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Maturity: The Value of Learning

By Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar

I believe Age doesn’t define maturity.  Wise men say the true mark of maturity is when somebody hurts you, you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back. “Maturity comes when you stop making excuses and start making changes.”

To many people, they think maturity is a natural result of getting older.  When they encounter an immature person, they say, “Give him/her a few years and he’ll/she’ll mature.”  Well, not necessarily.  Maturity doesn’t always accompany age.  Many times, age comes alone.  To me a mature person is someone who has learned from losses, has gained wisdom and possess a strong emotional and mental stability in the face of life’s difficulties.

“Good people are good because they’ve come to acquire wisdom through failure.  We get very little wisdom from success,” quipped author William Saroyan. He is describing the kind or quality of maturity that comes at an early age.  He believes people who haven’t overcome major losses are prone to think they are invincible. Everyone who makes a major contribution to life knows what it is to have failures. Maturity is more often developed out of our losses than our wins.  However, how you face those losses greatly matters.

Maturity is the result of finding the benefit in the loss. First, you have to learn from your mistakes and losses.  Learning is what investor Warren Buffet has done. People know him as one of the richest men in the world.  He is well respected for his financial skill and wisdom, but those qualities have come as a result of learning from his losses. He says, “I make plenty of mistakes but that’s part of the game.  You’ve got to make sure that the right things overcome the wrong ones.”

One of the reasons Warren Buffet is so successful in the face of his losses is that he learns from his mistakes but he doesn’t dwell on them.  Learn the lesson and forget the details. That brings not mental advancement but emotional freedom.

Maturity is the result of learning to feed the right emotions.  Within us are contained both positive and negative emotions. There are people who teach that we should try to eliminate all negative feelings from our lives. Feed the positive thoughts until they become dominant over the negative ones. Acting on the right emotion will lift you to success.  Acting on the wrong emotion will lower you to failure. “The key to success is action. Do the right things and eventually you feel the right things,” a former successful NFL coach said.

Maturity is the result of learning to develop good habits.  The  only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. John Dryden put it: “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”  By encouraging the right emotions within us through positive action over a sustained period of time, we can actually form the habit of taking the right action. That often leads to further positive results.

Good habits require discipline and time to develop. It requires focus and the ability to live in the moment. Never allow a challenge to get you off track.  You need to cultivate the habit of executing and following through.  If we want to gain the value of learning, heed the advice of Nobel Price winner Fridtjof Nansen, who said, “Have you not succeeded? Continue!  Have you succeeded? Continue!”

Maturity is the result of learning to sacrifice today to succeed tomorrow.  There is definitely a connection between success and a person’s willingness to make sacrifices. “People who cannot defer current gratification tend to fail, and sacrifice itself is part of entrepreneurial success,” a Wall Street Journal op-ed column of Arthur Brooks said. Research on delayed gratification was conducted in 1972 and evidence goes beyond a finding that people who can deter gratification tend to turn out well in general.

Willingness to sacrifice, however, does not come easily. Everyone likes comfort, pleasure and entertainment.  People naturally tend to adopt behaviours that make them feel good. There’s a problem with that.  A person who cannot sacrifice will never belong to himself; he belongs to whatever he was unwilling to give up. If one wants to develop maturity and gain the value of learning, one needs to learn to give up some things  today for greater gains tomorrow.

Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar  is the past president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Alberta  (UPAAA) from 2012-2015.  Currently, she’s the Chairperson of Holy Trinity  Parish Stewardship Committee and Holy Trinity CWL Chair for Legislation and Resolution.


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