Independence: Why Is It So Important? What Is The Opposite of Independence?

What Does Affirmation Mean?

How does independence relate to affirmation? The reason for this question? Independence was the original message of this blog because independence is one of 15 elements of EQ. The reason for the change: I assumed dependence was the opposite of independence. I’m not too sure now. Consequently, the new direction.

So my point. Dependence is not the opposite of independence. Think about it for a moment. When do you feel most comfortable acting independently? It is when you don’t need input or affirmation from someone else. Entire management structures are built to reduce poor decision making thus allowing subordinates to make decisions without input. The employee may think they are acting independently but in fact all they are doing is operating within previously established guidelines. Independence is an illusion in this case.

What Is Independence?

“Independence is the ability to stand on your own two feet (which is why it’s tied to assertiveness), and to acknowledge that the buck stops with you.” 1  One of my favorite American Presidents is Theodore Roosevelt. Affectionately known as Teddy, this Roosevelt was a frontiersman seeking adventure in the field; and, in affecting change in the political landscape. Teddy had a plaque on his desk that read,

The Buck Stops Here

This is the essence of independence. Roosevelt knew someone needed to make a decision and he was comfortable making them. He was close enough to the common man that he thought he could make choices that were best for them. Theodore was strongly opinionated, well read, physically fit and as active in driving change as any president since. He acted independently because he thought he knew best. This is one point. He also had advisors. Acting independently doesn’t mean acting without advice. The independent person gets advice but ultimately makes a choice and lives with the consequences. If it turns out to be a bad choice they take responsibility for it. By the way, good leaders take all responsibility and lavish any success on all their team mates.

Teddy was also tough minded and tough physically. He was actually shot in the chest on the way to deliver an address to the Bull Moose Party. The written speech actually may have saved his life because the bullet passed through mass of paper before entering his chest. Teddy was a man’s man. He called the wound a trivial matter. When his handlers tried to take him to the hospital he said, “You get me to that speech.” He actually coughed into his hand and determined the bullet had not passed into his lungs! On this night the bullet stopped in Teddy’s chest close to his fourth rib.

Roosevelt didn’t need someone else to affirm his choices.

What Is Affirmation?

Affirmation is emotional support or encouragement. As a leader it is good to have wise counsel. Affirmation is quite another story. While it is good to be affirmed, affirmation is not what the independent leader seeks when in the midst of a difficult decision. S/he seeks counsel or advice. However, as a leader, affirming team members should be highly encouraged. One of the things strong leaders do is support and encourage their subordinates.

What Is A Positive Affirmation?

A positive affirmation is an idea expressed out loud and/or written down as a statement of fact even though this truth has not yet emerged. It is the notion that belief that something has already occurred before it has actually manifested. Stephen Covey said,

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

The notion of positive affirmations is consistent with one of the principles in my coaching practice, which states:

We change our results by using transformative language and listening to a different voice

This action involves the ability to trust that we can actually create our own change for the future of our lives. Think about it for a moment. If you want to change you need a vision of the future. Consequently, this new vision requires that you change your actions.

  1. The EQ Edge, page 97