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15 Things Independent People Don’t Do

15 Things Independent People Don’t Do

Do you think you are an independent person? Being independent has many benefits; you rarely need to rely on others and you question the world around you.

Check out 15 things independent people don’t do.

1. They Don’t Need Help Handling Situations

Independent people prefer to handle their own situations, even the good ones. They dislike others speaking for them and feel powerful for making their own decisions. From a new job offer to what to buy at the supermarket, independent people often avoid asking others for advice.

2. They Don’t See Themselves As Victims

People who see themselves as victims often need others to save them, whereas independent people prefer to take responsibility for their actions. They understand that self-pity can get you down, so they avoid this way of thinking. Instead, they accept their mistakes and move on.

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3. They Don’t Overreact To Bad News

Independent people try to learn from all of their mistakes rather than hoping someone else will fix them. They do not overreact when confronted with bad news—they see mistakes as a learning process that will help them to make better decisions in the future.

4. They Don’t Blindly Believe Everything

Independent people question the world around them, and often seek the truth, rather than accepting the first thing they hear. They understand that trust is a gift that must be earned and regularly question people and authorities.

5. They Don’t Let Negative People Affect Them

Independent people do not let negative people bring them down–they do not need reassurance about their lives, and they are too busy getting on with life to pay much thought to negative comments.

6. They Don’t Judge Others With Different Opinions

Independent people understand that it is wrong to look down on others. They accept other people’s beliefs. They know that their personal experiences and independent lifestyle helped to form their opinions and they understand different people have different personal experiences.

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They don’t feel the need to argue about opinions, as they are secure in their own beliefs—instead, they are more likely to let the subject go so they can focus on any similarities they may have.

7. They Avoid Being Negative About Others

Independent people are too busy getting on with their own lives to involve themselves in the lives of others. People who comment negatively on other people’s lives often have empty, dull lives themselves—someone who is independent would take the time to fill their own lives with joy and meaning, rather than bring others down.

8. They Don’t Let Impulse Rule Them

While everyone can be occasionally impulsive, independent people do not let impulses rule their lives. They try to remain in control of their lives at all times, so they understand the possible consequences of being impulsive. If the impulse could take away their independence—such as a financial risk—they may be less likely to go through with it.

9. They End Bad Relationships

From romantic relationships to friendships, independent people end any relationship that has become toxic. Independent people do not rely on many people, and negative actions from others will rarely deeply affect them—they will simply cut their losses and move on.

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10. They Don’t Neglect Their Well-being

An essential part of being truly independent is being able to take care of your own physical and mental needs. Independent people try to ensure they get everything their body needs, from food and water to sleep and socializing. They don’t have to rely on other people to socialize, and their mom doesn’t need to remind them to eat their greens—they get it done anyway.

11. They Do Not Need Approval From Others

Independent thinkers trust their own judgement more than others, so they rarely ask others if they approve of their decisions. They trust that they had enough information to make an educated decision, and that itself is enough.

12. They Don’t Take Too Long To Make Decisions

If you are an independent thinker, you will see there are rarely any good reasons to put off making a decision—especially since they understand the decision is their choice and no one else’s. Independent thinkers assess all of the information available to them, and use it to make a reasonable and quick decision.

13. They Don’t Believe Every Question Has Been Answered

Independent thinkers are often naturally curious, and they don’t believe every question has been answered. They also believe some questions are too complex to be answered by a simple textbook explanation.

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14. They Don’t Let Others Tell Them What Is Right

Independent people do not let society and other people tell them how to behave or what is right and wrong. Instead, they use all of the information available to them to make sure they can find the most accurate answer.

15. They Don’t Have Unrealistic Expectations

Having unrealistic expectations is a sure-fire way to end up feeling unhappy and dissatisfied. An important part of being a strong, independent person is to be realistic about your skills, abilities, and expectations—this way you can focus on achieving genuine personal goals.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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