Sunday, July 02, 2006

Curious about Being Independent: Are You? Questions to Ask Yourself

In an e-mail I received today from Dan Kennedy, he asked the following questions:

Are you independent from money worries?
Are you independent about who you will and will NOT do business with?
Are you independent of wasting your time?

These questions put a bit of a twist on “Independence” which I wrote about in my July 5th blog last year. If you are interested, you will find it by clicking HERE.

Yes, Kennedy’s questions spurred me on to ask some other questions about how independent I am and of what?

Are you independent of worrying about what others think of you?
Are you independent from nasty gossip? About you or others?
Are you independent of procrastination? perfection? overwhelm?
Are you an independent thinker?
How independent are you?

Chauncey Depew wrote, “Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.”

One of my favorite painters, Mary Cassatt wrote, “I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work.”

I wonder how many of you go as far as Depew recommends. “Conformity” has never been my strong suit, but I admit that being “counted at any cost” is a bit strong for even me. Yes, I do agree completely with Cassatt’s statement, which isn’t so outlandish today, but in her day it was.

Finding quotations this week using as my core word, “independent,” did open a different way of thinking.

First, let me share several made by women (note that usually I would not distinguish between genders, but realize that “independent” women are often suspect.):
  • My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • I like being a strong, independent woman, and to be honest, I was never afraid to be on my own.” - Dido Armstrong
  • Now, I am completely independent - I earn my living by speaking and writing.” - Karen Hughes
  • It is easy to be independent when you've got money. But to be independent when you haven't got a thing, that's the Lord's test.” - Mahalia Jackson
  • There is little place in the political scheme of things for an independent, creative personality, for a fighter. Anyone who takes that role must pay a price.” - Shirley Chisholm
  • I don't like traditions, I am very personal, very independent, I don't like intimate ladies, I mean in German lieder there's a lot of copy, a lot of imitation, a lot of tradition, and this I have put it aside.” - Victoria de los Angeles

Then, there are what I will call “philosophy or creativity quotations”:

  • A society committed to the search for truth must give protection to, and set a high value upon, the independent and original mind, however angular, however rasping, however socially unpleasant it may be; for it is upon such minds, in large measure, that the effective search for truth depends.” - Caryl P. Haskins
  • I've always felt like I was on the margins. Once upon a time that's what independent used to mean.” - John Sayles
  • A great actor is independent of the poet, because the supreme essence of feeling does not reside in prose or in verse, but in the accent with which it is delivered.” - Lee Strasberg
  • I try to construct a picture in which shapes, spaces, colors, form a set of unique relationships, independent of any subject matter. At the same time I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea.” - Milton Avery
  • It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.” - James A. Baldwin

I will leave you with the assignment to come up with your own “independent” questions - or at least answer those I have listed. And, here are two more interesting quotations to chew on during this coming week:

  • The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness.” - Richard M. Nixon
  • All men are by nature born equally free and independent.” - George Mason

Have a great Holiday! and Week!