• Saniya

The Maturity Continuum: From "The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People"

Hello All, I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the summer.

I am currently reading "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and the book talks about an interesting topic called the "The Maturity Continuum". This important topic is explained so beautifully that I thought it would be unfair to not share it with you :)

The Maturity Continuum

"Maturity Continuum shows the three maturity states of human beings: 1) Dependent State, 2) Independent State and 3) Interdependent State and how humans evolve from one state to another.


We begin life as an infant and are totally dependent on others. Others direct, nurture and sustain us. Without their care, we would only live for a few hours or a few days at most. Then from there slowly and gradually over the next few months and years, we learn to become more and more independent – physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. At this stage, we can take care of ourselves and hence become inner-directed and self-reliant. As our growth and maturity progresses, we start becoming aware that all of nature is interdependent, and there is a natural ecological system that governs us and the society we live in. We start to appreciate the fact that human life is highly interdependent.


On the maturity continuum, dependence is the paradigm of you – you take care of me; you be there for me; you didn’t come through; I blame you for the consequences. Independence is the paradigm of I – I can do this; I am capable to achieve it; I can choose; I am responsible. Interdependence is the paradigm of we – we can do it; we can cooperate; we can team up and combine our talents to achieve something greater together.


Dependent people rely on others to get what they want. Independent people rely on themselves and their efforts to get what they want. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with others’ efforts to achieve greater success.

Physical dependency can come from being paralyzed, disabled or limited in some physical way. I would require other’s help. Emotional dependence can come from sense of worth and security that comes from other people’s opinions. I would need validation from others. If others didn’t like me, I would be devastated. Intellectual dependence can come from counting on others to do my thinking for me – to think through the struggles and challenges of my life. If I was physically independent, I could make it on my own. If I was emotionally independent, I would be validated from within. If I was mentally independent, I could think of my own thoughts and take care of my life’s issues on my own.


True independence allows us to act rather than be acted upon. It liberates us from our dependence on situational aspects and other people. It is definitely a huge achievement but is not the ultimate success of effective living.


Unfortunately, independent thinking alone is not sufficient for our interdependent reality. If I am independent, but lack the maturity to think and act interdependently, then I may become a good individual producer at best, but I won’t be capable to be a good leader or team player.


Paradigm of interdependence is required to do well in marriage, family and organizations. Life is, by nature, highly interdependent. Interdependence is further along in the maturity continuum. If I am physically interdependent, I am self-sufficient and capable, but I also appreciate that you and I together can achieve a lot more than what I can achieve alone. If I am emotionally interdependent, I recognize my value and self-worth from within, but I also realize the need for love, for togetherness, for giving and for receiving love from others. If I am intellectually interdependent, I can think of my own thoughts, but I also understand that I need the best thinking of other people to join with my own.


Being an interdependent person gives me the opportunity to share myself deeply, meaningfully, with others and I have access to the vast resources and potential of other humans. Interdependence is a choice only available to independent people. Dependent people cannot avail this opportunity. They don’t have the character to it. Unfortunately, they don’t own enough of themselves."


Hope you found it useful. Do share your thoughts!