Do you think about who you are becoming? What kind of person are you developing into? Are you becoming a person you respect?
Many dynamics determine your level of maturity. Today we will look at four: your purpose, strategy, effort, and virtue.
Your purpose gives you direction, leading to the destination of who you are becoming. Seeking to live with a meaningful purpose, having high accountability, plus taking on as much responsibility as possible will lead to mature development.
Aimlessness often leads to immaturity. Are you living for yourself or others? Living primarily for yourself is a small way to live; you will necessarily stay limited and remain a shell of who you could become.
We all want something. Desire is a fundamental part of being human, and our desire can be transformed into what grows beauty, truth, and goodness.
The key to becoming mature is to order your desires so that your desire for the highest good is your strongest desire. But if you are aiming in the wrong direction, no matter your level of effort, or your strategy on how to get there, you might find that you climbed the wrong ladder. If so, you'll wish you had thought more deeply about your purpose.
If one of your highest goals is to avoid pain or to prioritize happiness, you will perpetually fail, first of all, because suffering is inevitable, and second, because deep happiness is a byproduct of virtue, not something best sought after directly.
Your strategy is how you try to achieve your purpose. The tools, techniques, and experiments will help you get what you want. It's well and good to consider your purpose carefully. But the higher the purpose, typically, the harder it is to achieve. So the strategy will become more critical.
Are you putting the time and effort into your strategy? Some people focus on hard work but don't lift their heads to the horizon to see that there might be a better way.
Perhaps the best way to improve your purpose and strategy is to read more books. Learn from others who have gone before you, and understand how they think.
Improve the decisions you make by learning effective strategies.
Consider your core principles.
A principle is effectively an axiom that generally works in the world. You can rely on these principles as general best practices, especially when facing uncertainty. When in doubt, choose generosity, for example. Be generous in assuming the best about others. Be generous in helping someone out in need. Go above and beyond to serve others.
Your effort is the discipline and hard work you put into your strategy. You could have a noble purpose and brilliant strategy, but you will never succeed without hard work.
For example, with a new entrepreneur with a business idea, you can always see naivety when you see someone who thinks their idea is more important than hard work. Good thinking is never enough, and executing with creative strategies and hard work on a mediocre idea will always produce 10x more than a brilliant idea with little effort behind it.
Creating value is never free; it always takes great effort and sacrifice.
The more mature you want to become, the more effort is required.
Effort requires sacrificing comfort.
Effort requires a long-term mindset.
Effort requires fortitude.
Effort requires practice.
Effort requires exposing yourself to risk.
Meaningful effort happens when you execute on strategically pursuing your purpose.
Your virtue is your depth of character, your skill in living a life of wisdom.
Your character will always catch up with you. Try and take shortcuts, and it will have a negative compounding effect. If you lie, steal, choose selfishness, feed resentment, or take the lazy path, to name a few shortcuts, you will cause damage and devastation in unexpected ways.
There is no escaping your character. You can have all the accomplishments in the world, but if you lack virtue, you won't have peace.
If your heart is pure, you will create purity. If your heart is tainted in fear, anger, wounds, or selfish desires, you will inevitably twist impurity into who and what you are becoming.
Be gentle with yourself. All of our hearts have been bent and twisted through our wounds and impurities. The doorway to deep maturity always opens to facing the terror of our wounds and sin and opening ourselves to love. When disconnected or dominated by our darkness, our desire becomes twisted. When we dwell in our darkness with curiosity and compassion, we realize that the same darkness that was once our dungeon becomes the doorway to discovering our deepest desires.
"Hard work pays off."
Mat Fraser, Hard Work Pays Off
"The things you learn in maturity aren't simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self-destructive behavior. You lean not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions, if you have any, which you do. You learn that self pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent, but pays off on character."
John Gardner, Personal Renewal
We all have longings and desires. Is your level of effort going to get you to what you want?
Between your purpose, strategy, effort, and character, where have you given the most attention? How has it paid off? What area do you need to work on the most? What's the first step you can take? Who will you tell about this step to encourage you forward?
Whatever we repeatedly do determines who we become and shapes the world around us. Who are you becoming?