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5 Ways To Be More Independent

5 Ways To Be More Independent

Have you ever wanted to be less reliant on others and be more independent? Do you have moments when you wish you could be more self-reliant and let those close to you worry less about you?

People who are independent seem to know what they want and how to go for it. They appear more confident and happier. They can take care of themselves and others as well. They appear to have their own thoughts and they are not easily influenced by the opinions of others. They are the go-getters when it comes to their decisions and actions, sometimes like a maverick. They take responsibility for themselves, their thoughts, and their actions.

If you have always thought about standing on your own two feet but are still unsure about how and where to start, here are five ways you can get on your way to being more independent.

Know Who You Are

You can only be who you want to be when you know who you are. Find out who you are at your core.

What makes you happy? What irks you? What are your favourites? What are your non-negotiables? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are the things that you really enjoy doing and would hate to compromise for others? What decisions do you make for yourself? Are they major life decisions, or are they mini-choices you make on daily basis? What do you stand for?

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When you know who you are, you will be able to work on ways to improve yourself and gain the freedom that you want. Only when you understand yourself, will you be able to embark on your own journey to independence. Get clear about what you want to achieve before you start working towards it.

Take Back Your Power

One of the major factors of being independent is to be free from the control of others. Learn to rely less on others to do things for you, to take care of you and to make decisions for you.

How well are you taking care of yourself? What does your family say about you when it comes to being independent? Do you always need them to bail you out? Do you manage your spaces well (cleanliness of your room, car, or desk)? How can you demonstrate to them that you won’t be a cause of worry? Take your power back.

Do you constantly lean to others for support? Do you have trouble speaking your mind because you don’t seem to have a voice of your own? Are you often swayed by the opinions of others? Perhaps there are times when you already have a decision in mind but a word from your best friend or a comment from your sibling made you change your mind, and you wonder why you could never make the decision for yourself. The more you lean to others for approval, the harder it is for you to be independent.

When you lean on others for approval or permission to decide, you are giving your power away to others. Start taking your power back and you will slowly free yourself from the control of others. Learn to accept your own decisions, get comfortable with decision-making, and build up from there. The more you practise decision-making, the more you will learn to be more comfortable with the decisions you make — even though at times you may make mistakes.

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Practice Thinking Independently

Thinking independently means exploring your choices, weighing the options for yourself, seeking opinions from others (for reference, not approval), and making the call for yourself. Perhaps it might end up being a wrong call, but that does not mean that you should stop and give your power back to others.

For instance, you might want to move out of your parents’ house after you have graduated and found a job — which is great, except that your close-knit family objects to that idea. It might help to explore why they do not agree with you moving out. Could it be finances? Could it be that you are the youngest and everyone dotes on you so much that they worry about you living alone? Maybe they’re worried that you will visit less?

What other reasons could there be? How can you inform them of your decisions while considering their doubts? Have you always been good at taking care of yourself? If not, how can you start? That might mean you start making your own bed, making sure you have regular meals, taking care of your health, handling your own rent and bills, and so on.

Part of being independent also means thinking for others. When you think from the perspective of others, you might be able to gain deeper insights and apply them to various aspects of your life. Understanding that there are two sides (or more) to a situation may let you view situations differently and more objectively.

Ask

Being self reliant also means that you know when to seek assistance. When you are lost or confused and you want to give up your power and allow others to decide for you, remember that you have the option to ask for help when you need it.

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Don’t know how to cook? Learn by watching step-by-step cooking videos or printing recipes.

Not sure which course to take for your degree? Find a few people who have done the course you are interested in and ask them for their advice, but use their feedback as reference and not as a decision-making call.

Asking for help does not mean you are weak or surrendering your control further. It means you are strong enough to find out what you need to do to move forward.

Explore

The more you explore, the more avenues you will find available to you.

You can explore by visiting new places, or you can tap into the minds of others through reading well-written books. Learn from others how they handled various situations in life that you have no exposure to.

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Attend events when available and ask questions. Absorb the experiences of others and apply them to your own situation when you can.

There are many other ways to explore — solo traveling where you instantly learn to be more independent, volunteering yourself to be a team leader for a project, making your daily small choices without consulting anyone, embarking on other projects like craft projects or baking without depending on anyone, and so on.

In Conclusion

Sometimes, we get pushed into situations where we have no choice but to grow overnight. Though it can be necessary for our survival and our development as individuals, it can be hard on us to learn things the hard way.

When we proactively learn to be more independent so that we live our lives with control, we are generally empowering ourselves to think and act based on what we think is right for us and those we care for.

We need to learn to be independent in this interdependent world because that is how our individuality arises and how we grow to be more of who we are, not how others want us to be.

Today, be responsible for yourself and start taking steps to live with more independence.

Featured photo credit: PablO via pablo.buffer.com

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

1. Always Have a Book

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

3. Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4. Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said,

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

5. Put it Into Practice

Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

6. Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

7. Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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8. Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

9. Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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11. Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

12. Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

13. The Morning Fifteen

Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14. Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15. Make Learning a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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