The way I see it:

Not even in my wildest dreams, I could envisage that you will be willing to read this extensive article that will probably steal almost 40 minutes of your precious time. Reason why I’ve pulled out  some of the cue ideas, intending to awaken your curiosity (if the article's tittle hasn’t done that already).

I am aware that Mark Manson is a recurring quoted writer in this blog, but to be honest, he nails it.

Here’s a sad fact: few ever make it to adulthood. And fewer manage to stay there. Why is that?

Let’s stop pretending. Yes, it’s about time.

Compilation:

HOW TO GROW THE FUCK UP: A GUIDE TO HUMANS

(....) This is the job of drooly little four-year-olds. To explore ceaselessly. To discover the world around them — to determine what feels good and what feels bad — and then create value hierarchies out of this knowledge.

These feelings of pleasure and pain become the bedrock of all our preferences and knowledge going forward in life and actually lay the foundation for what will become our identity later.

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO GROW UP

One could say young children are always looking for new ways to accidentally kill themselves because the driving force behind them is an innocent curiosity. Early in life, we are driven to explore the world around us because our brains are collecting information on what pleases and harms us, what feels good and bad, what is worth pursuing further and what is worth avoiding.

But eventually, the exploratory phase exhausts itself. And not because we run out of world to explore. Quite the opposite, actually. The exploratory phase wraps up because, as we become older, we begin to recognize that there’s too much world to explore. It’s too much to take in.

Therefore, our brain begins to focus less on trying everything for ourselves and more on developing some rules to help us navigate the endless complexity of the world before us. We adopt most of these rules from our parents and teachers. But many of them we figure out for ourselves.

These new values are more sophisticated because they’re abstract. The little kid thinks, “Ice cream is awesome, therefore I want ice cream.” The adolescent thinks, “Ice cream is awesome, but stealing stuff pisses my parents off and I will get punished; therefore, I’m not going to take the ice cream from the freezer.” The adolescent applies rules and principles to her decision making in a way that a young child cannot.

As a result, an adolescent learns that strictly pursuing your own pleasure and avoiding pain can cause problems. Actions have consequences. You must negotiate your own desires with the desires of those around you. You must play by the rules of society and authority, and then you will, more often than not, be rewarded.

As a result, some general principles begin to emerge in our minds.

This, quite literally, is maturity in action: developing higher-level and more abstract principles to enhance decision making in a wider range of contexts. This is how you adjust to the world, how you learn to handle the seemingly infinite permutations of experience. It is a major cognitive leap for children and fundamental to growing up in a healthy, happy way.1

When we’re toddlers, we are learning to see the world in terms of cause and effect. Of pleasure vs pain. This is why young kids are like little sociopaths. They cannot conceive of anything in life beyond what is immediately pleasurable or painful for them at any given moment. They cannot feel empathy. They cannot imagine what life is like in your shoes. 

What happens when we get older is we begin to understand that there are multiple consequences to any single action and many of them affect us either indirectly or at some point in the future.

The knowledge of pleasure and pain is still there in these older children. It’s just that pleasure and pain no longer direct most decision making. They are no longer the basis of our values. Older children weigh their personal feelings against their understanding of rules, trade-offs, and the social order around them to plan and make decisions.

Nothing is done for its own sake. Everything is a calculated trade-off, usually made out of fear of the negative repercussions.

HOW TO BE AN ADULT

Bargaining with rules and the social order allows us to be functioning human beings in the world. But ideally, after some time, we will begin to realize that the whole world cannot always be bargained with, nor should we subject every aspect of our life to a series of transactions.

The most precious and important things in life cannot be bargained with. To try to do so destroys them.

You cannot conspire for happiness. It is impossible. But often this is what people try to do, especially when they seek out self-help and other personal development advice — they are essentially saying, “Show me the rules of the game I have to play; and I’ll play it.” Not realizing that it’s the fact that they think there are rules to happiness that’s actually preventing them from being happy.

When you achieve adulthood, you realize that viewing some relationships and pursuits as transactions guts them of all joy and meaning. That living in a world where everything is bargained for enslaves you to other people’s thoughts and desires rather than freeing you to pursue your own. To stand on your own two feet, you must be willing to sometimes stand alone.

Adulthood is the realization that sometimes an abstract principle is right and good for its own sake. The same way that the adolescent realizes there’s more to the world than the child’s pleasure or pain, the adult realizes that there’s more to the world than the adolescent’s constant bargaining for validation, approval, and satisfaction. The adult does what is right for the simple reason that it is right. End of discussion.

WHAT LEVEL ARE YOUR VALUES ON?

The truth is, it’s hard to detect what level our values are on. This is because we tell ourselves all sorts of elaborate stories to justify what we want.

It’s clear, then, that we can’t trust our own interpretations of our actions. There’s a small mountain of psychological evidence to support this: we feel something first, then we justify it later with some story we tell ourselves. And that story is usually highly biased and vastly overestimates how noble and selfless we were.6

Therefore, we must learn to distrust our thoughts. We must become skeptical of the interpretations of our own actions. Instead, we must focus on the actions themselves.

Thoughts can lie. Interpretations can be changed or forgotten. But actions are permanent. Therefore, the only way to get at your values — to truly understand what you value and what you do not — is to observe your actions.

These are things you come to understand about yourself because you question not only your actions but your interpretations of your own actions. You must sit and think critically about yourself and about what you’ve chosen to care about, not through word, but through deed.

Ultimately, this is what it means to “know thyself” — to know your own values, to have a clear understanding of your actions and what motivates them, to understand what level of maturity you’re operating on.

It’s this process of aligning your self-interpretation with your actions that gives you control over your life and your actions. It’s this alignment that allows you to feel a sense of meaning and fulfillment in your life. To become happy and healthy. It’s this alignment that allows you to grow up.

HOW TO GROW UP

It’s this willingness to die that leads to adulthood. Adulthood occurs when one realizes that the only way to conquer suffering is to become unmoved by suffering. Adulthood occurs when one realizes that it’s better to suffer for the right reasons than to feel pleasure for the wrong reasons. Adulthood occurs when one realizes that it’s better to love and lose than to never love at all.

An adult accepts that there are some ways of living life that are worse than not living at all. And because they recognize this, they are able to act boldly in the face of their own shame or fears.

Source: