Tomorrow (July 4th) is Independence Day in America. It is a day set aside to remember when America’s Founders declared their independence from the British government. I do not want to talk about the history surrounding the holiday, but I want to give some ideas of how to be independent yourself.
You are an individual. You are unique. Do not let anyone take that away from you. So often we are forced to try to fit within certain guidelines. As humans we like to associate things. This helps us to understand our surroundings. So, we have created labels. Labels based on geography (American, Canadian, Mexican). Labels based on political ideology (Republican or Democrat). Labels based on religious beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Jew). Sometimes this pressures us into thinking we have to fall into one of these categories. You may not line up under any particular political party or religious belief. Yet, the pressure to conform sets in. An independent person defines him or herself. Some people describe themselves by their profession. I enjoy the job that I work, but it’s just the means of an income. It is what I do not who I am. Come to your own conclusions of what type of person you are.
Knowledge is power. Expose yourself to as much information as possible on any given subject. It has been said that ignorance is bliss. There is definitely some truth to this statement. But ignorance can also be a tool of control. Some people have irrational fears that others can exploit to control them. Irrational fears are typically based on lack of knowledge. Parents use this tactic all the time. For example… (How many parents have ever used this?) If you keep that face, it is going to freeze like that. The child lacks the knowledge to know that this will not happen. So, the child complies with the instruction. This is just a simple example. Con artists are experts at using your ignorance against you. Many car sales people or repair personnel will take advantage of someone they determine may lack knowledge of vehicles or vehicle maintenance. The next time you buy a car, do some research on prices, car styles, safety features, etc. This gives you power and will probably prevent you from being ripped off.
I like the second definition given for influence at dictionary.com: the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another orothers:
I find it amazing how humans can convey their thoughts from one person to another. We are able to use air coming out of our lung passing through our vocal chords to make sounds. These sounds are made into words which convey ideas. This sound is received into another’s ears and processed by the brain. We do this with such frequency that we rarely stop to appreciate it. Even when one person cannot hear, the other person can use sign language to express his or her thoughts. Right now you are looking at shapes (letters, words, sentences) which are creating thoughts inside your mind. These thoughts can stir up emotions within you. And if an argument (line of reasoning) is powerful enough, it can change the way you think.
Can’t we influence others without intimidation? Can’t we influence others without indoctrination? Isn’t using persuasion better than using power? Use the power of language to convince others of your side. Do not resort to threats, force or fear. Nobody lives their lives in a vacuum. We influence others and are influenced by others daily. You can influence someone in a positive or negative way. Being independent means removing the negative influences and keeping the positive ones.
In conclusion: Be an informed independent individual with a incredible influence.