French philosopher Albert Camus famously said that our lives are the sum of the choices we make.

Do you believe it?

It’s easy to dismiss Camus’ statement as a motivational quote that sounds like it was birthed in the 1990s by motivational speakers Tony Robbins and Les Brown.

However, if you take a closer look, this statement has a nugget.

The problem is that wisdom takes a long time to acquire. By the time life finally makes sense, many people are too old to do anything about it and are filled with regrets.

And the longer it takes individuals to mature, the less quality of life there is to enjoy.

For INTJs, it is essential to mature sooner than later because the impact of choices is more visceral.

But when do INTJs mature?

As a first-born INTJ, the weight of responsibility and expectations forced me to mature sooner than my peers.

This didn’t mean that I had life figured out. It meant that any irreparable decisions that I made early on would have devastating consequences on my ambitions.

And I was determined not to let that happen.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines mature as (1) Having or showing the mental and emotional qualities of an adult and (2) Having reached a final or desired state.

As a self-proclaimed philosopher and social scientist, I needed to make the right decisions, so that my thinking, reflections, and writing would convey a well-examined life. I took Aristotle’s dictum that “…The unexamined life is not worth living…” literally.

Although I exhibited signs of maturity during my elementary and high school years, I had not laid the foundation of my principles and process for achieving consistent goals until my late 40s and early 50s.

Writer Samantha Olson in her article, Men Mature After Women — 11 Years After, To Be Exact — A British Study Reveals said:

…According to the study, commissioned by Nickelodeon UK, the average man doesn’t reach full emotional maturity until age 43, while women mature by age 32.

Researchers Judith G. Dey and Charles R. Pierret reported that:

By age 27, a majority of millennials born between 1980 and 1984 had moved out of their parental homes. However, more than half of them had returned home after initially leaving, and over 20 percent were still living with their parents at age 27.

Kathleen Elkins, senior money reporter at CNBC Make It reported that:

According to compensation research firm PayScale, pay growth for college-educated men essentially stops at age 49. For college-educated women, it’s decidedly younger: at age 40.

Based on an analysis of the socialization process as it relates to independence, financial literacy, self-control, and self-efficacy, INTJs mature fully between the ages of 43-49.

Introverts may show signs of maturity sooner than extroverts

A case can be made that INTJs may show signs of maturity sooner than extroverts because introverts observe and are more sensitive to the nuances of human behavior than extroverts.

Glenn Leibowitz, a contributor writer for INC. magazine, in his article, Yale Psychologists: Introverts are Better than Extroverts at Performing This Essential Leadership Skill referred to a study conducted by Yale psychologists that determined that introverts were better at deciphering human nature and social cues over extroverts because of introverts’ high degree of insight, sensitivity, and self-awareness.

Researchers reported that introverts exhibited natural social psychological skills. INTJs are better positioned to mature and excel than their extroverted counterparts in the current generation.

Tim Elmore, founder, and president of Growing Leaders said:

You may have noticed a paradox among students today. Although there are exceptions, this generation is advanced intellectually, but behind emotionally. They are missing many of the marks of maturity they should possess.

Writer Raven Ishak listed the signs when an individual has not matured as the following:

  • You haven’t emotionally separated from your parents.
  • You don’t feel in charge of your own life.
  • You’re financially dependent on others.
  • You don’t have self-control.
  • You don’t like to be alone.
  • You never admit you’re wrong.
  • You always blame others.
When do INTJs mature?

What changes occur when an INTJ starts to mature?

I overcame some arrested development within myself. Because I opted not to have any children, the empathy I see in many parents, I don’t have.

I am more Mr. Spock than Dr. Oz.

However, having children to merely care more is ludicrous. I care through my intellect and believe several changes occur when an INTJ starts to mature.

Here are several ideas to consider:

Living systematically

Systems train the will not from joy, pleasure, and entertainment but achievement, personal growth, and self-actualization.

Society is a tangential recipient of progress when INTJs train their will for self-improvement.

Living within a system allows INTJs to become divorced from insecurity, procrastination, and self-delusion.

Invariably, living within a system obliterates failure, regret, and sorrow.

Why?

Because undisciplined individuals become leeches on society to merely survive.

INTJs have the propensity and temperament to adopt and commit to systems because they spend a great deal in solitude contemplating the problems of the world and the possible solutions.

Without a process for identifying, diagnosing, solving, and reevaluating solutions, INTJs are trapped within their minds without the benefit of creating intellectual property that moves society along.

Becoming self-reliant

INTJs become “Powers that be” through their creations. They may not be CEOs or captains of industries but create systems within systems. In other words, INTJs will always work for themselves even if employed by others. They are the ultimate “free agents,” and will never fully commit to any structure that they didn’t build. Invariably, a corporation is run by mere individuals who manipulate and control the levers of the enterprise. INTJs know this and will never concede to neophytes and dilettantes taking over their world or “Free-will.”

For these masterminds, self-reliance is never having to ask for permission. Yes, some things require approval, but INTJs’ moral codes are higher than the people they report to. Consequently, with their self-created systems, they circumvent supervisors and cohorts as much as possible or merely tolerate them.

Staying inwardly focused

It has been said that intuition is merely distilled experience. In other words, the longer you live, the better you can spot trends and patterns of behavior.

Consequently, before proceeding with any decision, INTJs map out potential outcomes.

They exhibit self-confidence by consistently making good decisions and taking proper actions.

They rarely second guess the inner dialogue that has served them reliably throughout their life.

A fine-tuned inner voice allows INTJs to not go astray.

Speaking economically

Many INTJs enjoy keeping their thoughts and ideas to themselves or sharing predominately with close friends.

Speaking economically and measurably causes people to lean in and want to hear more of their insights and observations.

Speaking economically also creates an air of mystery by leaving listeners wanting more—the more calculated your communication, the more curious the listener.

Embracing existentialism

Jean-Paul Sartre was a French novelist, playwright, and philosopher. Sarte is revered as a leading thinker on the concept of existentialism.

One of Sartre’s famous quotes undergirds the basis of his concept, “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

Referencing Sartre’s existentialism, Author Tarun Mittal said:

Jean-Paul Sartre believed that human beings live in constant anguish, not solely because life is miserable, but because we are ‘condemned to be free’. While the circumstances of our birth and upbringing are beyond our control, he reasons that once we become self-aware (and we all do eventually), we must make choices — choices that define our very ‘essence’ (para. 3).

Choosing effectiveness over popularity

Once, I became angry with myself for choosing popularity over effectiveness.

Soon after, I assumed a “Take no prisoners” approach to life.

I would begin networking in spaces where like-minded people frequented.

I would cut off friends I had not heard from in years and who were valueless to my long-term goals.

I didn’t realize it then, but I discovered that I had been missing a team when I met the woman who would become my wife.

I read somewhere that men only ask for help when they can’t accomplish a task independently.

I have found this to be true.

Becoming a thought leader

For INTJs, the secret to becoming a thought leader is to embrace a results-driven method. By merely developing and consistently following a viable process, you can build your influence ethically and profitably by establishing yourself as a trusted advisor.

And the best thing about such a commitment is that it does not cost anything, but time. You wouldn’t be inundated with competition within your chosen niche because many people are looking for shortcuts.

For you, creating and sharing new, and innovative information that solves problems is a calling, if not a crusade.

According to William Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage… and we’re mere players.” In life, what part will you play?

In the end, we are truly the sum of all our choices. INTJs who embrace this idea early in life become masters as they mature.

And mastery is the key to winning in life.

And winning is always better sooner than later.

—Ron Coleman

References

Desan, W. (n.d.). Jean-Paul Sartre. Britannica. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/31sfhDI.

Dey, J.G., and Pierret, C.R. (2014, Dec.). Independence for young millennials: moving out and boomeranging back. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3lBDrlI.

Elkins, K. (2017, Aug. 18). Here’s the age at which you’ll earn the most in your career. CNBC. Retrieved from: https://cnb.cx/3GecwUZ.

Elmore, T. (2012, Nov. 14). The mark of maturity. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3EqH8Cd.

Ishak, R. (2016, Oct. 18). Signs you’re not as mature as you think you are. Bustle. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/31ApBc8.

Mittal, T. (2017, June 21). To be is to be. Jean-Paul Sartre on existentialism and freedom. Your Story. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3lxUDbN.

Pietersen, W. (2017, Feb. 15). Strategy is an art of sacrifice. Columbia Business School. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3doj6fe.

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