I’ve always thought that being truly independent meant I’d win out in the end.
It meant that everyone who damned me, betrayed me, hurt me, didn’t see my value, or whatever else would lose in the end. I’d see the day when I came through on top, victorious, having won the world of my dreams.
“Winning,” in that definition, is beating those other people. It’s being able to look at them at the end of the day and say “I followed my principles, which were correct, and I’ve won the long game.”
But that’s not independence. Independence doesn’t look at them.
For independence, there’s no such thing as “winning.”
There are always people who disagree. There will always be fair-weather friends, charlatans, and people who genuinely hate you. They’ll probably achieve a decent life. The fact that they disdain you probably won’t come back to bite them.
To the independent man, that’s
fine irrelevant. He doesn’t think of them. Not because he’s feigning disinterest to “look cool,” pretending he’s not hurt or buttressing his shoddy self-esteem with the knowledge that “I’ll win in the end.”
Those people just don’t matter. His attention isn’t on them, because they’re not relevant to achieving his goals.
The independent man is focused on one thing: building a life full of values he enjoys – exciting and motivating career(s), deeply fulfilling relationships, self-expression in every moment of his existence.
He knows that whether other people join him or not, he’s still himself. The people who see his value and want to be part of it might amplify his enjoyment. They might come to embody his deepest values. Or not.
The whole world could come crashing down around him, demanding that he give up, give in, stripping him of every accolade and denying him everything they could ever offer him.
He loves himself and the way he faces life regardless.
The independent man doesn’t care about “winning” (or “losing”), because neither change anything about himself or the way he lives his life.