What is 'Situational Maturity' and what is so fascinating about it?
Sometimes we may meet a young person in his or her teens and be impressed by the level of their mental and professional maturity. They act and think like they are much older than their actual age, they are responsible, attentive, respectful, motivated, and future focused. They know exactly what they want from life at such an early age and are taking determined and careful thought-through steps to reach their personal and professional goals and objectives. Then, we meet another young person of the same age and realize that not only do they not think about or plan their future, but they also seem to be lost in their present with their attention completely consumed by activities that do not result in setting them up for success and those that do not contribute positively to their present. Their goal is to have fun daily and relying on others to provide for them and to create the lifestyle that they want and expect to receive, without putting any effort in themselves.
So, how are some young children are so responsible, future-focused, hard-working and driven by the strong desire to success in life, when others tent to only focus on fulfillment of their immediate wants and needs by others in the present without any thoughts or desire of setting goals and actually taking steps on their own to build the future they hope to have when they grow up?
I think the answer to this question, in my opinion, lies in what I call – ‘Situational Maturity.’ Situational Maturity is when a young child finds themselves in the environment where they do not have any choice but to mature quickly and grow up ahead of their actual age. For example, I believe that I have experienced a Situational Maturity when my family immigrated to the United States from Ukraine when I was just 14 years of age and did not speak a single word of English. Instead of doing what most 14 year old’s do at that age – play video games, hand out with friends, watch tv - I had to quickly learn English language in order to go to school, learn, and to graduate in three short years, and to help my family to navigate a completely new lifestyle in the U.S. and daily complexities of life. I also had to work in order to afford the things that I wanted and needed as a teenager in High School, things that my peers received by simply asking their parents to buy for them. Therefore, I had to grow up and mature quickly, learn everything I could fast, and ensure that my actions paved the way for an adult life after school by focusing on my own personal and professional growth and development. Situation that I was placed in made me look at daily life as many adults do, life filled with goals, objections, commitments, and responsibilities.
Another example of Situational Maturity that I can think of is being raised in a country with a farm or livestock to care for. There is certain set of responsibilities that comes with growing up in such environment – getting up very early in the morning in order to feed the chickens, horses, cows, pigs, etc., help parents to take care of the property, making sure that everything functions as it should, and either take a school bus or walk to school. Then, after school, same set of responsibilities one must do the homework and go to sleep. I have been there and can say that such experience creates an opportunity for a young teenager to appreciate the complexity and importance of daily routine, and reliance of others on you for help and support. Once again, a young himself or herself in a situation where they go through mental maturity phase much faster and learn that life is filled with demanding work and responsibilities that cannot be ignored.
Thus, if you meet a young individual who acts and thinks in a more mature manner in comparison to his or her peers, you may be meeting with someone who has experienced a Situational Maturity in their life while growing up. So, take some time to inquire and learn about their story, because, in most cases you will be amazed and inspired by their unique life experiences and accomplishments.
Currently, we live in the world where we are constantly being tested – our values, our character, our human nature. We are constantly being presented with an opportunity to choose how we react or respond to various events and situations surrounding us or other people around the world. Do we help and support those in need, or do we pretend that nothing is happening, and turn away continuing to live in our own bubble without letting anyone or anything inside of it?
It is understandable why as individuals we would do everything that we can to protect our own family and wellbeing, hoping that whatever is happening in the outside world would never impact us personally. However, we often forget that we are human beings, and no matter where we live, no matter of our position or title, no matter of our culture or socio-economic status. We forget that in order to live in peace we must remember to remain human beings – caring, loving, respectful, supporting, and understanding towards others, no manner the situation or time we live in. We must also remember that once that line is crossed where we stop acting as human beings it is very hard to undue our actions and decisions that were made to benefit ourselves and our own interests regardless how our actions have impacted others, and completely forgetting what it takes to be a human being.
It is not hard to be a human being. All that we need to do is to stop and ask ourselves how our words and our actions may impact other people, people who are close and those who are far. If the impact of our actions is negative in any way, then we must stop and remind ourselves who we are, review our values, and most importantly remind ourselves what does it take to be a loving, caring, and respectful human being. If we do that, if we simply stop and think before any actions are taken, we would avoid making irreversible mistakes which we will regret in the future.
We as individuals cannot speak to or take responsibilities for the actions of others. However, what we can do is control our own actions and leading by example to those around us. No matter the situation or circumstance, in our heart we know what is right and what is wrong. The question is: Are we going to listen to our own heart or would we listen to opinions of other people, even if their opinions do not align with our own and go against our values and priorities in life? I hope the choice is clear. I know if is for me. I choose to be a human being every day in any situation.
Sometimes we face days when we feel crushed, demotivated, and hurt inside. I guess such days happen when we keep everything that we are dealing with, all the problems and challenges inside of us without letting them out on the outside. So, all these self-crushing and demotivating thoughts accumulate one on top of another, and eventually reach a point when all of our positive energy gets overwhelmed by all the worries and concerns, we have been keeping inside.
So, what now?
Do we just remain in this unproductive and negative state of mind?
No! Definitely not!
We must use such time to reflect on everything that has happened to us and around us, analyze actions we have taken, specifically, how we have dealt with various problems and challenges. Then, pick out information which can help us in the future, and throw everything else out, all of the negative stuff that serves no purpose in our life now or in the future. We must leave everything that weights us down behind, in the past, and keep moving forward. We should use tough time as opportunities to recharge our batteries, remotivate ourselves, smile and do what we do best – WIN. Nothing and no one are able to stop us from having a positive attitude and optimistic focus.
There will always be tough times in everyone’s lives from time to time, however, such tough times are not permanent, and are there to give us an opportunity to show to the world how strong we are, how determined we are, and that we are simply unstoppable.
Remember that you are enough. You have what you need to be happy, successful, and fulfilled. Motivation comes from the inside of us, it is always there. We may run into a challenging situation and deal with a difficult time as part of our daily life, when negative stuff takes over, however, our motivation, our strength, is still there within us. All we need to do is remind ourselves why we do what we do every day. We need to remind ourselves - Why we go to work every day? Why do we get up and go to our office every day? And for whom are we doing it? I am sure that in addition to our own personal wants and expectations we all have people in our life who depend on us and wish for us to be happy and successful. So, just remember that you are not alone, you are strong, loved, and someone who does not give up when life gets tough. You are enough!
My personal point of view, thoughts, and reflections
I do not know about you, but I find the first day of the New Year as one of the toughest ones of the entire year. Why? Not really sure, but I think this is something that has to do with the uncertainty, hope, expectations, wants and needs that we all have for the new year, and January 1st just happens to be that day where we have not fully accepted that new year has started and we have not done anything when it comes to our goals and objectives that we have set for the year. At least that is how I feel on the first of January of every year.
Just like everyone else I want for each New Year to be better than the previous one, filled with exciting new opportunities, positive and happy news, and success in the professional and financial areas of my life. I set goals for the new year in advance and allow my mind to begin analyzing and often over-analyzing goals set creating unnecessary noise in my head and let annoying distractions to wonder in. Therefore, when this happens I have to remind myself that goals that I have set were carefully thought through when they were established and written down on paper, and that everything that I hope to accomplish in the new year will lead to a successful outcome fueled by hard work, persistence, determination, and belief in my own skills and abilities, and belief in myself. Then, as January 2nd rolls around, everything, all the nervous thoughts and distractions, seem to go away and everything falls into its intended place. Not everything becomes crystal clear and actionable, but unnecessary worries and concerns about the new year subside and eventually go away completely allowing the mind to focus on goals and objectives ahead.
Many of you who are reading this may have never experienced or felt what I feel on the first day of the New Year, and if so, that is great, and I am happy for you. However, if you feel the same way as I do, then I would encourage you to remind yourself that everything is going to be good, everything will work out exactly as you had originally planned when setting your goals, maybe with few minor deviations, and most importantly, remember to believe in yourself. When we genuinely believe in our own abilities, our talents, and strengths, there is nothing and no one that’s able to change that unless we choose to change. Always believe in the best outcome in any situation, even the toughest ones, maintain clear focus on the goal(s) ahead of you, and listen to your heart when you must make tough calls and decisions.
Year 2021 Reflections
So, it is end of the year 2021. I am sure it is not going to be to anyone’s surprise when I say that this year was not an easy one. Of course, Covid-19 played and continues to play in that, but so is the daily challenges and problems that we all face. Many of us never admit that they are going through some tough times just because for whatever reason it is not the topic that many people want to talk about with others, and in some cases not even sharing their challenges with their own family members. Why? I do not know. I believe that it is important to be honest with ourselves and those whom we care about and trust and be able to have an open and honest conversation when appropriate. Not only does it help to free our mind and our head from constant worries and stress, but also it is a fantastic opportunity to obtain someone else’s thoughts, opinions, and recommendations pertaining to the situation that we may be in, and to find potential solution together versus trying to do it all on our own.
With all this being said, as year is ending, now is a wonderful opportunity to take some time to reflect on everything that has happened, everything we continue to deal with, both good and no so good. This is also a great time to analyze actions we took to address and overcome some challenges we faced during the year, in order to document and have a plan of action when similar situations or challenges come up in the future. Yes, I said when, because things will happen, even though we hope to never deal with tough situations again, so it is best to be prepared and have a plan of action versus pretending that we live in some fantasy world where everything is perfect and free of problems.
At the end of every year I sit down and review all of the goals that I have set at the end of the previous year ad check off those goals that I was able to complete during the year, transferring old goals that I did not accomplish into the new list of goals for the upcoming year and, of course, adding new goals that I hope to accomplish. I have been doing this for many years now, and I cannot tell you how great it feels when you can mark goals a complete, regardless of whether those goals were big or small. It is all about the progress, it is about us keep moving forward and celebrating small wins along the way. If we only focus on big goals that may take several years to complete, then we would have nothing to celebrate in between while we are working toward accomplishing those larger goals. Therefore, I recommend setting goals for 1, 3, and 5 years at the same time. This way when you sit down to review your goals at the end of the year, you can check off all the goals that you were able to accomplish during the year in question, and review and update your 3- and 5-year goals as well. All goals that you work on accomplishing during the year should bring you closer to accomplishing your long-term goals. It is also important to remember, when you review smaller, short-term goals, that you were unable to reach during the year, do not simply ignore such goals and immediately scratch them off your goals list and, instead, take some time to think and analyze why you were unable to reach them. Ask yourself what you can do better or differently in the next year to help you reach outstanding goals from the prior year(s). If you have goals that you no longer wish to pursue, then cross them out and move on.
Take some time to talk about and celebrate all your wins and accomplishments with someone whom you trust and whose opinions you value, this could be your spouse, other family member, or a close friend. Without celebration of our wins and accomplishments everything that we do or work towards becomes mundane, repetitive, not interesting, and as result we are more prone to abandoning our goals. This is why so many people give up on their New Year’s resolution goals just few short weeks into the new year. People typically set excessively big and ambitious goals and when nothing is happening or they do not see immediate progress or results, with nothing to celebrate, goals get abandoned and forgotten with nothing to show for at the end of the year except a sense of disappointment and complaining. Therefore, be sure to set realistic goals using 1-, 3-, and 5-year timeline, and celebrate your accomplishments regardless how big or small they are.
I wish you a strong health, success, and patience in the new year. Remember to stay positive and optimistic no matter how hard life may get from time to time. Just know that life is like a rollercoaster, there will always be difficulties, but as long as we believe that everything will work out, it always will, eventually.