In this six-part series, I want to offer practical, actionable advice on how to earn and gain your independence.
Today, in part five, I discuss the importance of building a virtuous community to support your journey: how to find like-minded people, how to help those in need, and how to protect your community against the whims and stupidity of society.
Table of Contents
- Independence Is An Individual’s Gain
- Building a Community for Personal Independence
- The benefits of community support for personal growth
- Why Is Community Usually Difficult To Build, Enjoy, and Appreciate?
- How To Build A Community To Solidify Your Independence
- 1) You must become the person you want to befriend
- 2) Strategies for finding like-minded people in your quest for independence
- 3) Learn how to sort through the bad relationships
- Understand that most relationships are deadends
- Achieving Independence through Virtuous Communities
Independence Is An Individual’s Gain
“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.” – Stendhal
Individual autonomy grants you peace of mind. When tied to broken and corrupt systems, we are left waiting for the next tragedy or dysfunction. If you have to rely on a crappy job for your income or the corrupt government for your food, you are forced to wait for failure and abuse.
But, if you are independent, you can create an extraordinary life worth enjoying. A free man can define what matters to him and has the skills to achieve and maintain that definition. A dependent man needs external approval and authority to define who he is.
Just as with virtue, independence is not something given to us easily. Additionally, virtue is not accomplished through the collective. Only the individual can think. Only the individual can act. Only the individual can achieve his virtuous ends.
Building a Community for Personal Independence
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Theresa
However, being a lone wolf isn’t the best way to go about life. You will need others to help you because you can’t do everything.
A community gives you the protection, guidance, and assistance you need. Even as you secure your independence, your goal shouldn’t be alienation from virtuous people. Your goal is separation from society’s vices.
There are still good people in the world. They want you to be your best self and are willing to help you do it. Through their help, you can achieve a more profound independence, where you help others, and they help you. You rely on them, yes, but they assist you in many ways. This assistance comes from a good person instead of a broken government or a corrupt family member.
Material and spiritual things are impossible to provide strictly on your own. You’ll need help.
The benefits of community support for personal growth
Personal independence is the foundation of a fulfilling life, and it begins with building strong and meaningful connections.
A community provides the following for individuals:
- Emotional Support: Your community can give you the stability and joy you need. Humans are social creatures. You will always want to be around others. Thus, you should focus your efforts on seeking enjoyment from good people who are on your side. Lastly, community can give you that sense of belonging. If you belong to a group of good people, this strengthens your confidence because it affirms the reality of your virtue.
- Safety and Security: The mob is dangerous. The more people you have in your circle, the easier it is to survive everything from cancel culture to physical danger. For example, if you have a community, getting fired for whatever reason won’t break you because you can turn to your friends for employment.
- Personal Growth and Development: Your community should be full of talented, capable people who can teach you great lessons about life and personal growth. The people around you should be on the path of personal greatness so they can help you navigate what matters most. Additionally, your community should be pushing you to grow and improve. They can keep you focused on what matters most so you aren’t wasting time.
Why Is Community Usually Difficult To Build, Enjoy, and Appreciate?
If there are so many obvious benefits to a community, then why is it so difficult to build one that is enjoyable, fruitful, and virtuous? Firstly, and we will cover this, many of us are not as virtuous as we should be. Like attracts like, and the better we are as individuals, the higher quality people we will meet.
Furthermore, most communities are built on laziness and happenstance. We spend time with our families because we were born into them, not because the individuals are virtuous or pushing us to be. Similarly, we hang out with workmates because we work with them. Very rarely do we build friendships out of doing what is good. We fall into our friends, and because these relationships are so shallow, they rarely fulfill deeper needs.
We should love our family because they are virtuous. We shouldn’t love them simply because they are. We should have friends that push us to new heights. Not friends that waste time with us.
Lastly, community is usually a stick to beat over an individual’s head. Our communities mock and shame individuals who desire virtue, greatness, and purpose. For example, the black community has done nothing but mock me my whole life for wishing to improve as an individual. The black community isn’t there to support me. It’s there to destroy my sense of personal responsibility and self-esteem. Thus, why would I support an abusive community?
However, we do need to accept that a community can be built, and we don’t have to associate with abusive people. That’s what we are going to cover in this post.
How To Build A Community To Solidify Your Independence
Building virtuous communities fosters personal growth. Having people at your back gives you the best chance for success in a world that outnumbers you. There are always more addicts than good men. The more good people you surround yourself with, the safer and stronger you are.
Relationships should be based on virtue rather than circumstance. Your communities should serve your virtuous ends as you should serve them.
Here are the steps needed to build your community:
1) You must become the person you want to befriend
As with all things, we must start with ourselves.
Think about the kind of friend you want. What are they like? What do they do? How do they help you? What are their characteristics?
This person exists somewhere and would love to get to know you. But you must be the kind of person they are.
You can only attract good people if you are a good person. You can’t be perfect, just good and eagerly working to be better.
Good people do not want to waste their time around immoral, broken people. Such people are boring. To be around virtuous individuals, you must focus on becoming virtuous.
Here are some things you can do:
- Sincerity and authenticity attract like-minded individuals – Be honest in your dealings and beliefs. Never self-censor. It is easier to find like-minded people if you have rational pride in your beliefs.
- Accomplish great things – the more you accomplish, the higher your status increases. You don’t have to achieve goals for external accolades; you can pursue virtue and conquer yourself. Such victories will be displayed on your person and how you carry yourself.
- Be virtuous – Above all else, be virtuous. Be honest with yourself and others; be disciplined with your goals and dreams; be courageous and stand up for what matters; be generous and give to good people; and so on. Virtue signals who you are and who you want to be around. Act well, and you will attract great people.
2) Strategies for finding like-minded people in your quest for independence
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” – Goethe
Seek virtuous individuals in environments that promote discipline and growth. Gyms, churches, sports clubs, and similar environments promote self-control. Not everyone in these places will be of high value, but you increase your likelihood of finding good people.
Places like clubs and bars do not foster individual growth or development. Additionally, more “neutral” places like grocery stores can be decent places to find people but aren’t designed to promote discipline and virtue. Someone shopping at a grocery store probably isn’t considering making new friends.
Once you find the right location, here is how you can start conversations with others:
- Always judge a book by its cover – Despite what people say, you can judge a book by its cover. Someone who looks angry and is dressed in unfitting clothes probably isn’t a person of grace and virtue. Locate people who look comfortable, ready to talk, and approachable.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss what matters most – Weak individuals shy away from nuanced discussions. They also fail to empathize and reach for higher ideals while maintaining their humanity. You can discover who can do the above through deep, meaningful conversations.
- Always be cordial in disagreements – When talking to good people, be willing to disagree. There are many areas where I disagree with others, but I will try to converse anyway. I recognize their goodness, love of virtue, and desire for a better self. You can disagree with good people, so always be respectful when you should.
- Realize you won’t make a deep connection on the first few meetings – Not all meetings with good people have to delve into the depths of one’s soul. The ability to talk freely about small and big things is a sign of a person worth knowing. Why? Because the pains and nuances of the world can’t consume our lives. Sometimes, we need to be able to have light conversations about football or TV shows.
- You will need to practice to get better at communication – Learning how to talk to others is a skill. You can’t be a master communicator right off the bat. You need to learn how to read body language, laugh through awkwardness, and make people feel comfortable. If you want to build a community with good people, you must be capable of forming a community with them.
3) Learn how to sort through the bad relationships
Conversely, you build community by distancing yourself from weak, predatory individuals. Never spend more time than you need around bad people. The more time you spend around weak individuals, the harder it becomes to secure your independence.
Firstly, weak individuals will take the resources in your life that you need to thrive. They will deprive you of time and energy while giving you nothing back. Think of the deadbeat brother who only needs money or the friend you always help but never seems to have time to help you.
Secondly, weak individuals will repel good people from your life. It is challenging to find a new girlfriend if your crazy ex is always hanging around. Similarly, if you are near dysfunctional people, they will repel good from your life. Dysfunctional people do this, so you cannot replace them with something better.
Understand that most relationships are deadends
Therefore, the first clear sign that you can reduce your time around someone is a lack of reciprocity. Do they attempt to do things for you? If you help them, how eager are they to help you and return the favor? Propaganda states it is “selfish” to expect value in a relationship. However, relationships should always be a value for value exchange.
The exchange will never be even, so please don’t define your relationships down to the dollar amount. But if you help a mate move and he can’t be bothered to pick you up from the airport or assist you with something similar, then that isn’t a good friend.
Additionally, recognize that stagnant relationships can hinder you as well. People who are decent to be around but refuse to improve won’t provide much to your life. They cannot deliver help when needed, they have no sound advice, and they can’t interact with you as you continue to grow. While not evil or bad, such people will nonetheless require reducing the time you invest in them.
The better you are at cutting off and moving on from bad relationships, the more efficient you become at appreciating good relationships.
Achieving Independence through Virtuous Communities
The strategies above emphasize the importance of seeking virtuous communities and individuals to foster personal growth and independence while maintaining a commitment to higher standards and values.
You start relationships with conversation. Do not be afraid to discuss the critical topics. From there, you work to improve each other’s lives through favors.
Once that’s been solidified, you work on supporting each other in pursuing virtue.
Always focus on helping virtuous individuals. The more you invest in good people, the more of a return you will see. Weak individuals waste your resources, but good people will respect what you give them and return the favor.
- Who are the good people you know in your life? What are they like? What do you appreciate about them? How do you know they are good people?
- Do you have many friends? What purpose do they serve in your life? Do you feel you serve them well enough? Do they serve you? How can you become a better friend to them, and will your efforts bear fruit?
- What kind of person do you want to be around? What do you have to do to become that person?
- Do you have any fears about making friends? What are you afraid of? How can you minimize your fear?
- I suggest looking at resources like Charisma On Command to improve your charisma. Their free YouTube videos are invaluable in improving my communication skills, especially with coworkers and strangers.
- Consider volunteering so you can serve the needs and well-being of others. You can improve the lives of those who need help and further expose yourself to good people.
Please remember it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash