Let me preface this by saying that I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. However, I am a blogger, which as we all know, gives me the right to speak on any and all subjects with resolute authority.
A friend of mine and I have recently been discussing a situation where an instructor has clearly gotten in over her head, and consequently has lost the respect of her students. After talking about the situation until we’re both disgusted with the whole thing, I think we’ve both come to the conclusion that the whole debacle arose because the instructor in question was far too immature to deal with the responsibility of leading a group of people.
Our conversations got me thinking about maturity, and what actually constitutes a mature individual. I thought about this a long time, and this is what I came up with.
A mature person possesses two things that immature people do not:
1. The ability to recognize their fears, accept them, and attempt to move forward.
2. The ability to not only self-criticize, but to also try to work through their inadequacies.
Fear is a huge motivator for everyone, but immature people will do whatever they can do avoid their fears, so much so that they are literally rendered inert by them. As I grew up, I watched most of the people from my childhood stall in maturity, and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. For most of them, I think they were too scared of the responsibilities that would be required of them if they actually began to act like mature adults. So instead, they continued to act the same way they did in high school, and sadly, more than thirteen years later, they still act like that.
A mature individual will acknowledge that as humans, they are intrinsically fearful. New things scare us, but as mature individuals we push forward as best we can.
It is very difficult to recognize your own faults. Immature people are completely unable to this, even with assistance from others. They avoid introspection and self-analysis with a vengeance, which prevents them from making improvements in their life. Ironically, this also prevents them from identifying their strengths.
Mature people will recognize their faults and attempt to work through them. They might not always be able to do that, but when they aren’t able to overcome their shortcomings they suffer the failure. Contrastingly, mature people will remain highly aware of their strengths, which not only allows them to operate that much more successfully in life, but that knowledge is also psychically comforting. I’m good at something…and I can tell you what it is.
In the spirit of full disclosure and to demonstrate my level of maturity, let me just say that attempting to publish anything scares the hell out of me. I’m also terrible about starting projects and then letting my fear of failure prevent me from completing them. Better to not finish than to finish and not succeed.