com job. My dream then was to become a sculptor. That waited another 10 years to get started again, now I do some on the side and I’m learning to draw again. You know that thing they say, “youth is wasted on the young”? It’s totally true.

9. I didn’t really take care of my first dog when I was a kid. My mom ended up having to do it, pretty much, because nobody else did. We didn’t obedience train him either. There was a lot we could have done better. He had an ok life but deserved a better one.

10. I haven’t yet learned to cook, really, even though I’m better now than I ever have been. It only really started when I had to count calories. I actually spent ten years as a vegetarian without learning to cook. Imagine. What did I eat? I still have no idea. Very glad to be eating meat now though.

11. There were girls that I really liked back in the day that I had no courage to make a move on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy with my girlfriend and everything, but it took me years to figure out that a girl wants you to make the move, not the other way around.

12. Every time I see somebody I respect, I never walk up to them. I’m always too shy. In reality, walking up and breaking the ice is always better because then you get to say hi (in a non-awkward way) the second time.

13. Hey guess what? None of this matters.

Life isn’t made up of the things you did wrong. It’s made of the things you did right.





40 responses to “A Short, Incomplete List of the Things I’ve Done Wrong”

  1. Jon Husband Avatar
    Jon Husband

    Such an authentic post. No doubt everyone has some kind of similar list, but at least you are funky enough to put it out there .. for our benefit as well as yours. Thanks.

  2. Ryan Avatar

    Love number 13 at the end, gonna keep saying that next time I get in an argument with my wife…

    1. Julien Avatar

      Whoops, still adding some so your numbering might be off. πŸ™‚

  3. Adam Dukes Avatar

    Awesome! Love your writing style and really like this list. Can I relate to #5! It really has me thinking, too. I need to change that. I hate when people do it to me, why do I do it to others?

    Thank you for this and all your other posts

  4. Ricardo Bueno Avatar

    Heh, nice punchline with #13. Seriously though, it took me a while to figure that one out. (How dwelling on the past and on your screw-ups doesn’t matter). Doing that just limits (or slows down) your progress.

  5. Maria Avatar

    I think life is made up of both the things we do right and wrong. It’s just that when the wrong things have no strong consequences…then they don’t really make a difference (unlike the good things that almost always make a difference!).

    E.g., if someone does something super wrong, and goes to jail for 10 years as a result…Then that does make a big difference in his life. Bu if he does something a little bit wrong, and just has to pay a $100 fine as a result…then that does not matter at all!

  6. Yukari Peerless Avatar

    I love you and I always love your honest posts. Thanks for writing this.

  7. Chris Burdge Avatar

    1. I waited 46 years to start my own business. And you’re right – now, that doesn’t matter.

    Everyone should do a cathartic post like this – thank you for starting it. Now I’m going to call my 91 year old grandmother.

  8. victor Avatar

    oh my god…!!! can’t believe i’ve found your blog…
    this is gonna help me immensely!!!

  9. Momekh Avatar

    Somebody’s definitely back. πŸ™‚

    Agree with Chris, everyone should do a cathartic post like this.

  10. Esther van der Wal Avatar

    This is one of the few posts of yours lately that I really like and can relate to – because you’re real. No unnecessary swearing or pushing, just you being a vulnerable human being. Bless you for that.

  11. Jon L. Avatar
    Jon L.

    This. Julien I love your blog. We’ve been friends for years and I keep coming back to your writing over and over again. While you might consider these as miss-steps, #13 is bang on. And besides, you wouldn’t be such an inspiring person were it not for 1-12 ;).


    1. Julien Avatar

      Wow, thanks man. That means a lot coming from you.

  12. Liana Shane's Avatar

    Such a great reminder. Thanks for being you Julien!

  13. David Avatar

    I really admire your ability to write. You have a way with telling stories that always have a subtle meaning. Thank you for what you do.

  14. LBL Avatar

    Message received, heard, and sinking in. As someone who beats herself up way too much, I needed to see this today. Thank you.

  15. Valeria Maltoni Avatar

    It’s made of the things you did. Period. Judgment is a separate conversation πŸ˜‰

  16. Roger Perez Avatar
    Roger Perez

    So many interesting comments in response to your latest entry all I can say is … Well done and Thank you for helping me reflect on the things I’ve done, failed to do and hope to do.

  17. Sweeney Avatar

    Being 22.. number #1 made me feel a lot better.

    With that being said.. Time to get my ass moving so I don’t stretch this out to 25..

    #2 is a big realization I’ve made, and been correcting recently.

  18. Denise Avatar

    So, glad you’re writing here again. I have really appreciated your last two essays. All any of us can do is acknowledge what we don’t like, decide if it’s worth it to do something about it, and if it is, we have to make a plan to change it.

    The biggest things I’ve done wrong were spending way too many years trying to gain the approval of people who will never approve of me, worrying about what everybody thought of me, and regretting all the things I didn’t do. All things worth doing something about. My life is better as I let go and move on.

    Thanks for making me contemplate this. Great rest of the day to you.

  19. JohnAtl Avatar

    Sounds like you have been living life and doing well at it. The expression, “Live and learn” is quite true.
    I have to disagree with your last sentence, “Life isnÒ€ℒt made up of the things you did wrong. ItÒ€ℒs made of the things you did right.” Life is made up of everything we do, or don’t do. My whole life has led me to this point of sitting here and writing this message.

    No one begins life with all the answers, life is a process. It’s a journey, not a destination. We make mistakes, hopefully learn from them, and continue on.
    I spent 26 years in a comfortable job that did not challenge me. When I was laid off, I realized what a mistake that was. Now at 48 years old I’m a senior in college with plans to pursue a PhD and create awesome prosthetics for disabled people. One of my friends told her friend, “I’ll be 50 years old when I finish my Masters.” Her friend told her, “You’ll be 50 anyway.” Sage advice.
    I enjoy your posts very much.
    Good job. Carry on. πŸ™‚

  20. Kevin Behringer Avatar

    Man, number 12 just punched me right in the gut because it was so dead on how I am. Great post. Glad you’re back to daily writing!


  21. Claudia Avatar

    …and yet it DOES matter…our incomplete lists complete us in so many ways…we are who we are because of the “mistakes” we’ve made. I love your writing. Your list could have gone on to number 8,322 and it would have still held my interest.


  22. Marjorie Clayman Avatar

    Well, for all of that, you are one of the people I respect most out of all the people I have met in the online world (and that’s a lot of peeps!).

    Oh, wait, no. I know the right response to this one…”What?!? I thought you were PERFECT!!!” πŸ™‚

    Have a great weekend, awesome fella.

  23. Barry Morris Avatar

    Like the others who’ve commented, I also appreciate the transparency in your writing. It’s a good reminder that it’s not a requirement to have our lives figured out to live effectively.

  24. Naomi Avatar

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your website/blog Julien!
    You are a total star, no bullshit, always such a pure, honest account of life, love and positivity. So happy I stumbled across your site, keeps me happily amused and on track! Thank you πŸ™‚
    Hippy vibes to you in abundance and i so look forward to your updates.

  25. Kyle Avatar

    Julien, it was so nice to read this.

    I feel like your passion for your work often makes you come across as someone who’s got it all worked out. It was very refreshing to realise i’m not alone.

    Being 24 myself, you points about wasting time have really hit home.

  26. Jo-Anne Avatar

    Yeah none of it matters can’t live in the past only in the here and now

  27. Dan Avatar

    I liked the list until the last line. Life isn’t made of the the things you did, right or wrong. It’s made of the things you’re doing now.

  28. Jules Avatar

    This is moving. I always read your blog entry in my mail and just went here to leave a comment. Please continue writing. It inspires a lot of people. πŸ™‚

  29. Ken Avatar

    Although I’m guilty of living in the past, I like the #14. = )

  30. Christian M. Lyons Avatar

    I read this list with interest…and learned that there is not one thing on it that you ever did “wrong.” It might not have been an ideal set of choices, but every single one of them led you to this moment in time, and created an atmosphere in which you could write this post to guide others in their journey through life. Grace Jones quoted Edith Piaf quite eloquently once: Use your faults, use your defects. Then you’re going to be a star.

  31. Dave Avatar

    Hell yes! Good medicine for a Saturday…that’s when I read it anyway.

  32. verna Avatar

    I have gone to college and got a completely worthless BFA.
    I had a short career as licenced hairstylist and makeup artist- did stained glass to put myself through cosmetology school in one year, and THEN carelessly let it lapse but still cut people’s hair, just not enough people.
    I started a hat business that I spent 9 pre-computer years building up and chickened out on finding a backer and a factory. Started a jewelry, bag, and accessory business and did not stick it out. Likewise for the stained glass. I am a great cook and actually ran the kitchen of a small catering company before the stress gave me panic attacks. My boy friend who owned that company fired me because he thought I was unprofessional. Then I did a shitload of retail and at 61 am looking at separation and joblessness in the eye. I open all mail the second it comes in and dispatch it to the desk or recycle bag, but lately, I have not been paying so fast. Running out of cash will do that to you.
    It’s not that I lack talent, it’s that I lack a passion for any one thing.

  33. camila prada Avatar

    I will never unsubscribe from your newsletter. Never freaking ever.

  34. Kristi Avatar

    <3 you Julien, thank you so much for writing this

  35. Marion Avatar

    I love your blog so much, it makes me feel good πŸ™‚

  36. Chirag Deshpande Avatar

    If I were to write a list of my own, it’d be pretty much the same. I could really connect to it.

  37. fdfkjads Avatar

    I absolutely LOVE #13

  38. Jimmy Avatar

    Alright this post got me to subscribe…i love my dog, she melts my heart with them big ol eyes shes got (pug)…..love the shit outta that dog, and shes just a pup too

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