A Simple but Reliable Sign of Personal Maturity

I just finished a coaching class at the iNLP Center. What a privilege it was to coach a mature person.

How did I know he was mature?

It wasn’t his chronological age. When I asked him questions (life coaches love to ask questions) about what issue he wanted to address in our coaching session, he responded as follows:

My wife and I have been arguing more than usual lately. I want to take a look at my part in the fighting and take steps to go about things differently.

Bravo! I want to take a look at my part. That’s a sign of maturity. You take responsibility for your own actions and feelings. Done.

Of course, when a couple is arguing, both parties share responsibility. A less mature person, however, might start the session like this:

My wife knows just how to push my buttons and I need to get her to stop.

That’s less mature but it’s still 100% normal. Who among us hasn’t longed for others to stop doing things that bug us? Still, in life coaching, the only path forward is for the client to own his or her part and desire to go about things in a new, more productive way.

This client made the coaching easy by allowing us to skip the process of encouraging ownership of the problem. He already owned it.

Are you mature?

No one is 100% mature all of the time. How mature are you in the areas of life that are problematic for you? Save yourself time and expense by sitting down and owning your part in every relationship problem you have.

That might revolutionize your life. It will certainly eliminate much of your suffering.

But it raises a more interesting question as well: What Are you Afraid to See About Yourself?

We Need to Change our Entire Approach to Problems

Problems are inevitable and so it humanity’s immature response to them.

Most people seem to react to problems with one of two tactics:

  1. Blame
  2. Complain

Blaming and complaining do nothing constructive. When you blame, you seek to tear others down. (Blaming is different than holding someone accountable). When you complain, you tear yourself down.

“Why me?” only suggests something is wrong with you when you have a problem. There is nothing wrong with you unless you consider being an average human being “wrong.” Why not take an approach that makes you feel better about yourself?

You’re not special just because you have a problem. You’re not so special that life should shield you from problems. That’s good news. Thinking you’re so special will only lead to disappointment – and put you at odds with life. And life will win that battle.

Take a different approach…

When you encounter a problem:

  1. Center yourself
  2. Accept the problem without complaining
  3. Take responsibility for your part
  4. Assess what, if anything, you can do about it
  5. Take action
  6. Let go

Nothing terribly complicated here. The six steps are simple enough for any child to understand. Doing them is another matter. Can we be so mature?

It’s unlikely. How many people do you know that follow the above protocol?

The world is waiting…

Blame leads to suspicion, conflict, mistrust, collusion, conspiracy, and war. Complaining leads to blame, often self-blame, and self-victimization – powerlessness and fear.

Complaining and blame keep the world locked in power struggles and self-justifying actions. The world we live in today would be totally transformed if we did nothing other than give up these two dysfunctions.

Dear Precious Visionary: How to Suffer your Dreams Well

This is a guest contribution by Teach Manuelle

You have dreams of a good life, a grand vision of success. Images dance before your mind of an ideal existence, full of love, success, joy and contentment – and peace of mind. It’s a grand vision!

Such aspirations are fuel to keep you moving. They are hope. And they are pain. We are creatures with self-awareness. Is this awareness a blessing or a curse?

Yet, it’s what we are, beings who know both triumph and failure. Hope, enthusiasm, fear and disappointment – and a vast mix of positive and negative feelings – are fodder for conscious living.

This fodder for conscious living is the stuff of life. Manage it well and you’ll prosper, which prosperity is of an internal nature. Spare no expense in learning to process life well. Few people have learned to process their experience without help. Some get therapy, some coaching (in either case, go to someone who has the proper training), and a few spend years learning on their own. However you choose to learn, it is an inescapable duty.

I want your Vision – your great dream – to come true.

And I know how much you will suffer. You hide your suffering, believing it makes you less than, but that doesn’t change anything. Hiding your pain only provokes more pain.

Your positive expectations create your pain. You did not choose to have such grand requirements. You cannot choose to live free of expectations and you shouldn’t want to. Yet, let’s make our expectations real – whole.

What if you were free and uninhibited to pursue your vision enthusiastically – and yet were never surprised when you fail? What if failure weren’t an unexpected catastrophe, but a normal part of your experience?

Here’s the secret:

Failure is and always will be a daily occurrence. There is no need to redefine failure. You don’t need to resist it with reframes. Failure is not feedback or a learning experience.

Feedback is feedback. Lessons are lessons. Failure is failure. And it’s fine.

You will make mistakes and fail often. Who are you not to? There are those who will use your naïve fear of failure – your insistence on success without the hassle – to line their pockets. Following their doctored images of success only leads to greater frustration. You will have enough of that without their help.

Your failures magnify when you insist on a failure-free existence. You will suffer, but your greatest suffering comes from believing you shouldn’t suffer. You will feel pain and that pain will persevere to the degree you resist it. Expecting a life free of negativity is requiring a world full of days without nights, a recipe for insanity. There is the insanity of those who do not share an agreed-upon reality. Then there’s the insanity of those who expect life to be other than it is.

Make your vision of the good life real, embracing a fuller spectrum of experience. You’re going to experience – every day – positive and negative aspects of living. Why pretend otherwise?