4 Stages Of Life: Which One Are You In?

Developmental stages make a lot of sense to me. I even named my practice the Stathas Life Development Center. The universe evolves, people evolve, relationships evolve, careers evolve – in stages. There are many perspectives on these various evolutions. I want to focus here on your individual stages of life. Yes, YOU!

Mark Manson offers his unique perspective in an article entitled, “The Four Stages Of Life”. I share his paradigm, along with my added commentary.


As a child you are wired to learn by watching and mimicking others. You learned to do physical things, developed social skills, and fit into cultural norms – all by observing and mimicking. You were dependent on the people in your environment. Hopefully you had good parents, teachers, and mentors that have helped you to be your best self.  That will determine how long you were stuck in this stage. Manson says that a “normal” healthy stage one period usually will last until late adolescence and early adulthood. Again, this is a dependent stage. There is not much independent thought and personal values.


Stage One, you learned to fit in with the people and culture around you. Two is about learning with makes you different from the people and culture that have “wired” you. Stage Two requires the ability to begin making decisions for yourself, to test yourself, and to understand what makes you unique. This involves a lot of trial and error experimentation. You try out new places to live, people to hang around with, romantic relationships, careers, belief systems, etc… . This is your time of self discovery. Stage Two lasts until you run into your own limitations. You learned what works for you and what does not. You developed a life that works, or you are stuck here. This movement toward independence usually lasts from late adolescence into your mid 20’s to 30’s.


At this time you are expected to make your mark in this world. There is a significant consolidation at this stage. Your knowledge, independence and self confidence enable you to cut out people, activities, and hobbies than drain you and add nothing to your movement forward. You make choices that work for you, bring out the best in you. You get it done by maximizing your potential. Thus, you build your legacy. This stage usually lasts from your 30ish years to retirement.


People in Stage Four have spent much of their life investing themselves in what was believed to be meaningful and important. The age has come where energy and circumstances no longer allow further contributions. The goal of this stage is to know your legacy and do your best to ensure that it lasts beyond your death. Stage Four is important psychologically because it makes the ever growing reality of your death more bearable. You found meaning. You made a contribution. Your life had purpose. The world is a better place because of you. Smell the roses and hold on!

Respected Reader, can you identify with these stages? Which ones are most challenging? How “developed” are you in that you have become independent, found your identity, made your contribution, and are enjoying your legacy? (Obviously this is dependent on your age) What’s left to accomplish? Are you up for it? Anything holding you back?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”  Socrates

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