In this six-part series, I want to offer practical, actionable advice on how to earn and gain your independence.
The first post in this series is about your life goals and values. We explore the importance of these concepts and how best to build and determine them.
Let’s start by defining individualism and independence.
Table of Contents
- What Is Individualism?
- What Is Independence?
- Why Should You Want To Be Independent?
- Why Is Society Against Your Independence?
- The Necessity of Life Goals And Legacies
- Life Goals, Legacies, And Independence
- Questions to help determine your life goals
- How To Look At Your Legacy
- How A Clear Value System Determines Your Life
- Value Systems and Independence
- Why Do You Love What You Love?
- The Things I Value
- Let’s Get Started Creating Your Best Life
What Is Individualism?
Individualism is a social theory that values the individual above the needs, wants, and desires of the collective and the state. Politically, it is expressed through libertarianism, minarchism, and anarcho-capitalism. Economically, it is expressed through capitalism.
Individualism is also a personal philosophy about self-improvement through the rigorous pursuit of virtue. By striving for virtue, people can improve their lives by overcoming vices, helping their community, and achieving goals.
What Is Independence?
Independence is “not relying on another or others for aid or support.”
Independence is not about being a lone wolf. It’s about freedom from evil, cynical, dysfunctional forces, governments, and people. Therefore, realize you can’t and shouldn’t do everything alone. You are trying to avoid being the victim of supply chain issues, not be your own plumber, doctor, and electrician.
Why Should You Want To Be Independent?
“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.” – Ayn Rand
Weak people won’t curtail their vices, save money, help their communities, start a family, or fight our corrupt politics. The average man is a willing slave with nothing of value to offer.
Thus, you should seek independence so you are not tied to the vices of others. Additionally, with autonomy comes competency. The more independent we are, the more disciplined, knowledgeable, and humble we tend to become. Why? Because independence demands we subjugate ourselves to reality to master the knowledge necessary to stand on our own two feet.
For example, I can’t become healthier if I reject what creates good health. I also can’t become healthier if I’m not disciplined in my behaviors and attitudes.
Being independent has many benefits, but the best is not facing the consequences of being enslaved to powerful people.
Why Is Society Against Your Independence?
The individual is never taught to pursue his best self. In school, he is not taught practical skills like gardening, emotional control, cooking, or sewing. His family does not teach him to dream well and pursue those dreams realistically and consistently. His church does not teach him how to be good, only how to fear.
Why is this the case? Because if you are dependent on a broken system, you will follow its mandates. If you can control yourself, learn new skills, and build your own future, why rely on a parasitical government or an inconsistent church
Conversely, if you are given the tools to control yourself, learn new skills, and build your own future, what need do you have for a parasitical government or an inconsistent church? At the very least, your independence makes you competent, allowing you to demand better of the institutions you may want to follow or serve.
The mob, elites, and ruling classes don’t want you free. Your response? Be free anyway by determining your life goal, defining your legacy, and understanding your values.
The Necessity of Life Goals And Legacies
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A life goal is a purpose you pursue for the rest of your life. You can have more than one life goal, but you shouldn’t have more than three for simplicity’s sake.
Your legacy is what feelings, accomplishments, and values you leave after you die. How people respond to who you were is what your legacy is.
Life Goals, Legacies, And Independence
Your life goals are easier to accomplish if the idiocy of your society does not bog you down. If you have achieved independence through better finances, backup supplies, economic opportunities, etc., then you are in a place where you can work towards what matters most to you.
That’s why independence, like freedom, can’t be an end in itself. You must strive for something bigger and better so you aren’t free with nothing to do.
Furthermore, your legacy gives you the why behind your suffering. You want to be independent, okay, but for what? Having a legacy you want to leave behind gives you that for what, so you aren’t left aimless.
Questions to help determine your life goals
Determining a life goal involves looking at four main points:
- What am I passionate about? What do I love?
- What am I good at, or would like to know?
- What virtues do I admire?
- What can I do to improve my life and the lives of others?
My three life goals are:
- Become the best husband and father
- Tell stories that elevate the individual and inspire him to be his best
- Be virtuous and happy
To strive to be the best husband and father, I must embody loyalty, compassion, and value. My duty is to address my family’s needs and ensure their stability and happiness. My children shall experience no trauma; they will know only love. Becoming the best husband and father improves my life as well as others.
Crafting narratives that elevate the individual spirit inspires others to strive for their highest potential. By engaging with tales of heroism and triumph, individuals are instilled with a yearning to combat malevolence within themselves, their communities, and their societies, fostering positive change. Additionally, my passion for writing and illustration serves as a medium to convey such transformative stories. Here, I learn what I am good at, and what I wish to know, and I find my passion for storytelling.
The first two life goals allow me to be virtuous and happy.
How To Look At Your Legacy
“Our legacy is what we leave behind for our descendants. Do we leave them a story of greatness or a tale of insignificance?”
Your life goals help shape your legacy and vice versa. As you build towards determining your life goals, you have the best tools for looking at your legacy.
For example, I want to be remembered as a man who took every chance he could to become a virtuous person. Accomplishing my life goals will assist in that. My independence will grant me the resources and strength to cultivate my legacy.
With a legacy worth pursuing, I am inspired to overcome society’s limitations and earn my freedom. As a bonus, my legacy will include my victory over society’s vices.
Once you have your life goals and legacy, you can seek both zealously.
How A Clear Value System Determines Your Life
For all your life, you have been taught moral relativism. Or have you been taught that morality and purpose can only come from the state or God? But you must ask yourself: what do you value? What do you love? What speaks to your soul? What is most important to you?
Society would tell you that you should live outside of yourself. You should value the external. You don’t want to be selfish, do you? You were told people suffer when you put your virtuous ends over the whims of others.
You cannot delve too deeply into yourself when forced to think externally. You think outward, adopting the values and systems of other people. As I’ve frequently discussed, those values and systems usually serve the wants of the collective at the cost of your personal sanity and happiness. You do not gain when you serve the government. You do not become stronger when you buy corporate knick knacks to increase the coffers of the elites.
Therefore, we must help you craft your values by having you think deeply about who you are, what you want, and how to align your desires with what is virtuous, sustainable, and personal.
Value Systems and Independence
Value systems give you two tools in your pursuit to achieve independence. Firstly, when you have a clear value system and understand what you love, you can create simple rules for how you should live. These parameters help keep you honest and push back against any calls for hedonism. If you indulge in every whim, you will fail at your journey.
For example, I love my wife; to love her is to serve and will her good. Thus, I have my parameters: I cannot seek sexual relations with other people, I need to work for her and our children’s betterment, and I want to help her achieve her virtuous ends. But I can reasonably ask her for time to do my work or to enjoy extra rest.
Why Do You Love What You Love?
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Secondly, a value system gives you the reasoning you need for why you do what you do and value what you value. If you don’t understand what you value, you can easily be swayed by anything.
For example, you can value independence, but there are many unscrupulous, contradictory ways to value freedom. I value heroes, and it’s difficult to be heroic if you depend on corrupt, broken systems. Thus, I seek to achieve independence to be free to be a hero.
At the end of the day, you have to understand your value systems. There must be universal truths you are unwilling to argue and mindsets you can’t compromise on, especially as the social tides change.
The clearer your values, the easier independence is to achieve.
The Things I Value
One of my life goals is to create art that elevates the individual. I love heroes. Heroes inspire us to be better. My love, my value is heroes, which feeds into my life goal. Furthermore, because I love heroes, I try my best to act like one: to be the best version of myself that I can be.
This love of heroes does not serve the elites, mobs, or ruling classes. These groups hate heroes; my society is built on predation, not inspiration. If I look to the broader society for heroes, I would be sorely disappointed and lost. Should I treat politicians as heroes? Or the anti-heroes of modern media? Who within my family is a hero worth aspiring to? I can only seek greatness by looking inward and setting goals that I want.
Furthermore, I am an individualist because I value the sovereignty of the individual. I love virtue and the pursuit of greatness. I do not value enslavement and obedience. These values give me the bedrock to pursue independence.
Let’s Get Started Creating Your Best Life
“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.” – Emma Goldman
Your life goal serves as the end: the end directs your life because it defines where you should go.
Your value system gives you the means. The means determine how you should achieve the end you have created. This value system is the fence or boundary that ensures you operate with integrity so you can live with rational pride and clear direction.
At the core of individualism is understanding what you value and your value. A man who fails to see himself as worthy of greatness will live a life of mediocrity.
You cannot achieve independence while living small. An independent individual is disciplined, and it’s easy to be disciplined when you have an end goal and the means to get there.
- What does independence mean to you? How did you come to this conclusion?
- Do you want to be free? Have you considered what freedom would look like?
- What are your life goals? Why have you chosen these goals? Have your life goals changed throughout your life?
- How do you envision your legacy? What story do you want to leave behind? How do you want people to feel when you are no longer amongst the living?
- Engage in activities and educational experiences that facilitate personal growth and development. For example, dedicate weekly time to read, attend workshops, or explore new areas that enhance your personal and professional skills. Such activities will give you insight into what you want to do, which in turn helps determine your life’s purpose.
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.