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Human beings are born with the potential for thoughtful behavior but it requires experience and rumination on that experience to grow to maturity. Traditional education gives people some knowledge and tools for performing the various tasks which society deems essential for maintaining a functioning economy. However, it is conversation with friends about the meaning and interrelationship of the conflicting factors of society which develops a person from childhood through adolescence and on to adulthood. Moving on from adulthood to the next level of maturity requires something more because a mature person not only takes care of himself and to maximize his own wellbeing but also strives to help his social group to fulfill its needs. This process is helped by conversation with adult people but because these people are still locked into self aggrandizement they will have difficulty in seeing the world from the overview which is needed by a mature person. Thus to move into maturity a person must have thoughtful interaction with mature people and they must ruminate on what they discover so they can integrate it into their own behavior. This doesn’t require greater than normal intelligence but it does require somehow finding the right people to think about and some considerable amount of quiet time with which to ruminate and integrate.

The very pertinent question becomes, who are these mature people whom we are to observe carefully if we are to become mature ourselves? They are the people who are responsible for other people and who have had years experience in that role. What must be observed most carefully is not what these mature people say publicly, although that is important, but to find out what they are thinking about when they are ruminating on the problems confronting them. For example: Winston Churchill is famous for his blood, toil, tears ans sweat, speech. It was far from a casual extemporaneous speech according to his daughter. She said he practiced that speech for days, with many variations, as he did with his other speeches. Early in WW II Churchill was the primary factor aligned against Hitler but he didn’t spend much of his time thinking about weapons and strategy apparently but rather on how to keep his people focused and motivated toward achieving the eventual goal. He accomplished those goals with well honed speeches by anticipating and mentally preparing for future actions.

Reading memoirs of the people actually making momentous decisions for which they know they will be held accountable will give a mature person insights in how they might behave themselves. Reading their unedited diaries would be best because people embellish their own memories to what they were actually thinking at the time to justify what they later did in fact.

Leaders who were responsible for large numbers of other people and therefore needed a large support staff are particularly good candidates. They are to be studied carefully especially if they were able of getting really capable subordinates and keep them honest and dedicated to a difficult and probably unpopular task. Pay particular attention to how they deal with apparent defeat. Mature people probably learn most from observing other mature people’s behavior.

It takes good intelligence and considerable ruminating on experience to develop maturity to its fullest.