The Truth About Becoming An Adult

10/22/2015 02:57 PM ET
Updated Oct 22, 2016

What are some important, but uncomfortable truths that many people learn when transitioning into adulthood? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Mira Zaslove, Fortune 500 manager, on Quora.

I've managed teams of talented, smart, and hardworking people as they grew into adulthood. The following are a some truths that many find uncomfortable.

Mistakes and failure are a good thing.

We all hate to make mistakes and it sucks to fail. However, experience is the best way to learn, and we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Transitioning into adulthood means making the most of experiences. And mistakes and failure are less dangerous than complacency and playing it safe.

The most successful members of my team were not the ones who never made a mistake. They were the people who pushed themselves, had the courage to try new things and were comfortable falling, and getting back up.

Something that surprised me as a hiring manager, and surprises me still: people who made the most money, were not the ones who were the smartest, the most talented, or even most valuable -- they were the ones who asked for the most. Sure, by asking for a lot, they were often told no. But, eventually someone said yes.

Similarly, the people who have been the most successful five years out, were not always perfect. They were the ones who made mistakes, learned from them, and adjusted. A member of my team and good friend is now making great money, loving his work and his life, when just sixteen months ago his fingernails were falling out due to stress.

He had a few temporary setbacks, but always kept pushing forward, and never saw himself as a failure. He didn't quit when the going got tough, or try to avoid his problems. He was mature, acted like an adult, and faced issues head on, and was able to achieve what very few people believed he could. Had he never taken these chances, or tried to avoid issues, he would not be as happy or as successful.

People will let you down, and that is OK.

Being an adult, often means accepting that not everything is about you. People will be awesome and then they will betray you. It's natural to take people's actions and attitudes personally. But it's usually not about you. It's about them. People do what they believe is in their best interest, at the time.

People aren't always rational. It's easy to waste a lot of time and energy worrying about what other people think, and it's completely futile. I saw people growing into adults as they began to understand that most things in life are not personal. People are pretty self-centered and that is ok. Understanding this makes understanding others a lot easier.

Similarly, I saw people maturing when they stopped worrying about what other people were doing or thinking.

Transitioning into adulthood, often means taking responsibility for your own actions and doing things for yourself and not for others. It also means not expecting too much of others. You will outgrow people, and a painful truth is that you are often better off without some of your friends.

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