The 6 Most Detrimental Life Decisions You Can Make, According To Experts

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Woman making decisions about her life, chess board

A detrimental decision holds you back and puts you at a disadvantage. It's like a speed bump to slow you down, a wrong turn you notice way too late and have to backtrack from, or a full-on wall you can't climb, go around or go under, and only leaves you with the choice to start over from the beginning.

Yet, we don't get a replay of life, no way to reset us back to day one, so we must be cautious about our approach to major life choices when they appear.

Some of the most detrimental decisions are based on other people's opinions about what is best for us. But, the decision is ours and ours alone to make.

These are the decisions we need to look deep into ourselves before we let someone else, be they a friend, parent, mentor, acquaintance, blogger, or a stranger influence our life choices.

Life is challenging, decisions are sometimes impossible, and outside interference in our choices will always cause issues down the road, be they speed bumps or insurmountable walls someone else built.

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Here are the 6 most detrimental life decisions you can make, according to experts:

1. Falling into the parent trap

I often hear clients lamenting, “My parents pushed me into law to join the family firm,” or “They insisting on teaching for job stability,” and even “They’d only support my education if I studied engineering.”

You’ll spend 80,000 hours at work throughout your life. Few things are more damaging to your career than being stuck in an ill-suited job you hate or living a life of regret and unhappiness. Your parent’s well-intentioned advice may not align with the present-day labor market realities or your true passions and talents. Your opinion matters most, and your career decisions should reflect who you are and the kind of life you want to lead. Not just fulfill your parents’ expectations or dreams.

Don’t fall into the “parent trap.” Make your life your own.

—​ Lisa Petsinis, Career and Life Coach, ACC

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2. Letting judgment take the wheel

The most detrimental decisions we make are those driven by judgment and conclusion.

We are born seekers who enter this world open to discovery and expression. Too quickly, we are taught to judge and make conclusions about what it means to behave a certain way. This is conditioning. It’s not inherent.

There is value in being discerning. There are limitations and destruction in judgment and conclusion. As soon as we decide without inquiring into the reason and meaning of behavior, we set in motion a cascade of damage that looks like bigotry, shame, blame, guilt, resentment, separation, and a complete lack of love.

Inquiry MUST come first. Inquiry must come without looking for the answer we want or expect. Instead, we must discover and be informed by what we did not know. This awareness is the great gift of surprise, joy, and co-creation. This is the true gift of life.

Conclusion and judgment are the polar opposite and will always be your most detrimental decisions.

Larry Michel, AKA: The Love Shepherd, Relationship Restoration Coach and, Founder: Institute of Genetic Energetics

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3. Finding your meaning in the road map others draw

To accept whatever you are told about yourself. Just because someone else says it doesn't mean it's true! You have the right and ability to define who you are, to change what you don't like, and to leave situations or relationships that don't serve you.

There is no one on this Earth who "always does this" or "never does that"; don't accept any label that isn't authentic to your vision of yourself.

—​ Amy Bracht, Certified Life Coach

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4. Finding the right turn for the wrong intersection

Bad decisions come when we don't solve the right problem. This comes when we accept opinions over facts. In problem-solving, it means not getting to the root cause. Understanding the problem means defining it so you can explain it to yourself.

Having trouble deciding can be caused by several factors, such as fear of failure, a lack of confidence, or insufficient information. Indecisiveness can also be a symptom of mental health conditions.

The biggest decision one can make is who you marry. Many lives have been destroyed by choosing the wrong person to marry. It put them in financial ruin, and they endured incredible abuse and PTSD.

Do not get married to be rescued. You will not be rescued by marriage, but you will usually become unhappy and waste many years spent arguing and being put down, lowering your self-worth and stealing productive energy.

Nothing is worse than psychological, physical, or emotional abuse. Don’t think an impressive roof over your head will bring joy. It will bring fake friends and stress unless it’s an authentic relationship.

Marriage is a spiritual union and the biggest business decision you’ll ever make. Your partner can bring you down or lift you financially, creatively, and emotionally. Choose wisely.

— Maitry Joshi, Health Care Consultant

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5. Saying "Go faster!" at a yellow light

Perhaps the most detrimental decision you can make is to marry someone who doesn’t share your life vision and isn’t compatible, or worse someone who lies, cheats, or abuses you in any way.

Sometimes, people are influenced by lust so they jump into relationships without knowing the other person well. Sometimes, people are unaware of what they truly need in a lasting relationship, and they unconsciously choose partners and repeat old patterns that don’t serve them.

Making a hasty or unconscious partner choice can set you up for a lifetime of discontent and discord. You don’t want to live with emotional upheaval, financial instability, and unresolved conflict. You want a partner who is on your team and supportive through whatever challenges you face together.

Rather than making a detrimental decision that can lead to misery, take the time to understand yourself, your goals, vision, relationship requirements, and more. Become conscious of patterns and learn to make deliberate choices that are right for you.

You can rejuvenate or leave relationships that aren’t working. You can make new choices that lead to fulfillment and harmony in your marriage and life. To avoid the disappointment and possible divorce of making a detrimental decision, get support to make wise choices!

Dr. Wendy Lyon, Psychologist, Master Certified Relationship Coach and Best-selling Author

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6. Going off-road into self-loathing

The most detrimental decision you can make is to loathe yourself. Self-hate leads to self-sabotage, and such habits destroy potential and happiness. Choose healing and self-discovery. Your relationship with yourself is the most important and impacts every other relationship in life.

—​ Ann Papayoti, Relationship Coach, Author, Speaker

Keep your life on the right path and avoid the decisional speed bumps and walls others might have placed in your way. You only get one chance at life, so you might as well decide to live it your way.

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Will Curtis is a writer and associate editor for YourTango. He's been featured on the Good Men Project and taught English abroad for ten years.