People who are mature for their age often display these 8 subtle behaviors

There’s a popular saying that age is just a number, and when it comes to maturity, this saying couldn’t be more accurate. 

Maturity isn’t about how many birthdays we’ve celebrated; it’s about our mindset, our behaviors, and how we engage with the world. It’s the difference between simply growing older and truly growing up. 

With this in mind, we dive into eight not-so-obvious behaviors commonly displayed by people who are mature for their age. 

These are not grand gestures or loud declarations; instead, they are quiet patterns of behavior that reflect a deeper understanding of life and relationships. 

Let’s get to it. 

1) They listen more than they speak

One of my favorite quotes is from the Stoic philosopher Epictetus. He said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Mature individuals would agree with these statements; they understand the value of listening. 

More recently, James Clear, the best-selling author of the phenomenal Atomic Habits, echoed this, stating, “Maturity is learning how to start when you feel like procrastinating and learning how to listen when you feel like talking.”

Truly mature people know that meaningful conversations are not about waiting for their turn to speak but genuinely understanding the other person’s perspective. By listening more than they speak, they open themselves up to new ideas, different views, and a deeper connection with others. 

I’ve seen this firsthand. You probably have, too. 

Looking back on my less-than-conventional career through finance, education, and entrepreneurship, I noticed something. The most-respected leaders, not always the eldest mind you, but the most respected were often the quietest.

They always listened before giving their view or decision; they asked questions rather than immediately offering solutions.

Similarly aged, or even older men and women who had failed to gain the respect of the masses were much quicker to speak, much quicker to judge, and much more fond of the sound of their own voices. 

Reflect on your experiences; you might find something similar. 

2) They have learned to embrace change

If there is one constant in life, it’s change. 

While it’s natural to resist unfamiliar situations, mature individuals have learned to embrace change. They understand that even though change can be uncomfortable, it’s often the catalyst for growth and improvement

A mentor of mine at a small company some years ago exemplified this. 

I won’t bore you with the details, but basically, the market we were in underwent significant changes, putting our operations at risk. Typically, he was traditional and believed in “not fixing things that aren’t broken.” 

However, this time was different, and he realized it. Rather than clinging to outdated strategies, he quickly pivoted, implementing new approaches that aligned with the evolving market conditions. 

This adaptability not only helped us navigate the challenges but also positioned the company for greater success in the long run. His willingness to embrace change and think on his feet was a powerful lesson in the importance of flexibility in both personal and professional growth.

Maturity is not clinging to what has always worked. It’s also not changing things for the sake of it (that’s the game of the young guns, as far as I can see). It’s embracing change when it comes. 

3) They take responsibility (whether at fault or not)

One of my favorite concepts in Mark Manson’s bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is what he describes as the “Responsibility Fault Fallacy.” I know it’s a bit of a mouthful, but bear with me as it’s actually quite important. 

Manson emphasizes that while we may not be at fault for certain problems, we still hold the responsibility to address and manage them. 

Why am I telling you this?

Highly mature individuals understand the importance of taking responsibility for their actions and decisions, whether it was their ‘fault’ or not.

They do not play the blame game or make excuses for their setbacks or failures. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and learn from them. 

They realize that they are the captains of their ship and that their actions directly influence the course of their lives.

4) They are empathetic

You’re having a terrible day; everything seems to be going downhill, and you feel like no one understands what you’re going through. 

Then, a friend comes along who just gets it. They don’t try to fix your problems or offer unsolicited advice; they simply listen and show understanding. 

That’s empathy in action.

People who are mature for their age have a high level of empathy. They can put themselves in other people’s shoes and understand their feelings and perspectives.

This emotional intelligence allows them to build deeper connections and navigate social situations effectively. 

5) They focus on what they can control

12 unusual habits that indicate youre a really wise person 1 People who are mature for their age often display these 8 subtle behaviors

So many of us expend our energy on complaints and stress over things beyond our influence: bad weather, the fluctuating economy, or the behavior of other drivers on the road. 

What does this do for us?

Nothing good. 

It not only saps our energy but also hinders our ability to address and improve aspects of our lives that are within our power to change.

We could all do with heeding the advice of Epictetus, who once wisely stated, “The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.” 

Individuals who display maturity beyond their years often live by this principle. They invest their energy and efforts into aspects of their lives they can influence rather than fretting over uncontrollable circumstances. 

This ability to discern and focus empowers them to navigate life’s challenges with grace and effectiveness, contributing significantly to their personal and professional successes.

6) They see every day as a school day 

A mentor once told me that the day he stopped seeking growth was the day he stopped living to his full potential. It sounds simple, even a bit cheesy, but it has stuck with me ever since. 

Since then, I’ve realized that mature individuals, like my mentor, prioritize personal growth.

They understand that they are a work in progress and continually seek opportunities to learn, grow, and improve. They are not afraid to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves. 

They read books, attend seminars, seek feedback, and are always on the lookout for ways to expand their knowledge and skills. 

And it’s not just about professional growth; they also invest time in nurturing their hobbies, understanding their emotions, and improving their relationships. 

7) They keep their cool

Early in my career, I had a colleague. Let’s call him Tom. Tom was generally polite and well-meaning, but over time, the pressure of the job and what he perceived as unfair treatment was getting to him. 

Of course, he tried to hide it, but it became increasingly noticeable. One day, in a meeting, it all blew up. 

In a moment of unchecked emotion, he dramatically stormed out of a meeting after a disagreement. You know, that sort of door-slamming moment. 

This outburst not only severed his ties with the company but also left a lingering sense of bitterness among those who witnessed it. 

The worst part is that I am sure he didn’t really mean what he said at that moment. It just got too much for him, and he could take it no longer. It was a moment of weakness that cost him dearly. 

Mature individuals, as you may have guessed, don’t do this. 

They know that keeping their cool is key. They prioritize maintaining relationships over momentary victories. They understand the long-term value of connections over the temporary satisfaction of letting off some steam. 

8) They handle criticism gracefully

Let’s face it: nobody enjoys being criticized. However, mature individuals understand that criticism is an inevitable part of life. 

Instead of reacting defensively or taking it personally, they handle criticism gracefully. They listen and assess, and if the critique is valid, they use it as a stepping stone for self-improvement.

They know that everyone makes mistakes and that constructive criticism can provide valuable insights for personal and professional growth. They also understand the difference between constructive criticism and destructive negativity, and they don’t waste their energy on the latter.

The bottom line

Maturity is not simply about age; it’s a mindset, a way of living that’s reflected in our choices, behaviors, and interactions. 

If you see some of these behaviors in yourself, kudos to you; you are probably more mature than most, whatever your age. 

If not, well, it’s never too early to start fostering them.

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time. 

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Mal James Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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