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No matter what age you’re at, there are always moments when you feel like a little child — scared, out of control, and don’t know how to do the right thing.
It happens to me once in a while too. At those times, I was so envious of people who made things look so easy. As if their lives just fall into place effortlessly.
But we all know that is not true. Growth is never effortless.
As the iceberg illusion suggests, behind every success, there are numerous failures and an incredible amount of hard work. Maturity is the same. No one just grows into a mature person. They have worked hard to become wise and graceful as they are.
This is absolutely good news! Maturity is not only for the chosen ones. It is for everyone who is determined to become better versions of themselves. Here are a few things we can do to get closer to this goal.
The first and most important quality of a mature person is taking responsibility. That means stop making excuses for things that happened, or should have happened but did not.
It is a dangerous trap that anyone could easily fall into. The tricky part is they always appear reasonable! That’s why it is important to recognize the true meaning of each excuse.
When you are too busy with work to spend time with family, that means you prioritize work over relationships (at the moment at least). When you are giving up because something is not likely to work, your fear of failure overrides the desire to achieve.
And you know what? This is totally fine. Just don’t fool yourself. You have to recognize everything is your choice. No one and nothing is forcing you to do / not do something. You are in control of your decisions.
Being a deadline fighter myself, I believe everyone is guilty of procrastination to some extent. Most of the time, it won’t be a problem when there’s a specific due date. However, it can be dragging our feet, especially when attempting something ‘good to do’ but not ‘must-do’.
There are so many things we could have done to live a better life. Exercising regularly, read more books, meditation…But as the best things in life don’t come for free, these life-changing habits are not so easy to develop too, so we procrastinate.
But he managed to overcome the obstacle by breaking the task into smaller ones. If the thought of running 10km is too intimidating and paralyzes us from taking action, then focus on smaller tasks. Start by getting changed, filling up your water bottle, putting on the running shoes…Voila! You will be out running on the road before you know it. That worked for me, and I’m sure it will work for you too.
It is the classic foot in the door strategy in psychology. Once you take the first step, the inertia will keep you going a long way.
Procrastination often comes in a deadly combo with perfectionism. Perfectionists have a tendency of obsessing over every single task, spending (wasting) too much time trying to perfect their work.
As the law of diminishing marginal returns suggests, after the optimal point, the more time you spend on the same task, the less likely you are going to add value to the outcome.
Beyond that point, allow me to put it bluntly, you are merely working out of insecurities instead of improving the outcome.
The more mature we grow, the more we should realize time is a scarce resource to be spent wisely. That means do not allow yourself to spend an indefinite amount of time on one particular task.
This leads to my next point, we are imperfect, so what?
Admitting ones’ flaws can be appalling, but is also an inevitable step towards maturity. In fact, Growth Mindset enables us to make peace with our own flaws.
We should not see failures as shortcomings, but opportunities to learn. Instead of self-pitying, feeling ashamed, or finding excuses, own up to the outcomes. When we stop fearing failures, we don’t have to worry about covering our flaws anymore.
That frees up so much energy to look for improvement opportunities. Once you shift to this angle, you won’t find yourself not knowing what’s the right thing to do anymore. Just focus on doing better next time, as there’s always room to improve.
By adopting a growth mindset, we are also committed to continuous improvement. After all, maturity is not just a goal, but a journey itself.
There’s a paradox about maturity — once you think your training is complete, you start to fall behind.
So the ultimate lesson is to accept that maturity is a constant drive for growth. The world is changing every day. We need to keep growing and learning to keep up with it.
Also, learning is the safest way of expanding your comfort zone. The more capable you have become, the less likely you will find yourself frozen in the middle of a situation.
People who always know the right thing to say or to do have been exposed to numerous uncomfortable situations. There is no easy way out but to get your hands dirty.
Becoming mature is no easy task. But by applying the skills above, we will get there eventually.
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