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Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A.

How Mature Are You? The California Maturity Index (CMI)

Know anyone who needs to grow up?

Thinking ahead requires using one’s mind, something that fewer and fewer people know where to locate, much less know how to use.

Not having the success, happiness or long term satisfaction in your career or with your family, friends and life? Maybe you and some of the people you know are just immature.

How mature are you or someone you know?

California Maturity Index (CMI)™*

(Rate the following statements about one of your friends and family or yourself: 1 = rarely; 2 = sometimes; 3 = nearly always)


  1. I pause before I speak
  2. I consider the consequences of my actions before I act
  3. I weigh the pluses and minuses of decisions before I make them


  1. I come up with long term goals
  2. I develop a plan for reaching those goals
  3. I develop a plan for dealing with potential derailers from staying on track to those long term goals

Accepting Consequences

  1. I believe the results that I see
  2. I accept non-begrudgingly the consequences of my decisions and actions rather than rejecting them
  3. I agree to deal with the consequences of my decisions and actions rather than fight them

Being Accountable

  1. I accept it is my responsibility to deal with the consequences of my decisions and actions
  2. I commit to actions to deal with the consequences of my decisions and actions
  3. I commit to a schedule for taking those actions and agree to further consequences of not following through on them by the agreed time


12 – 19: You’re highly immature - it’s nearly impossible for you to delay gratification and is impossible for you to willingly and calmly accept full responsibility for the consequences of your impulsive decisions. You tend to be a hostile, belligerent blamer and grudge holder. If left unchecked, you run the risk of feeling bitter at the end of your life.

20– 27: You’re immature – you can occasionally delay gratification and although you’re not happy about the negative consequences of your hasty actions, you don’t go ballistic. You’re not as hostile in your blaming, but you have a sizable unforgiving streak in your personality. At the end of your life, you run the risk of feeling depressed and unfulfilled.

28 – 36: You’re mature – your decisions are more guided by your core values which extend beyond your personal needs and wants to others and when things don’t work out, you’re disappointed, but you rarely blame others (even if they are at fault) and instead focus on fixing problems that arise, correcting your course and moving forward. You are the kind of person that people feel honored and privileged to know. At the end of your life, you have the possibility of feeling satisfied, fulfilled and of being respected, admired, appreciated and beloved.

If you really want to help yourself and some of the people you know grow up and have a better life, use the CMI™ with them by having them: a) rate themselves, b) rate you on it. After they do that, ask them to c) rate themselves the way they believe you would rate them. Follow that by asking them why they gave those ratings in those three categories.

Then ask them what they believe the relationship is between their rating and the respect, trust, confidence and regard that others have in them. Finally, have a dialogue with them about what specific behavioral changes they would need to do to improve their ratings and then discuss what you plan to do to improve your ratings and ask for their input about that.  Then ask them if you and they can revisit those commitments informally every month to see how both of you are coming along.

*The CMI™ was created by Mark Goulston was called such because both Mark lives in California and as a state it seems to take pride in being immature.


About the Author

Mark Goulston, M.D., the author of the book Just Listen, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute.