Peter Pan

Do You Have Peter Pan Syndrome?

What is Peter Pan Syndrome? Do you remember Peter Pan? You know the boy who doesn’t grow up. I mean, who doesn’t want to stay a child forever? Life was easy as a child, less responsibility, more fun, and way fewer worries to consume our days with.

But, as an adult there comes a time when you have to grow up. At some point, you need to take on adult responsibilities and shift your priorities. Sadly, we don’t live in a magical realm where we can remain children forever.   Growing up and shifting priorities is not a smooth transition for everyone. It is for this reason that Psychology has coined the phrase Peter Pan Syndrome to describe the struggle some adults have with this change.

What are some of the characteristics of Peter Pan Syndrome?

  1. Unwillingness to work hard when you aren’t motivated.

    We all know how hard it can be to get things done when you don’t feel like doing something. Unfortunately, being an adult sometimes means doing things you don’t want to do.

  2. Dabbling in many different things.

    Rather than focusing your time on honing one skill, a person who has Peter Pan Syndrome might spend their time trying a bunch of different things because they can’t pinpoint the one skill they want to master.

  3. Aversion to networking.

    Meeting successful people in your chosen field can be challenging, but essential if you want a job or move up in your company. You have to put yourself out there, talk and learn from others.

  4. Focusing on the long shot.

    We are all told to dream big, but at some point, you might need to shift gears from trying to make it big as a musician or a film star and instead focusing on a more realistic area of interest. Maybe instead of trying to be a multi-billionaire rockstar, you become a music teacher. Or instead of focusing all your energy on being a successful actor, teach a theatre class.

  5. Abusing alcohol and drugs.

    These types of behaviors while often linked to addiction or other mental health conditions, can make finding and keeping a successful job difficult. It can make adulting that much harder to do.

  6. Blaming your failure on an external source.

    Often, those having difficulty growing up don’t want to accept that they aren’t successful in their careers because they aren’t motivated to try. Instead, they tend to blame it on something their parents, spouse, or former employer did or said. The truth of the matter is some people have come from war, hunger, poverty, abuse and have come out successful. It is all about finding the motivation to go after the life you want.

If you identify with one or more of these characteristics, you should consider speaking with a licensed mental health professional, life coach, or career counselor who can provide guidance. The first thing you should realize is that in order to be successful in a career you will have to grow up – no matter how hard that may seem. If that is challenging for you, there are tools that can help. Anyone can succeed in life and career, it will just take some willingness to make changes.

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