Jordan Peterson: How to become an independent person

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How to Be Independent

Three Parts:

Being independent is a vital skill for people who want to take more control of their lives and feel like they don't need others to accomplish their goals. Being more independent will give you the freedom to do what you want without caring what others think and it will also lead you to find some original solutions to your problems. Plus, studies show that the more independent a person is, the happier he/she feels! This is because we feel a sense of relief and joy when we can take our lives into our own hands.


Thinking Independently

  1. Accept yourself.You cannot build a strong, independent you if you can't live with yourself. Accept your body, your personality, your opinions, your choices, your preferences, and your life story. Do not say things against yourself. Everyone can be strong enough. Everyone has put up with something, proving their strength. Put behind you your mistakes and learn from them. Make an effort to be a better you and most importantly love yourself.
    • This is an important part of being independent because accepting who you are will keep you from trying to act like someone else.
  2. Believe in yourself.If you don't believe in yourself then who else will? We are all different and have something unique to say. No one can speak the words on your lips and not everyone is going to agree with what you say which is why it's important for you to stand by who you are because at the end of the day you are all you got and if you believe in yourself that's really all that matters. Believing in yourself will make you trust your own decisions -- even if they completely go against someone else's -- or even society's -- expectations.
    • If you don't have faith in yourself, you will always second guess yourself and turn to others for help every time you have to make a decision. Step away from that.
  3. Accept the world.Independent people are not vain, nor do they believe the entire human race is cruel. Independent people are those who see the world, with its good and its bad, and consciously choose to be strong for themselves and others. You are not independent because you do not trust anyone. You are not independent because you think highly of yourself. Follow this guideline: Learn to accept the world, and decide to be strong.
    • Accepting the world and all of its complications will also help you see that there are an infinite number of ways to live out there -- nobody is forcing you to conform to one of them.
  4. Be emotionally independent.Chances are, you depend on many people for emotional support. It may be your parents, a significant other, or good close friends. Although it is possible to continue to depend on these people for the rest of your life, it is in your best interest to realize that everyone in your life that you depend on will one day no longer be around. Some will move away, some will stop talking to you, and they all will eventually die. The only person that will always be with you is you. If you depend on yourself for support, you will never be let down.
    • It's okay to get attached to a few key people in your life, but you cannot let these people determine your level of happiness. That's up to you.
  5. Be self-motivated.Other people do not have and will never have the same vested interest in your success. Motivation and success is a function of habit. You must break your bad habit of procrastination, and replace it with one of good planning. The most successful people in the world aren't always the brightest, or the best looking, but no matter what other talents or gifts they have been blessed with, they have underpinning their self-esteem a series of victories over tasks both large and small. This is how you learn anything in school, gain confidence dating, and everything else in life.
    • If you want to achieve a career goal, it should be to please yourself, not to please your family. If you want to get amazing grades, then the same thing is true.
    • Don't be motivated to lose weight, publish a book, or build a house just to impress others. Do it because you want to drive yourself to succeed. Do it for yourself.
  6. Accept that life is not fair.Our parents cared for us so much that they did everything in their power to raise us in a fair and just environment. The real world does not function on that principle which is a big problem today. The rules in the world usually protect either the majority (which you may not be a part of) or people with money and power. You will be treated badly for all sorts of unfair things: your skin color, your intelligence, your height, your weight, how much money you have, your opinions, your gender, and just about everything else that makes you who you are. You have to be happy in spite of that.
    • Don't let the unfairness of the world keep you from doing what you want to do. Want to be a male nurse? A female in the military? The first person in your family to graduate from college? Go for it instead of convincing yourself that it's just not possible in the world you live in today.
  7. Stop caring about what other people think.This is the most important thing about being independent. If you depend on others to tell you if your music is cool, or if your outfit is cute, you won't be very happy! As long as you like it - nothing else matters! Stop worrying about other people's judgments about your life, whether they are thinking about your clothes, your choice of career, or your choice of significant other. These are your decisions, and not anyone else's.
    • If you always have the nagging thought, "But what will other people think if..." in the back of your head, then you'll always be holding yourself back from doing your own thing.
  8. Don't justthinkthat you're the best; prove it to yourself!Your opinion matters the most in your own motivation, but you know when you're pulling your own weight as to your accomplishments. It's far easier to just start dealing with your responsibilities knowing, with an incredibly strong faith in yourself that you can handle what comes up because you have before, than trying to accomplish goals because you're all warm and fuzzy inside. Warm and fuzzy accomplishes very little, but neither does beating yourself up.
  9. Get your own information.Watch and read the news and make sure you get it from a variety of sources. Follow it as often as you can and always have a goal of getting both sides of every story before forming an opinion. You can talk to people of a variety of backgrounds to get more information on a relevant topic, too, but never let other people tell you what to think. Make a goal of reading as much as possible, whether you're reading literature or The New York Times. Being well-informed will keep you from being a follower and will lead to more independent thought.
    • You don't want to be a lemming and to believe something just because your 50 closest Facebook friends tell you to.

Acting More Independent

  1. Maintain solid friendships.You don't have to throw away your friends to be independent. In fact, your independence is reinforced with good friends. When your friend needs someone to talk to, be there for them. Be trustworthy. Do not gossip or tell anyone about your friends' secrets or personal matters. Even if they didn't say anything about it. Be a strong person for your friends and loved ones. It not only shows you're selfless, but pretty soon you'll learn how to deal with any situation that comes your way because of your friends' experiences.
  2. Become financially independent.It will be difficult because parents have a natural instinct to provide for us. Just politely decline when they offer financial help. It is tempting to depend on others financially, but before you experience independence, you must be independent. Secure your finances. True independent living relies on financial freedom. Pay your own bills, drive your own car, sign a personal check for your rent.
    • If you don't have the money for these expenses, save aggressively. Not only will you gain financial freedom with your savings, but the money you keep to yourself will give you an incredible feeling of independence and motivation.
  3. Don't settle for anything, for comfort, for ease, or to "be nice".Work hard at everything you do. Defend your opinions. And, for you girls, don't let a man feel he has to pamper you. If you're capable of doing something good, do it. So long as it doesn't have a bad effect, you should do it. That doesn't mean do absolutely everything, but you shouldn't feel it's necessary for people to do things for you that you could do for yourself.
    • Work your best and hardest to leave people saying "That person doesn't rely on anyone to do things for them. What a strong, independent person."
  4. Leave your friends and family at home when you can.This is a difficult step on the journey to independent living, but you must start doing things on your own. You do not need to drive with someone to the restaurant, because you can meet them there. Go shopping alone, spend at least one or two evenings a week by yourself. Work on activities that force you to lead, not follow.
    • If you're used to always having a buddy when you go hiking or go to the mall, see how it feels to rough it on your own.
  5. Dump the bad influences in your life.Don't break friendships unless absolutely necessary. Learn to keep a healthy distance. Even if those friends are "totally cool," they may only hold you back from breaking out on your own. "Weed out your garden"; some people make you shine, while others will stunt your growth and draw all your energy. If you have a friend who is trying to make you do things that make you uncomfortable, whether it's stealing or just being a meaner person, then it's time to cut the cord.
    • Avoid any friends who really like building a following and having people worship them. These people will want you to only do what they say and will keep you from being independent.
  6. Save money.Save as much as reasonably possible. This will help you create an emergency fund, since life can be unpredictable at times. You don't plan accidents. Improve the quality of your life by putting aside a set amount of money each month. There are such things as accidents, health problems, or even natural disasters, which can occur when you least expect it.
    • You may not think that you have the capacity to save money, but even doing small things, like making your own coffee instead of going to Starbucks once a day, can save you over a week -- that's over ,500 a year!
  7. Sign up for a bank account.Most banks offer a checking and savings account together, in one convenient package. Some companies, institutions, and organizations will require you to have at least a checking account (some only pay employees via direct deposit). Money you earn that isn't necessary for your own expenses should be put into a savings account until you're ready to be independent.
    • Having your own bank account will keep you from depending on others for money, and will help you stay away from reckless spending.
  8. Start on a career path.Experiment with different careers and find the one that you enjoy most. If money makes you happy, be an investment banker or start a small business. If you like kids, be a teacher. If you like being an expert, be a lawyer, professor or consultant. If you enjoy talking to people, be a salesperson or go into the services industry. If knowing how things work is more your game, try engineering, or Psychology and sociology.
    • The majority of students end up in careers unrelated to their major. Some people do not get far in formal education and end up millionaires. Working in a career that you enjoy is a part of becoming a mature person.
  9. Find your passion.Something you are devoted to, whether it is a sport, girlfriend/boyfriends, music, a band, a form of art/dance, religion. Something that you do constantly that takes up some time. Video games and playing Barbie all day aren't the best value out there. (This includes wasting your time on the Internet).
    • Finding a passion will make your life feel more meaningful and will make you feel more like you know what you really want out of life.
  10. Plan your day aroundyou.People who are most dependent on others allow their worlds to revolve around the needs of other people or other things. Plan your day according to your own schedule--make a list of what you want to do, what you need to do and what you should have already done. If a friend really needs a favor, fine, but don't let that friend dominate the plan you had made so carefully.
    • Treat your alone time like it's a date with Brad Pitt. That is, guard it carefully and don't let anyone stop you from spending time with yourself.
  11. Thank people for helping you.You don't have to be stubborn to be independent. If someone has really helped you out, then thank that person by giving him a sincere "thank you," writing a card, or giving him a big hug if he's a close friend. There's nothing wrong in admitting that you do need help sometimes and it won't make you any less independent to acknowledge the times when you need help.
  12. Avoid trends.Just because somebody wants to pay for a shirt doesn't mean you have to. Dress how you want to dress, and say what you want to say. If you like to act crazy, by all means go for it! A good thing to remember is that good taste and style does not have to cost money - it is something that is innate or learned but can make good of anything with a little know-how.
  13. Spend time with people with different worldviews.Hanging out with people who are just like you won't inspire you to be any more independent. Making an effort to be friends with a variety of people who all have different perspectives and occupations can give you more of a sense of what's out there and to see that there's no one way to do it right.
    • It can be refreshing to hang out with a lawyer if you're a yoga instructor, or to spend time with a chef if you're a student. This can make you more open-minded and more willing to do something completely new on your own.

Navigating the World More Independently

  1. Learn to drive or navigate public transportation.You'll never be fully independent if you don't learn to drive or how to get around on your own. How can you call yourself independent if you always depend on your boyfriend, best friend, or parents to drive you around? (This is assuming, of course, that you're old enough to drive). If you live in the suburbs and need a car to get around, take life by the horns and get a driver's license, and then work up to having your own car.
    • If you're in a big city, don't depend on walking everywhere if the weather is nice or waiting for a friend to give you a lift -- learn how the subway, bus system, or train system works.
    • Depending on other people to get around will make you more likely to stay home or to wait around for other people to determine your fate. You should be able to do whatever you want to do -- whenever you want.
  2. Do your own research instead of asking other people for help all the time.Maybe you always call your dad for help with finances, or maybe you call your mom every five minutes when you're planning a big party or a wedding. Maybe you have a friend who is an expert in every possible thing and that's your go-to person whenever you run into trouble at work, with your car, or when you're trying to fix your TV. Make a habit of doing your own research before you call these people if you want to be more independent.
    • It's great to have people to turn to, but the next time you pick up your phone, ask yourself: "Can I figure out this information on my own?" The answer will most likely be yes. Sure, it will take longer, but think about how much more rewarding it will feel.
  3. Learn to be handy around the house.Are you tired of calling a plumber, repairman, painter, or even a trusted friend every time there's something wrong with your house? Learn to be more handy by watching useful videos, reading wikiHow, or reading Popular Mechanics. If you have a good friend who is a carpenter, ask for some carpentry lessons. Learning how to fix up your own space will make you save lots of money and feel like you don't have to wait around for others to make your life better.
    • And hey, learning how to quickly unclog a toilet is much better than waiting for somebody else to get to it.
  4. Cook for yourself.Don't depend on Trader Joe's or the gourmet deli across the street to cook for you. You don't have to be a master chef to feel like you understand the basics of cooking: how to sauté basic foods, how to use your oven, and how to cook simple dishes like pasta, potatoes, and salad. Knowing that you can go to the supermarket or farmer's market, pick up a few key ingredients, and whip together a delicious meal will make you feel like you are capable of doing anything on your own.
    • If you become a great cook, you can even invite other people over to enjoy the benefits of your skills.
    • Not only will learning to cook for yourself make you more independent, but it will help you save lots of money, which is another key to your independence.
  5. Learn to balance your budget.Maybe your parents, spouse, or significant other have been balancing your budget for you, or maybe you just haven't given this much thought and have been spending a little too recklessly. Whatever is going on, you should understand how much money you have to spend every month or week, and to make a list of all of the things you are spending it on to have a better sense of where you can cut costs.
    • Finding ways to save money will make you more independent because you'll have more money to spend however you like.
  6. Don't depend on your GPS for directions.Sure, turning on your GPS or the map on your smartphone can help you get from one place to another. But what happens if your GPS suddenly malfunctions, your phone runs out of battery, or you're led to the top of a cliff? Will you follow it all the way down? Hopefully not. Before you go anywhere, make a mental map of where you have to go and print out physical directions to follow if you can. But better yet,knowexactly where you're going so you'll feel less dependent on a device.
    • If you're taking a long trip, then sure, the GPS can be useful. But make sure that you have a strong sense of where you're going regardless, so you don't feel completely clueless.
  7. Get used to doing things alone.If you're truly independent, then you won't need a buddy to accomplish every little task or to do any fun activity. Don't wait around for a friend to be available to try that new restaurant in your town or to see that new movie at the theatre. Treat yourself and go it alone -- if you head to the movies, you'll be impressed by how many other people are enjoying a good film solo, too.
    • It's all in the attitude. If you look and feel like you're really comfortable doing these things on your own, then no one will think twice.
  8. Take it slowly.Rome wasn't built in a day, and no one is completely independent. This isn't a hard-and-fast guide that you must stick to. If you don't want to do something, don't do it. This is here to tell you how to be independent, if you want to be.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I stop acting the way people expect me to?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Maybe it's time for a vacation, or at least time away from the friends who make you act a certain way. Spend some time treating yourself to a solo activity and thinking about what kind of person you want to be. Before returning to familiar social situations, write down what you're going to say or do to turn over a new leaf.
  • Question
    How can I be independent while I'm financially dependent on others?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
  • Question
    How can I be independent if I am under 16?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It's almost impossible to be truly independent at this age, but following the steps in this article, such as the emotional or friendship aspects, will prepare you for when you become older.
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Jul 7

"I'm 19 and I really want to be independent, do things by and for myself and not to rely on other people for mywell-being and happiness. This article has pointed to the right direction, thanks wikiHow."

Kayleigh Redtu

Jun 11

"I really like your article on how to be independent."
Rated this article:

Anu Varshini

Jun 8

"This article does inspire a person who wants to be independent. You will love this article if you really wish toget independent soon. You can connect to it. All the best for your independent life. "

Shokri Hassan

Jun 25, 2019

"I love this article. It's more practical than a bunch of gibberish instructions you most likely can find on other

Sterling Ivey

Apr 5, 2019

"Reinforces ideas that most of us inherently know, yet it is refreshing to see them organized together. Most peoplethat want to be independent are probably emotionally or financially dependent on other people. I happen to fall into both, even though I have a job and healthy friendships. Doing things alone isn't the easiest thing and this helps me genuinely want to do things for and by myself."

David Gantt

May 27, 2019

"This article helped me to see that it's a great idea to be independent, because through independence will comepeace, harmony, and tranquility. Nothing wrong with asking for assistance, however, don't become a victim of the situation. And plus, if you act needy and helpless there are people who will see that type of energy and use you. Practice independence daily."

Malik Waqas

May 20, 2019

"This article solved the problem which I was facing. I was feeling miserable because my parents influenced in mythinking, it was like I was hypnotized. I forgot all of myself, my dream, my focus, my freedom. Today just this thought of being self-dependent came to my mind. I searched wikiHow and found this article. It was very helpful and very informative."
Rated this article:

Jesus Reyes

Apr 18, 2019

"This article really helped. If you are independent, anything you feel like doing is at your grasp and it is less ofan "I want to do that, or I need it," situation, it's more like a "I'm going to do this and that," you know. Notice I said "I'm going TO DO THIS". This article is just, wow."

Nikita Parmar

Aug 18, 2019

"This article was very helpful and its tips useful. Anybody wanting to be independent will be grateful for thisarticle to fix them in the right direction. The spending time alone and doing things on your own and paying yourself parts were my favorites."

Kayla Rose Dunning

Feb 18, 2019

"This is just what I needed to get me motivated to be independent. I have a lot of problems always going on in mylife and could never understand why, and I realized it was because I've never been independent, so this article has helped a lot. Thank you. :)"

Dibyanshu Hembrom

Sep 28, 2019

"This article is the best thing to read if you're really dependent on others. You will feel more confident andmotivated if you really follow the things written here. It is the key to self-success. Don't rely on others' opinions and expectations."

John T.

Jul 26, 2019

"This helped me help my girlfriend be independent. I love her and even if we have to loosen up our relationship, Iwant her to achieve her goals. I don't know how I sound, but I want to be the good influence since her parents aren't. She's 19."

Nashon Mwatumia

Aug 15, 2019

"I'm struggling to ignore my inner voice that stops me from taking risks with how I dress or the way I carry myselfbecause I'm afraid of what people will think. This article helps me to visualize the steps I need to take to be independent."
Rated this article:

Sharon Fernandez

Aug 14, 2019

"You guys did a great job. After reading this, I feel like I can do everything on my own and not depend on anyoneelse for everything. I must find the way out myself from my insecurities. Thank you, wikiHow. It means a lot to me."
Rated this article:

Anh Camellia

Feb 15, 2019

"This article opened my mind and let me have a new idea of my life. I realized that I still have a meaningful,beautiful life and many wonderful things waiting in future. Thanks for your helpful advice!"

Celeste Martinez

Aug 19, 2019

"The steps really helped me wether you live with parents or on your own, in my case I live with my parents andthis gave me an idea of how to start acting if I want to be independent. Thanks wikiHow!!"

John Johnson

Aug 22, 2019

"I felt as if the whole article gave wonderful tips that could help anyone. I know each of the tips may not work foreveryone, but they're small steps to reach the bigger picture, being "independent.""


Jun 12, 2019

"It's nice to see a concise overview of how to be independent of others in every way necessary. Nobody wants to bedependent on others, but some of us don't know how to safely get out of a situation."

Lwazi Mpulu

Jun 16, 2019

"I was stuck in a space where I felt an existential hopelessness and loss of control over my destiny. This articlehelped to find myself again and go about life feeling whole and in control."
Rated this article:

Cameron Robertson

Dec 4, 2019

"This article is amazing. It's really made me think twice about how to become more independent by not relying onwhat people think. Thank you for sharing this (notes have been taken)!"

Yusuph Lubondo

Jul 1, 2019

"I read this not once but more than twice. It really gives me a direction on my journey toward independent life.Again, for the person who wrote this, may your God bless you so much."

Ivan Almaraz

Mar 22, 2019

"I've always been a dependent person. I'm getting a lot of information to get out of this life I've been living.This article helped me a lot. Thanks and keep up with these articles."

R. M. Farmer

Aug 31, 2019

"The part about not depending on my GPS struck a note. A very important tip was also learning how to be handy aroundthe house. That's a goal I'm accomplishing right now. Thanks!"

Rachel Wacker

Apr 5, 2019

"Easy to read and understand. It's simple and detailed enough to tell you how to do the things it says to do. It'srealistic and straight to the point, too."

Rebecca Nakaayi

Sep 21, 2019

"I have leaned that you can not be fully independent when you have a poor saving culture! This has made my mindclear, now I'm so focused! Thanks so much."

Lin C.

May 5, 2019

"This made me realize that being confident in who I am is the key to gaining independence. The sky is the limit onceI believe in myself more. Thanks!"

Trần Mỹ Hằng

Nov 15, 2019

"It makes me more confident about myself. It motivated me to do the thing I have never tried. Now I have some waysto make myself think clearly."

Ishan Pyakurel

Feb 3, 2019

"Thank you so much for this article, it really helped me a lot to be myself and be a better version of myself, andespecially to be independent."

Deepthi R.

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