There's a general assumption that as we get older, we grow in our maturity and wisdom. After all, with all that life experience under your belt, how could you not become wiser and more mature?
But age alone is not synonymous with growth, maturity, and wisdom. You've probably met someone who seemed incredibly mature for their age, and you've likely also met someone whose age clearly hadn't conferred the wisdom you expected.
Life experience on its own is no guarantee of maturity and wisdom; it's what you do throughout your life that matters. Don't let self-imposed limits stifle your growth. Here are some common self-imposed limits to watch out for.
1. Don't limit yourself by reducing yourself to a label.
Are you quick to label yourself in terms of your personality and/or identity? Are you retaining the same labels you've had for years? If so, check whether those labels truly apply to you in the here and now, and how well they're serving you.
For example, let's say you've labeled yourself as having no musical talent based on early childhood experiences you had. Maintaining that label might hold you back from taking up a musical instrument later in life, even though you potentially could excel at it, if you gave things a try.
2. Don't limit who you communicate with.
The vast majority of people develop their closest relationships with people who are similar and like-minded. There's no need to overhaul your close inner circle, but open yourself up to communicating with people from other walks of life. As you hear new ideas and fresh perspectives from people whose lives are significantly different from your own, you'll grow in your understanding of the world and how it works.
3. Don't limit your knowledge base.
Learning doesn't have to stop when you leave school. Seize opportunities to learn new things over the course of our life. Learning is fun, it makes you a more interesting person, and it helps to keep your mind sharp into old age. And with a broader and deeper store of knowledge to draw on, you're better equipped to assess situations and make wise decisions.
4. Don't limit yourself by refusing to learn from the past.
We've all made mistakes and done things we regret. Much as we may want to, we can't go back and undo anything from our past. However, there's no need to berate yourself for those past mistakes; instead, learn from them. Examine what happened, how and why it happened, and identify what you can do differently in future to avoid repeating the same mistakes again. This is the secret to growing, maturing, and becoming better, rather than just becoming bitter.
5. Don't limit the ideas and perspectives you explore.
You don't need to give up your convictions or go along with the latest fad, and you don't need to agree with every opinion that pops up. At the same time, a fixed, rigid, narrow mindset where you're convinced that you're 100% right, 100% of time, doesn't allow for growth.
Find that healthy balance where you have your own beliefs, standards, and convictions, but you also have the capacity to explore other ideas and perspectives. It's a very big world, and you might be surprised at where you pick up a nugget of wisdom that you can benefit from.
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