True independence is self-governance. It is about being completely self-reliant. However, in a world where staying connected to everyone is important, we lend ourselves to many other groups and organizations. It is worth wondering what is independence.
Mental independence is freedom of the mind. It just might be the most important form of autonomy. An unshackled mind will have all doors open to you. The problem is that we live in the influencer age. Being influenced by media isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is easier to be influenced when media consumption is prominent.
The way we think affects our behavior and as a result, the fruit of our labors without consciously thinking about it, we can model our actions on the things we see and admire. It’s part of human nature to belong to a herd. Part of who we are is reflected in the groups we associate with. With that in mind, do we see our social circle as indicative of the characteristics we have, or do we associate with those we want to copy the behaviors from?
This could be a form of survival since we are herd animals. We can’t be attacked or persecuted if we blend into the masses. Worse yet, it could be from the unwillingness to become self-sufficient. A mindset like that could result from many things; low self-esteem, a lack of desire, or maybe plain laziness. It is difficult — and maybe it shouldn’t be — to become wholly independent. It takes a mature mind to accomplish that, if it were easy, then maybe it would be taken for granted.
For many, though, the most practical form of independence comes from money. It is the currency around which everything is built. We cannot deny the power it holds over our lives. When we decide to enter the workforce, it is out of necessity as most do not have the luxury of landing their dream jobs. Living life as you had initially planned seems like a myth — a mere fantasy for all of the starry-eyed children.
This is a direct contradiction of what we were told growing up. We were pushed to work as hard as we can and eventually it will pay off if we check all the right boxes. As it turns out, we weren’t told lies, but they were half-truths that never satisfied the reality of financial freedom. We were never told what the “right boxes” were. That’s not because we had negligent advisors; it’s just impossible to know what those right boxes are. Each situation is different and requires a different kind of action.
Being made aware of this, one thing is for certain, though: inaction is not the way forward.
Financial freedom gives us the ability to pursue the things we enjoy and still maintain ourselves. Ideally, every man (an island) should be able to sustain himself with all that surrounds him. To achieve that, it is a matter of understanding how to do that. Everything we know comes from our environment. This is our home, school, work, and other places of socializing.
It seems as if most of our socializing are done online through social media and the time we spend in this virtual reality seems to increase. If this continues to reflect, then we should look to find ways of advancing our independence rather than fall into crowds. It is much too easy to get sucked into the mass of common opinion. Creating a self-sustaining environment means filtering the information you should receive and using it to your advantage.