Independence is one of the common traits that make up a masculine character. There are several sides to independence however. You can be independent from several things. The mindset to become independent is quite similar for the different areas. Let’s find out what independence is and how to improve it if necessary
If you’re interested in becoming more independent, you might want to read this article about decisiveness. Both traits are related and becoming better in one, will likely improve the other as well.
Check articles about some other traits here;
What is independence?
The word independence gets used in many different contexts. Let’s take a look at the dictionary to see if we can find a general definition.
- “not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting foroneself”
- “not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free”
- “not influenced by the thought or action of others”
- “not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc.”
In short: You don’t care what other people think or do and just do your own thing. Others have no power over you.
Obviously there are some things you can’t be independent from. You’ll have to keep eating food to live. Unless you grow all your food yourself, you have some form of dependence on the people that produce your food.
When we say think about an independent person, we usually think about a few specific things.
Different versions of independence
You can be independent from different things. If you’re independent from one thing, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re independent from everything/anything else.
You can try to become independent of oxygen but I think you’ll find it pretty difficult.
What can you be independent from?
- In other words; F- you money. The option to say not to work or someone because you have enough money to not need what they have to offer. This makes it much easier to do something you like and avoid working for people you don’t.
- You don’t need others to live. You take care of yourself. You don’t need help with anything.
- If you’re an independent thinker you don’t care if other people agree with you or not. You come to your own conclusions and stick to them.
- The opposite of which would be “codependency”. If you’re emotionally independent, you don’t make others (usually a partner) responsible for your emotions. You’re not dependent on your partner for feeling happy with your life.
Those are some of the types of independence people think about when they hear the word.
Why would you want to be independent though?
The benefits of being an independent person
Changing yourself is difficult. Why would you put in the effort to become a more independent person?
There are plenty of reasons;
1. You’ll be happier
If you don’t care about what other people think of you, it can be very liberating. You will be able to do what you want to do. You can do the things that make you happy. The things that are good for your life and your family.
2. You make better decisions
Look around in your social circle. Who are the people that you would like to trade situations with? Who are the people that you wouldn’t want to trade with.
Now how many of the people that you don’t want to trade places with are influencing your decisions in some way or the other?
Sure some people are not as lucky as others but some people just make bad decisions. So if you let those people influence your decisions, you’re going to make worse decisions than you would if you were independent.
That’s not to say you should always listen to the people you would like to trade with. There is a level of luck involved on that side as well.
You should know where you want to go and your base your decisions on that. Then, if you decide to get some advice, you should have a framework that helps you decide if the advice is good or not.
3. You are more likely to reach your goals
As a result of being happier and making better decisions, you are more likely to reach your goals. You think for yourself and are not influenced by the people around you.
Not to say you should never listen to advice but you should only take it from the right people. Don’t listen to financial advice from broke people for example (except as a cautionary tale maybe)
4. Life gets cheaper
Keeping up with the neighbors can get expensive. What if you don’t care what they have or think about you? Maybe you don’t need that new car all of the sudden.
If you don’t care what people think about your stuff anymore, you’re liberated from buying the things that heighten your status to those people.
If you can easily afford to buy a Ferrari and not even notice it, should you buy it? That depends. Do you want it to have other people look up to you? Then you probably shouldn’t. Do you like the car and are looking forward to driving it even if there’s no one else around? Then go for it.
5. Self-esteem and confidence
Not caring about the judgment of others will make you feel more confidence. Which in turn makes being independent a lot easier again.
If you can take care of yourself and your life is improving, that will greatly boost your confidence. Maybe you’re saving some money and you’re starting to move towards your goals. You can turn this into a positive cycle that keeps boosting itself.
Do you always have to be independent?
Independence is generally a good thing.
While it’s not always possible to be completely independent, striving towards it should be a priority. It’s better to have the option and not exercise it than to not have the option. Choosing not to be independent is a choice you can make.
You can only make the choice to be dependent if you can also be independent. Otherwise it’s not a choice.
How can you become more independent?
While it’s easy enough to say; “Don’t care about what others think” or “Just make more money” this isn’t really actionable advice. So what are some things you can do to start on your journey of independence?
0. The most important step
There is one thing that is by far the most important to get right if you’re trying to become a more independent person, regardless of what type of independence you’re going for.
Think about yourself first!!
What does that even mean? Doesn’t everyone always think about themselves? Well, not really. If you keep trying to please others over yourself, you start forgetting what you actually want.
In the back of your head all your decisions are influenced by the people you’re trying to please. While it’s good to think about others, that should be a choice.
The absence of choice to put yourself first means an absence of independence.
A good way to get started with this step is to read this article about courage.
1. Start small
While not everyone starts out as independent as they want to be, the good news is that there are things you can practice.
Certain types of independence depend on your situation but others can be practiced by anyone.
Emotional independence and independent thought can be practiced by almost anyone.
You don’t have to start with the biggest things you can think of.
Skills take practice to develop. Independence can certainly be seen as a skill. So see it as a skill you can practice. Don’t give up if you make a decision that is not perfectly independent.
Try to make more and more decisions that take you towards independence. Nobody is perfect, just try to be better.
3. Be conscious of your goal
Other types of independence need a lot of work for some people. Financial independence is something that many people would like, but few will achieve in a lifetime.
It really depends on your earning power and expenditures if this is possible for you of course. Since buying lottery tickets is not a solution for most people you’ll have to think of something else.
Increasing your earning power while keeping your expenditures low is going to be the most reliable way to financial independence for most people.
This does require you to be mindful of your goal. You have to make different decisions while shopping and might have to work a bit harder to increase your income.
The point being that you have to do things consciously to reach your financial independence.
Other types of independence benefit from this as well. Don’t just sleepwalk through every decision, think about what will turn you into a more independent person in the end. It’s not necessarily a single decision that makes all the difference, all the small ones matter too.
4. Do things alone
Sometimes there are many things influencing your life you don’t even notice. A solution to this is to do more things alone.
Travel alone for a while if you can. You start discovering what you actually want and want to do without others having some control over you.
When you’re by yourself, you are completely responsible for yourself. The experience you get from that is pretty much a crash course in independence.
If you’re not in a position to travel alone for an extended period, try to get what you can. Maybe you could manage a weekend or even just an afternoon. It’s quite important to have alone time to keep in touch with yourself.
Being alone is like pushing a reset button. The influence of others around you is greatly reduced and you can discover your own likes again.