I read a reflection about how one matures. It started with an interesting proposition:
“Life and grace seem to move us along, often without our notice, toward greater maturity…”
It was the “often without our notice” idea that caught my attention.
Maturity and development does often occur without notice. As I have aged, I am reminded of the times where my perspective changes or my understanding deepens in an unexpected way. It feels like it is overnight or sudden. It comes as a bit of an “aha” experience. But, then I realize, that change, that maturing, was a long time coming.
I understand that if you live long enough the chances are that some maturing will come your way. It’s inevitable. Life hones us. Old wounds are scanned. Rough edges removed. Lines on your face deepen.
But, maturity doesn’t have to be a process which only time and circumstance impacts. We can be active in our maturity. Here are three ways to facilitate maturity:
- I mature when I put myself in a position to try new things and to hear new ideas. New experiences and new ideas expand our experience and knowledge. Every idea builds your ability to be creative. New information fills in gaps which make historical confusion clearer. The more you know, the more confident you are in the uncertain situations that life brings. The braver you are as you face them.
- I mature when I use disappointments and loss as learning experiences. Failure isn’t fatal. Shortfalls don’t have to be your identity. Take every situation where results were not ideal and use them to grow. When you can process disappointments as learning opportunities, you are free to risk more because you win either way. Win-you receive the desired result. Lose-you receive an education.
- I mature when I listen to a mentor. To hear a mentor, I have to be intentional about cultivating a mentor. I have to arrange to meet. I have to share transparently the concerns where I need help. If you can have a mentor with whom you share vulnerabilities, the quality of advice intensifies and the opportunities for growth are multiplied.
Don’t let maturity be happenstance. Push it. It will make a difference.