I’ve spent most of my life abroad. I am continually on the move, living in a new country by myself every few months.
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I am at ease as an ‘outsider,’ and there is much I have internalised about the independent life.
Here’s what I know:
1. Independent people are OK in their own company.
I spend a lot of time alone and yet don’t think I can remember a time when I felt truly lonely.
I have nurtured a comfort in going out alone and being in my own company. Independence requires this because when you can be OK alone, you have options and your actions are not dependent on others.
You’re also much less susceptible to taking on external opinions that are not your own.
Many couldn’t live a few minutes without being close to another, and that’s fine, but they can’t ever be truly independent.
2. Ensure they are depended on.
This may seem counterintuitive, but those who have the most freedom and flexibility are needed by people.
For example, if you provide a useful skill that not many others can emulate, you become indispensable.
Being needed gives you power in the form of choice.
You will have clients and customers and the freedom to choose your clients.
This is independence.
3. Conscious of staying footloose.
Those who have little intention of maintaining their independence are oblivious to certain vines wrapping around them.
These come in the form of location-dependent employment, the urge to ‘settle,’ fit in, and a longing for the status quo.
Independent people are conscious of the need to remain untethered and are ruthless in saying no to influences that disrupt this reality.
4. Have no need for external validation.
Truly independent people know that the only validation they need comes from within.
Their self-esteem is not dependent on praise from — or proximity to — other people.
Because of this, they walk with a lightness in their step and a cool, relaxed detachment from things being a ‘certain way’ in their social reality.
5. Prioritise self-reliance systems.
You can’t be truly free if you are reliant on (too much) support from other people or bodies.
Yes, I know — no one can truly operate as a detached island, and we need community and social connections and agreements to varying degrees.
But the independent soul is continually working on a framework they own — like a remote income stream — that ensures they thrive whether they have the outside support they need, or if those channels fizzle out.
6. Don’t interfere.
Independence is not felt when other people try to interfere with our lives.
So self-sufficient people know that not interfering in anyone else’s life ensures they too are left alone when needed.
Live and let live, and this karma will be returned.
Read also: 6 unusual secrets of the happiest people
7. Masters of change.
Stuck people tend to get sentimental about how things used to be. They fight change, putting most of their energy into this resistance.
Independent people accept how things are, and continually adapt to a changing world. If crap goes south, big woop — time to move on. Your flexibility must be both logistical and psychological.
Welcome continual change, and you have an upper hand over 99% of people.
Seize your advantage.
CONTRIBUTED BY ALEX MATHERS
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