“Independence means rebellion, risk, tenacity, innovation, and resistance to convention.”
I first heard this quote several months ago during a conversation with fellow blogger Steve Boese. He was reading the book ‘Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture‘ and it struck him as a meaningful quote. Since then, he has written about it on his blog and even had the author, Kaya Oakes, on the HR Happy Hour show to talk more about independent thinking and indie culture. What’s interesting is that the quote keeps rolling around in my head and coming back to me.
Why? Because as much as I like to think I’m independent, I believe that as humans, we gravitate to being dependent. It’s our natural state of being. Although, it seems as if admitting that you are dependent is equivalent to career suicide. However, as long as I can be influential in a positive way while still feeling support, I’m content depending on other people. If I can be persuasive and respected while collaborating and my voice is still heard, I’m ok with dependence.
Dependence CAN be a positive experience.
It’s that feeling of being cared for or knowing that someone has your back. The best teams are built off this interdependence as a core value. It’s the way I feel when you read this blog. Regardless if you agree or disagree with something I write, I still feel your support and I am in a dependent relationship with you.
Dependence is ultimately what drives business. It’s being able to work together to meet someone else’s needs. It’s the backbone of the economy. So, why is it so attractive to tell someone that you are independent? Here are a couple reasons:
- It’s the “cool” thing to do- Who doesn’t want to claim that they are part of the indie culture in their industry. There are times when we feel like breaking out on our own is the ultimate way to be cool. We can do our own thing, make all our own decisions, take greater risks, and ultimately, not have to rely on anyone else to make things happen.
- It feels fluid– Being able to be agile and go with the flow more quickly is an appealing model for many of us. However, with that also comes great risk that a majority of businesses that we deal with have bureaucracy that prevents or hinders their agility, thus affecting ours to some degree if we are their vendor.
- Entrepreneurial spirit- Like many of the founding forefathers in US history, being able to have the ability to be independent and start out on a new course, over uncharted ground, is exciting. That spirit is appealing.
I argue that at the end of the day, even the most independent person is still predominantly reliant on others whether that be as customers, as those that provide financial funding, or those people in your circle that act as your advisory board.
What do you think? Is it ever really possible to be independent? Or, it is the spirit that initially drives certain people who then ultimately become dependent like the rest of us? Weigh in over in the comments section.