The Maturity Continuum

The maturity continuum is a concept found in the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.


By definition, maturity is a process leading to growth and development, while continuum refers to the continuous incremental nature of growth and progression. As we grow-up from infant to adulthood our maturity increases in its level from being highly dependent to independent.

However being dependent and/or independent is limited to only certain areas of our life according to the author. Because there is a lot of things in life that we humans are actually interdependent. Thus, the highest level of maturity is interdependence.

Dependence            : You need others to get what you want (attitude of you)

Independence        : You get what you want through your own effort (attitude of I)

Interdependence   : Cooperate together to accomplish what we want (attitude of we)

So interdependence is akin to marriage, it’s not about I or you but rather is about we. But there is a catch and that is, if you and i are not independent than we cannot be interdependent. Why is it so? Because we cannot learn to cooperate with other people until we have learned self-mastery which is an integral part of being independent.

The seven habits as depicted in the diagram are divided into the two large groups of independent and interdependence. Being proactive, begin with an end in mind and put first things first are all related about you and not other people. Only when you have successfully disciplined yourself in this three habits can you effectively work with others. This is once again what the author describe to be an inside out approach.

For a more deeper understanding of the concept, do check out The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.