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Would you share your definition of maturity and the processes to become mature?

Watching people and seeing my own pathway to "grey hair", I have often thought about the question, 'what is maturity and when will we know we arrived/achieved?'

What ideals wait upon persons who seek maturity? Yes, I know; maturity varies and is not necessarily linked to body age. Given wide variances in human experiences, what could you say that defines maturity.

TED players are invited to help define maturity. Please disregard what you think others have said or will say; just dig into your experiences and ideals.

  • May 20 2013: Hi Dear Mark Kurtz,my definition of maturity is:understand reality and accept them as much as I can.No complain.Keep kids learning curiousity Take adult's resposibility
  • May 21 2013: Take responsibility about the steps you take in life, what you want to learn, how you want to inspire other people, taking are of your own health, know the value of respect, ...

    Knowing that people think differently and only by accepting that, you already made a good base to do further communication.

    Making sure you got values in life that inspire you to become a better person every day.
  • May 20 2013: I think of maturity as a function of responsibility. Do you take responsibility for your own actions? Do you work to improve yourself and use your time wisely? A mature person can be trusted, and can make their own decisions and take care of themselves. In the biological sense of the word, well, probably early 20s.
  • May 20 2013: I think maturity is so misunderstood by so many that the concept is useless, or worse, misleading.

    As the prior comments indicate, maturity is seen by some to be one thing, by others as something else, and by many as a group of characteristics. Most people think we grow into maturity. Not me.

    If people really knew me and my history, many would say I was more mature at twenty than at sixty.

    Whenever I think of maturity and adulthood I am reminded of the day when I first realized that adults are not really much different than children, just older and more experienced. That day followed an adult neighborhood party that my parents hosted at our house. I was about eleven years old at the time. A few weeks prior to the party we obtained a wooden shuffle board from my grandfather. The playing surface was about ten feet long and a foot wide and it was in terrible shape. My Dad talked us kids into helping to refinish it. We worked on it after school and weekends for weeks, fixing what was broken, then sanding and sanding and sanding and then sanding some more, until it was so smooth and so level that you could drop a marble on it anywhere and it would not roll. Then we applied layer after layer of varnish, applying fine sand paper again after every third layer. I think we stopped around 9 layers. The paint job on the framing was beautiful. I have yet to see any similar artifact that received so much attention and care, and looked so amazingly fine. Then Dad got some round chunks of metal that we hand sanded for two weeks to make the bottoms slightly rounded. Finally it was all ready, the day before the party, and we played with it for a few hours, and those disks glided like they were nearly weightless. Then came the party. The next day the board was wrecked, with scratches and scrapes along its entire length and with some gouges that were 5 mm deep.

    I am sure that each of those adults at the party would have said that they were all mature.
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      May 20 2013: I agree Barry, that the understanding, or maybe interpretation of maturity is sometimes misleading. The accepted definition seems to say that maturity is "having completed natural growth and development", or "fully developed". That being said, I will not be "fully developed" until I take my last breath, because as long as I am in human form, I will be continuing to explore with curiosity:>)

      I have refinished a lot of furniture, so your story about the wooden shuffle board is very clear, and I have an idea of all the work you did on it! Sad that it was not protected and appreciated:>(
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    May 19 2013: Maturity is the Word-weapon of the unfunny people, some would think that.
    Instead, i think maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty, the aibilty to control anger, the ability to think speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity.
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    May 19 2013: How many lives you have influenced positively defines your level of maturity.

    A person who can not take care of himself is an immature person.
    Who takes care of the community is more mature than one who just looks after his family
    and so on...
    Who takes care of whole humanity is most mature.
  • May 19 2013: I think of human maturity in stages.

    The first phase is adolescence, as now you have the power to create life. You also sort of realize that you are no longer a child, but not quite yet an adult. Nature is telling you to go forth and procreate, but your head is telling you that you are not ready to provide for a family. You are still dependent on others for survival. This sends you into the second phase where you define yourself.

    The second phase is dominated by gaining independence from your parents and finding a way to survive, seeking pleasure, along with selecting a mate. Finding a way to survive may involve immediately finding a way to make the most money, developing a life-long skill set, seeking advanced education, or answering some other calling towards a vocation. Seeking and finding a mate is guided by desire for stability, nature's power to drive you to procreate, and your own assessment about you ability to provide for a family until the children complete the second phase of maturity. During this phase, there are many sub-phases involving personal growth, developing a lasting relationship with your mate, putting the needs of others before your own, teaching children, caring for elderly parents, and sort of family survival issues.

    I think a third phase of maturity might be refocusing on your purpose in life and trying to accomplish all of your goals and be happy. At the same time, you see the final phase of life ahead, and need to prepare for it. Your time is divided finishing your life's work, seeing that your family is prospering in life and able to survive, and basically enjoying what you can of what life has to offer.

    The final phase of maturity is when you realize that most of your life's work is done. You continue to do what is needed for you and your family to survive, but also become focused on their continued survival without you. You reduce your needs to something you can manage. The struggle to survive continues until nature wins.
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      May 20 2013: Well said Robert. I also think about stages when pondering the life experience, and I like the way you have described it. I totally agree.....except....I don't think I will ever think my life's work is done until I take my last breath, and I do not have a need to struggle with anything relating to the life/death cycle.

      Your description reminds me of the book..."Passages", "predictable crises of adult life", by Gail Sheehy, published in 1976. It speaks about stages in our lives, and passages from one stage to another. I had a friend back then who was a councelor, teacher, and pursuing advanced degrees in psychology, so she was passing on a LOT of good reading to me. Unfortunately, she died from cancer at a very young age.
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    May 19 2013: Hi Mark,

    Your question caused some introspection and I came up with following thoughts/memories from and about my childhood:

    - my mother told me that I didn't cry or shout as a baby regardless of the circumstances. Maybe some people are just born like that or born mature? I'm not claiming I am mature or that I can come up with a definition of any sort, I'm just responding and sharing. This is not self-promotion of any kind, I guarantee that :) To continue the story or the explanation of what I've just written - when I was born my mother was alone, my father was away. She didn't have a lot of modern facilities or improvements at home, she lived above a village school that was just one classroom really, that was the only thing that was available in the local community or needed in it - it was a small village with few children.

    - if people can be "born mature", how does this influence the people themselves, their lives, the lives of others and what can be done to improve all of those lives?

    - still writing about "being born mature" - my grandfather said that some of his grandchildren, me included, had "eyes like a trzuszczyk" (a local name for a bird, I don't remember the name of the species. This bird moves its head and eyes very fast, is very small and thin, quick to escape and react, difficult to catch)

    I guess what I'm trying to point out is that a combination of genetics and pedagogy can help in answering your question and defining maturity.

    What if we can both be born and made mature at the same time? What if being "made mature" is a long process? What if not everybody can be made mature and will always stay a child with fast-moving eyes at one time or "eyes as if s/he understood" (a quote) at other times?

    I don't know if that helped in defining maturity, I'm probably just preserving some memories or trying to do that while writing this :)
    Best wishes.
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    May 19 2013: My "play group" was featured in an article in "Maturity Magazine" entitled:
    "Play with kids your own age".

    Since we are featured in "Maturity Magazine", that must be proof of maturity!!! LOL
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        May 20 2013: Thanks Kate. What do you mean "an oldies" group? Who around here is old??? We are young at heart:>)

        We usually stop somewhere for lunch, and often stop for a beer after the physical activity. The members of the main group are all bikers, then there are sub groups....hikers, sailers, skiers, kayakers, ice skaters, water skiers, etc. We are all wondering why they put us in "Maturity Magazine". LOL

        For me, maturity has a lot to do with balance. We may have the knowledge and experience of the life adventure and all the challenges, and we maintain, or revisit, the qualities that children often radiate....truth, honesty, security, contentment, compassion and empathy for ourselves and others...joyful acceptance of the life adventure:>)
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        May 21 2013: I used to say that all the time Kate....age is a state of mind. Honestly, in the last couple years, I am observing that it is also a state of body! Yeah..."softie" is a good one! I think part of being mature is recognizing the reality:>)

        I also have been connected with the childlike qualities.....especially curiosity, which in my opinion, contributes to a very interesting life adventure:>)

        You communicate your many qualities very well Kate....I appreciate you, and so do lots of other people:>)
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    May 19 2013: Hi there ,
    Interesting question , such a question deserve also an interesting definition.
    But unfortunately I am not able to to that.
    However, I see maturity as some sort of endless process that people during life time perceve/be aware of the deferent set of thoughs/ideas that bother them as the ages go by.
    Of course it is relatet with Responsability, Decision Makeing , Ageing etc The point is that it does not make sense to me thinking of maturity as a goal/objective.
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    • May 19 2013: Hi Lamar, I preferred not to add qualifiers. You have a "blank check" for your definition and processes to maturation.

      I want to wait a few days to give people ample time to think and respond.
  • Jun 18 2013: I think there are tow aspects of maturity, first the ability to understand reality quickly and accurately, and secondly the ability to use that understanding to act responsibly regardless of the circumstances. Becoming mature is a process of trail and error (experience), you can't become a mature driver if you never drove a car, so that's it: observation, prediction, action, self-evaluation, learning, that process is what leads you to maturity.
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    May 19 2013: G'day Mark

    I have been told numerous times through out my life to act my age, I am now 49 yrs old, nothing has changed.

    You can't relate maturity with common sense or any sense at all, if we did the world would be some what different to what it is now however one can have common sense without being mature so maturity doesn't necessarily mean common sense or wisdom for that matter.

    The word maturity if faceless & false because most of us would relate maturity with common sense &/or wisdom to some degree. There is nothing mature about me but I do at times show a bit of common sense.

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    May 19 2013: not shying away from life and facing the bad times as well as the good times.

    not living in a digital global village. it's too selective to be real..
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    May 19 2013: Taking responsibility, i.e. it is purely a verb.