Why some naïvety will drive your success

Society values maturity.  From my experience as a student, I find it’s seen as a valuable asset in academic settings because it’s often correlated with exceptional grades, summer internship plans, campus jobs, and top graduate school offers by the end of a student’s senior year.  I agree that maturity is valuable, especially if you’re in a setting where the trait is more difficult to find.  I think mature people make good leaders.  But I think a certain level of immaturity is essential for success too.

So it’s completely clear, I’m using the Merriam-Webster definition of naïvety, “deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgement.”  Immaturity is also listed as a synonym, so I will think of the two concepts as similar and alter between the two throughout this thought.

I think of it like this: maturity represents informed judgement and a greater sense of understanding surrounding a situation.  That’s why I think mature people make good leaders: they can predict and easily understand the consequences behind their actions and how these will affect all of the involved parties.  Basically, mature people maintain an advanced understanding of cause and effect and plan accordingly.  They also maintain a certain level of life experience or can relate similarities of past life experiences to a given situation for guidance.

These abilities produce success, and I understand why they’re valued.  And, if I’m being honest, I believe that, in the balance of maturity and naïvety, one might maximize the first quality for optimum success.

Given this, I find that a certain degree of immaturity is important.

Part of being mature is understanding risks versus rewards.  Pretend you’re given the chance to move to an unknown location for a possible job opportunity with a prestigious company.  If someone sees the risks in this situation, such they might scare themselves out of the opportunity and shy away from it, dismissing it as implausible or a waste of time.  However, people with less experience and more innocence might snatch the opportunity because they don’t understand the implications of not being offered the job.  And, if they get the position, they’ve immediately elevated their careers, simply because they took the chance.

That’s why immaturity benefits us as young individuals–it gets us to take risks.  You hear of young musicians, comedians, and actors who packed up their pre-millenial Sedans in small-town Iowa to move to Los Angeles in search of stardom.  I believe that there’s a certain innocence that accompanies risking what is for what could be, particularly when given immeasurable odds.

I feel like, on average, younger people are more prone to feeling invincible–nothing can hurt them, and they bounce back immediately.  Thus, if we know we can recover, the risks associated with our out-there decisions can be more easily downplayed.

I think that when we’re young, we’re finding out what we’re capable of, and we’re testing our boundaries in every aspect of our lives.  Sure, we’ll make mistakes, but it’s that youth that’s driving us to reach out optimal potential–that success that everyone craves.



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