“Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort.”
Stephen Covey (Author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
“Why are people so afraid? The answer is that they have made themselves helpless and dependent on others.”
Swami Vivekananda (19th Century Monk and Teacher, Yoga Philosophy)
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Author, Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
“You can choose one gift from the blue level, one from the green level, and one from the yellow level.”
My Mom nodded as the lady with the star-shaped Christmas Helper badge told her this.
Part of me was excited by all the different toys, even though they were used.
But part of me was embarrassed too.
I didn’t know why I was embarrassed. I just felt like I was supposed to be.
I was in the 5th grade and it was getting close to Christmas.
We couldn’t afford presents that year so we were taken to a volunteer shelter to pick out some hand-me-down gifts.
Every household was allowed three gifts.
One from each colored level.
Blue, green, and yellow.
I don’t remember what I picked out.
I just remember how I felt.
Why Dependent, Needy People Suffer
There are many different types of dependency.
You can depend on people like your boss for money and other resources.
You can depend on people like your family members, friends and relationship partners for happiness, feelings of self-worth, and other emotions.
When you depend on others, you suffer.
It’s not a question of if you will suffer, it’s a question of when.
There is a very big difference between wanting and needing other people.
This raises a lot of questions…
Should you want to be there for people who are going through a tough time and trying to get better?
Should you want to be around positive people who make you feel good?
Yes, of course. But…
You should never need to be around other people.
Neediness is a gateway to pain.
A study in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology found that emotional neediness and other types of unhealthy dependence is one of the few strong predictors of recurring depression.
Emotional neediness is also a strong predictor of Axis II disorders.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, these disorders include Antisocial Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
You shouldn’t need to give your time and energy to someone else in order to feel good about yourself.
You shouldn’t need praise and validation from other people in order to feel valuable and successful.
You should be the source of your own happiness.
You should also be the source of your own success.
Are You A Leader Or A Follower? It’s Your Choice.
Followers blame their failures in life on a lot of things.
They blame their bosses.
They blame the families they were born into.
They blame genetics. But…
Being a leader has very little to do with your environment.
It has very little to do with your background and genes too.
An experiment reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology studied the leadership characteristics of identical and fraternal twins.
Identical twins share 100% of each other’s genes but fraternal twins only share 50%.
When raised by the same family, twins grow up in similar environments, which allows researchers to clearly assess the influence of genes on things like leadership and success.
The study found that only 32% of the variability on leadership boiled down to innate genetics. In other words…
You are in control of the other 68%.
Your choices, not your genes, most strongly determine whether or not you will be a strong leader.
Why Your Life Needs A Healthy Dose Of Defiance
You can’t defy the odds without first defying others.
Steven Spielberg got his start in the film industry by sneaking into Universal Studios.
He put his name on the door of an unoccupied office and started introducing himself as a producer on movie sets.
By the age of 30, Spielberg had directed two of the top-grossing films of all time, Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Bill Gates created a computer program that allowed him to tamper with his high school’s scheduling system.
He put himself in classes with “hot girls” and removed himself from Friday classes altogether.
Gates is now worth over 70 billion dollars.
A 37-year longitudinal study reported in the Journal of Vocational Behavior followed 1,000 schoolchildren from the age of 10 to adulthood and found that kids who defied their parents, teachers, and bosses were more likely to be successful as adults.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that getting along with everyone will make you successful in life. It won’t.
Seeking the approval of others is the road to mediocrity. Getting along with everyone leads to failure, not success.
If you want to stop being stuck in life, you have to start going your own way.
You have to start making your own decisions, even if those decisions upset other people.
How To Regain Control of Your Life
Other people want you to be dependent on them.
Your dependency provides them with power.
The problem is power can never be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred.
The more power you give other people over your life, the less power you have.
It’s time to regain control of your life by taking back your power back. Here’s how…
1. Gain Distance From Small-Minded People
The number one thing holding you back in life is the group of small-minded people you’ve surrounded yourself with.
Maybe you’ve allowed this group to stay in your life because it’s made up of family members and lifelong friends.
These people constantly hurt you and bring you down, but you feel a sense of obligation towards them.
You feel like you need them because they’ve always been there.
Or maybe you’ve let certain people remain in your life because they seem to be less fortunate than you.
You feel a strong desire to lend a helping hand.
But the more you help, the more these people want from you. The more they play the victim too.
Or perhaps you’re forced to work with negative people who are chasing mediocre goals and who want you to fall in line behind them.
Either way, it’s important to realize that the people around you affect everything you do.
If you surround yourself with negative and small-minded people, you will achieve negative and small-minded results.
The first step to getting more out of life is gaining distance from these people.
Do whatever it takes to cut, rip, shred, and tear them away from you.
Change divisions, change jobs, move houses, go to a different Starbucks, have a hundred difficult conversations—whatever it takes.
Create as much distance between you and negative people as possible.
Create a power vacuum.
Then fill the vacuum by joining a power network of positive and likeminded individuals.
2. Join A Power Network Of Like-Minded Individuals
The only people you should allow into your life are those who can stand on their own.
People who can stand on their own will hold you accountable to standing on your own as well.
Surround yourself with people who you want to be around and who want to be around you, not people you need or people who need you.
Your goal is to join a power network of individuals, not dependents.
Individuals will trade value with you.
They will help you achieve your goals without feeling obligated to you and without allowing you to feel obligated to them.
Dependents, on the other hand, will bleed you dry.
They will ask you for handouts and suck up your mental energy with their drama and baggage until you’re completely drained.
It’s easy to find people who need you.
The majority of the population will happily gobble up your attention, praise, and approval.
They’ll let you shower them with admiration and love every minute of it.
Then they’ll want more.
Start surrounding yourself with people who want more than just praise.
Start surrounding yourself with people who don’t need you—people with their own goals and their own means of achieving their goals.
Then trade value with them while you build something of your own.
3. Start Building Something Of Your Own
Dependency is caused by a paradox.
At first glance, it seems like dependency would strengthen the bond between two parties.
Need is a strong emotion so a relationship based on a lot of need should be strong too, right?
The paradox is that being dependent on someone or something else makes both parties despise each other.
Dependency creates resentment.
An employer doesn’t want to pay you just because you’re dependent on your job and you don’t want an employer to pay you just because you’re dependent on your job (or at least you shouldn’t).
You want to be paid because you have something valuable to offer.
You want to be paid because you are valued.
And your employer wants to exchange value for value, not value for dependency.
Likewise, a relationship partner doesn’t want to spend time with you just because you need them and you don’t want to spend time with your partner just because they need you.
You want to spend time with them because they’re fun to be around, and vice versa.
Stop being a charity case.
Stop turning other people into charity cases.
Instead, start building something of your own.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this…
Build your own house before inviting others into it.
In other words…
You can’t create a better life for yourself or anyone else until you create something that’s completely your own.
You can do this by starting a website, book, online business, consulting service, or any other kind of personal project.
The key is that the project is personal.
You own it completely.
Don’t wait until you can quit your job to start building something of your own.
Don’t wait until things are just right in your personal life either.
Building something of your own will make the things in your personal life just right.
Building something of your own will give you leverage at your job until you are able to quit.
The only way to take back the power in your life is to create something that’s yours and yours alone.
No matter how far down the dependency rabbit hole you’ve fallen, it’s not too late to change. It’s not too late to stop being a follower by seeking the approval of others and instead start being a leader. The key is to inject your life with a healthy dose of defiance. All it takes is one strong decision to take back your life by gaining distance from small-minded people, surrounding yourself with a power network of individuals, and building something of your own.
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