“You’re so mature for your age!” What is maturity?

July 21, 2009          Comments (3)


The other day after I got off the phone with a friend/adviser who told me how mature I am for my age I started to think about what he really meant. He’s been telling me this since I first met him my junior year of college when my then business (Ultimate Discount Card) was starting to take off.

He always used to say, “Dude, you have to relax a little. You’re very mature for your age. You’re going to be a rock star. Relax.”

He wasn’t the first person to tell me that I needed to relax. He also wasn’t the first person to tell me how mature I was/am for my age.

People have been telling me how mature I am since I was a little kid. I’m sure you got the same thing.

Let’s explore what that even means and why someone would say that.

Well, there are several different types of maturity (emotional, intellectual, physical) and what I think most people are referring to is ones emotional maturity.

You know: You’re ability to deal with the bad and the good, your perspective on life, knowing what’s really important (the standard will this matter in 5 years from now is always a recommended question to ask yourself although I think that’s a little hokey) and what’s really not, knowing when to be serious and when it’s okay to let loose, how you deal with rejection, etc.

Certainly, it would be a little condescending to tell a grown man how mature he is. You’re only going to tell someone younger than you or a peer how mature they are.

Do you find yourself telling younger siblings, friends, advise seekers how mature they are for their age?

To me it seems as though telling someone how mature they are is your approval of the way they think. You feel that because of the way they think – they’ll be just fine. After all, you turned out just fine, right?

You also might recognize yourself in that person. Similar thought processes with similar perspectives and conclusions. It takes one to know one.

For example, every person who has told me how ‘mature’ I am at some point in my life seemed to have their life together.

This happened a lot especially when I was a little boy growing up with divorced parents. In elementary school, I was the only kid in my grade with divorced parents. (Sadly, as I grew up it seemed as though having divorced parents wasn’t so uncommon.)

Growing up with divorced parents (since I was 4 years old) forced me to deal with a lot of things most kids didn’t have to deal with. But I am exactly who I am today because of everything that has happened in my life for the good, the bad and the ugly and I am very grateful for that.

However, one can only wonder does shit have to happen to you to gain emotional intelligence? To appreciate good does one have to endure bad? To know what’s really important doesn’t one have to know what’s not in the grand scheme of life?

To be able to effectively deal with reality doesn’t one have to be forced to deal with the cards they were dealt and make the best of it?

What about those that weren’t forced to deal with unpleasant situations? You can’t hold that against them, of course. Unless, they are a poodle. But are they at a disadvantage to face the real world where there reality isn’t always made as perfectly as their bed was?

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  1. […] could make you insane if you’re not emotionally mature. But then again, I think you have to be nuts to start a company in the first […]

    Pingback by Guru Gilbert » How bliss is ignorance? The dark side of entrepreneurship — August 4, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

  2. I think a lot of the people have gotten it wrong or, at least, have not gotten it. I’ve recently been trying to sort out ‘maturity’ on my own, trying to understand what it is. The problem that I see, is that most people define ‘maturity’ as an opposite of ‘immaturity,’ so that, instead of it being a specific action on its own, it’s just not behaving a certain way. This says a lot, as though we naturally assume the immature actions first, or area always wary of them. But maturity isn’t, as a lot of people tend to assign it, just a matter of being precocious or even cautious.

    What we need is a more specific definition of maturity, and not just some general sense of doing good or making good decisions. I don’t think it has anything to do with what you choose do do, but how you make those choices. See what you think about my take on it, in “How to Be a Grownup”

    Comment by ModernSophist — September 28, 2009 @ 5:23 am

  3. Tremendously enlightening piece of information. Thanks for the same. I have already noted the points in my personal diary. Keep sharing. You make life easier and thats a great virtue.sid.

    Comment by sid — November 10, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

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