Full maturity … is achieved by realizing that you have choices to make. Angela Barron McBride
As long as we are children we allow most of our decisions to be taken by our parents but as we grow up we have our preferences be style, color, size, shape etc. Assume we want a chocolate; we would go pick up what we want or if it is a Barbie doll we would chose the one not there in our collection. This is the first step to maturity because we now display our individual preferences, our personal choices and our preferred options. At this stage more often than not, we are guided by our instincts, our likes and dislikes rather than by the process of an evaluation, where we may have to make rational choices rather than impulsive decisions.
It is only when economic compulsions, utilitarian considerations and value for money, the three spoilt sports that influence choices, enter the decision making process that we get alerted to the finer nuances of decision making when exercising our choices. Initially such skills are taught by our parents and elders who would at first gently admonish you for your extravagant choices and possibly even be adamant and curt if we don’t learn to appreciate their veto. While most of their arguments would be mentally refuted by us, the lessons learnt would surface when we have to part with our hard earned money or when we have to make life changing choices like choosing a spouse. This is the inflection point when we grow up and attain the maturity to be the adult that we longing to be.
Real choices are situations when all options look equally appealing and we have to give up all the alternatives because we have to select one. This is like the childhood dilemma where your grandma offered you a delicious piece of cake with the rider that you had to cut it in two and let your sibling take the first piece. In real life though the stakes are much higher, the consequences of your choices more sever and the resultant happiness or unhappiness directly propionate to the difficulty of the choice. The real tricky choices are the very subjective ones like the apocryphal story of the person assigned to sort potatoes into 3 piles big, medium and small. After many hours he had barely sorted out a handful and when questioned replied he didn’t know how to decide the size of each potato to classify it. Even simple tasks like buying fruits and vegetable leaves us with the unenviable task of having to choose which fruit or vegetable one has to buy, in what quantity and at what price. How much more complicated is it to zoom in on a house or a vehicle for yourself; and selecting the right spouse would be the ultimate choice?
Remember: “A mature person is one who is does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably” Eleanor Roosevelt
- Make a list of gifts that you can buy for your dad/ mom/ sibling on their birthday and ensure the gift is of an identical price range. Note the type of comment you get when you take the effort of choosing a gift that you know will be perfect for the person.
- Ask yourself what are the 3 questions uppermost in when you have to make a choice. Now see how important those questions are when deciding the following: going to watch a professional football match when your favorite team is playing in your city; attending your close friends wedding or attending your bosses sons wedding both on the same day and time but in different cities; making a decision to eat out and your wife wants to have Chinese food, your son wants burgers and your daughter wants Indian food and you hate all the three options.
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