YOUNG, not fully developed, lacking wisdom, emotional instability – that is immaturity. In my life I have met thirty-year olds who are not so mature and I have met twenty-year olds who I would describe as quite mature. Let me tell you how I make such judgements.
If you are thirty or fifty and you feel that the reason your life is in bad shape is because your parents didn’t take care of you well, or your boss doesn’t pay you well then you have a problem. Those situations may be factual but the truth is that you are immature. When you are immature, you expect others to take care of you. You don’t have a sense of responsibility. So you blame the government for the sickness of your child when in fact there is a choked gutter busily breeding mosquitoes right in front of your house. You run out of cash and you point fingers at your employer for not paying you well enough when on Fridays, you give up your money at the bar or cinema.
Maturity is not a matter of age. It’s a wisdom issue. Without maturity, you cannot live a fulfilled life. You will not be able to do the things you must do in life. You will lack the attitude, skill and knowledge to drive the course of your life towards the destination you desire. Immature people do not step out to do anything worthwhile because they are afraid to make mistakes. They do not want to be held responsible for their actions. Mature people take responsibility, act and when they make a mistake, they learn from it and move on.
The cry of inexperience
IS IT possible to achieve something new without doing something you have never done before? I don’t think so. In her book Sudden Death (1983) Rita Mae Brown defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” I agree with this definition. As a matter of fact, I think it is an extreme form of insanity. Without the willingness to alter your actions, there will be no improvement in your life. You need to cultivate a degree of adventurism and dare the odds.
Don’t be too comfortable where you are. Be prepared to change. Decide to do something you have never done before. Acquire new experiences. Travel to a place you have never been before. Listen to a genre of music you have never paid attention to. Make a new friend. Learn a new sport. Take your children to an event they have never attended before. Wear a dress you wouldn’t ordinarily wear. Whatever it is, do something new. Experience something you’ve never experienced before.
Your inexperience could limit you and prevent you from reaching your highest potential. If the Wright brothers had said that only birds could fly, there probably would be no air planes in the world today. Or if Yuri Gagarin and his team had not dared to change their experience, the spatial realm would still have been a mystery. But these guys dared to stretch the frontiers of their experiences of life and opened all of us up to new possibilities.
You are not a cat
YES, curiosity killed the cat. That is very sad. But the good news is that you are not a cat. You are a human being with a brain that can think, analyze and imagine. Don’t be afraid to dare the odds. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Feel free to ask questions, even controversial ones. Don’t worry so much about criticism. Don’t be afraid to be the odd one out. Most of the time, the odd ones are those who initiate change and progress. Listen to Einstein, “I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.” Immature people are uncomfortable with solitude. Mature people enjoy it.
If you are afraid to be alone, then you are immature. But if you want to demonstrate your maturity, then show that you believe in certain principles and ideals, which you are prepared to stand for. You may not fit in the class of your peers but you could be in a class of your own.