Dear 100 Hour Board,
When I ask people about what qualifies for someone to be mature, I receive answers that make me believe that maturity is a very subjective quality. What do you guys consider to be requirements for someone to be considered mature? Are there any aspects that you as a board could reach to a consensus on? Please share!
- Hello, my name is…
Dear President Kennedy,
According to Google, mature means "Fully developed physically; full grown." However, I don't necessarily think is a great definition because most of the time (in my experience, at least) when people talk about being mature, they aren't referring to physical characteristics. Rather, it seems to connote a certain emotional/mental/spiritual growth that naturally accompanies physical growth. But then there are people whom we consider either more or less mature than their age, so maturity doesn't align perfectly with physical development.
Personally, I define maturity to be control over oneself, acceptance of responsibility for one's actions, an awareness of others/relevant situations, and the ability to draw deep insights/make connections from ideas and one's surroundings.
You asked for a consensus, so I did a survey.
I should note before we get into this that this was not a great survey. Which I can say because effective surveying is a big part of my major and I've taken some classes on how to create them. And then I threw all that out the window and made this. Anyway, it is what it is.
-The two bottom responses go along with general life experience listed above; I just didn't phrase things well in the prompt. That puts the top factors as (1) Failure, (2) Age, and (3) Life experience.
I like how failure seemed to be the most agreed upon determining factor. I don't think it by itself constitutes someone to be mature, but if lessons are learned and taken in stride it certainly can.
-One respondent added the category of social groups. This falls in line with that one quote that Dan Clark likes to say: "[W]e become the average of the five people we associate with the most." I think this is both true and not. It is more likely that we'll be/act more mature if our main social group is more mature, but I think the phrase puts too little weight on the inner processes and strength of the human psyche. It also seems to minimize the strength of independent thought.
-Some options that received no votes were place in the family and relationship status.
-Out of 10 responses, 3 writers felt they were mature, 1 above average for their age, and the rest were in the "Somewhat-Kinda-Ish" spectrum, including one "I consider myself as striving to be mature, but ultimately still lacking."
-What made them mature: foresight, accountability and responsibility, taking in account multiple perspectives, independent thought, awareness.
-Who/what is immature: certain political or academic leaders, impulsiveness, lack of understanding or appropriateness, lack of perspective, disrespectful, need for constant external stimulation.
-I particularly liked these responses in answer to "What do you personally define as mature?"
- Someone who will determine what needs to be done and take the steps needed to do it.
- Wisdom from life experience, true empathy for many people, capability for independent thought
- Personally I define it as being able to put yourself in the perspective of others and act with others in mind, not just yourself. Also being able to handle (more meaning effectively understand/cope with) your emotions and not let them control you.
- The ability to control emotions appropriately, see the other side of an issue, and take a long-term view when considering a situation. And acting accordingly.
The patterns I see from the responses are mainly self-acceptance and self-awareness, which then extends to acceptance and awareness of others. Self-acceptance is not to say complacency in oneself, but more an understanding what you're working with; not denying what or where you are in your current stage of life. Self-awareness is taking a more objective look at your personality, strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, motivations, etc., especially (but not always) in relation to the world around you.
The ability to do these effectively seems to be directly influenced by self-control, and perhaps that's what we learn most in failure. I think when we fail, we can't have security in much else and we are able to control little else than ourselves; we're forced to figure out what that means and what we can do about it.
In that sense, maturity seems to be having "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference" (source).
On the Board (and in life), yayfulness has been a really good example to me for maturity. He's always shown proper respect and sobriety for matters that needed it, but also enjoys quality humor. He's skeptical of others' claims and even sometimes of himself, and he understands that emotions don't need to rule or define us but can be used as tools. Of course, there are many other writers who have similar traits, but I've been noticing it a lot lately with yay and felt like he deserved a shoutout.
I hope this helps answer your query.