Seven mistakes we all need to make
Dating a bad boy and performing disastrously at karaoke could help you along the path to enlightenment, experts now believe
Do you recall the last time you did something which made you cringe with embarrassment?
More than ever, we're programmed not to make an ass of ourselves. We feel we have to be perfect, not just in what we wear and how we speak and present ourselves, but also in how we live our lives.
Just as well, then, that psychologists and behavioural experts have decided there are seven mistakes that humans are allowed make at least once in a lifetime. Yes, you will be in danger of embarrassing yourself, probably a lot in fact, but the fact is you're human and not a robot, and it's actually okay to be the idiot in the room.
You excitedly say something out loud and are thrilled by your own brilliance and wit and preparing to bask in the glow of your superiority -- only to look up to see that everyone is looking at you like you're a halfwit.
The downside of playing it safe, however, is that it implies you're on board with whatever is being said. Instead, if occasionally people do roll their eyes behind your back or have a go at you, at least there's also a chance they'll respect you for not backing down and being honest. So while you may be unpopular for a while, it's better than being a nodding dog.
"Try again. Fail again. Fail better," wrote Samuel Beckett. While Richard Nixon said: "A "man is not finished when he's defeated, he's finished when he quits."
Friends, family and self-help books will warn against this. Much better to protect your heart, fall for a nice guy, and save your face from the wrinkles disappointment brings.
Relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam, on the other hand, claims having our hearts broken teaches us to feel deeply, which in turn allows us to love more deeply.
She says: "If you get to the point where no one has ever broken your heart, that means that no one has ever emotionally moved you and you won't have learned to distinguish heartbreak from all the other possibilities in love.
"It will give you the emotional range to appreciate another's feelings." Bring on Colin Farrell.
Eh no, put the expensive shoes back on the shelf . . . Let's not start something which will see you hungry and homeless! The idea is that if you have ever taken out a loan, say, for a flash car, you will probably have learned to regret it bitterly when paying it back at exorbitant interest rates. It's about realising you don't need to stay in a five-star hotel to have a good time. That too much of a good thing is not all pleasurable.
Go on, dress like Katie Waissel or Cher Lloyd off The X Factor if you feel like it. You're only young once. No really, you'll think you're the bee's knees and won't know people are screaming laughing behind your back. For 10 minutes anyhow. It's the only way you learn beige is in fact your colour and not neon orange.
7> put yourself at risk
Snowboarding anyone? Paragliding? Whitewater rafting? You won't appreciate the quiet life until you've risked life and limb . . .