The greatest thing in the world is
to know how to belong to oneself.

Michel de Montaigne
The Complete Essays


So the fact that Iím me and no one else is one of my greatest assets.  Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent.

Haruki Murakami
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love.  Love is generally confused with dependence.  Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence.

Fred Rogers
The World According to Mister Rogers

You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore. . . But let there be spaces in your togetherness. . . Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not of the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Khalil Gibran

Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of one's independence, initiative and personal love for one's work determines his or her talent as a worker and his worth as a man or woman. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a person is and makes of him- or herself; not what they have or haven't done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.

Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead


Nature never said to me:  Do not be poor; still less did she say:
Be rich; her cry to me was always:  Be independent.

Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort


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Our treatment of both older people and children reflects the value we
place on independence and autonomy.  We do our best to make our
children independent from birth.  We leave them all alone in rooms with
the lights out and tell them, Go to sleep by yourselves.  And the old
people we respect most are the ones who will fight for their independence,
who would sooner starve to death than ask for help.

Margaret Mead


Independence I have long considered as the grand blessing
of life, the basis of every virtue; and independence I will ever
secure by contracting my wants, though I were to live
on a barren heath.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


The finest inheritance you can give to a child is to allow it to
make its own way, completely on its own feet.

Isadora Duncan

Humans! The most complex of creatures, and for this reason the most
dependent of creatures. On everything that has formed you, you may
depend. Do not balk at this apparent slavery. . . . a debtor to many, you
pay for your advantages by the same number of dependencies.
Understand that independence is a form of poverty; that many things
claim you, that many also claim kinship with you.

Andre Gide

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude
to live after our own; but the great person is one who in the midst of
the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Independence is important to intelligent decision making for two reasons. First, it keeps the mistakes that people make from becoming correlated. Errors in individual judgment won't wreck the group's collective judgment as long as those errors aren't systematically pointing in the same direction. One of the quickest ways to make people's judgments systematically biased is to make them dependent on each other for information. Second, independent individuals are more likely to have a new information rather than the same old data everyone is already familiar with. The smartest groups, then, are made up of people with diverse perspectives who are able to stay independent of each other. Independence doesn't imply rationality or impartiality though. You can be biased and irrational, but as long as you're independent, you won't make the group any dumber.

James Surowiecki

In addition to self-awareness, imagination and conscience, it is the
fourth human endowment--independent will--that really makes
effective self-management possible. It is the ability to make decisions
and choices and to act in accordance with them. It is the ability to
act rather than to be acted upon, to proactively carry out the
program we have developed through the other three endowments.
Empowerment comes from learning how to use this great
endowment in the decisions we make every day.

Stephen R. Covey

The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots
of responsibility and the wings of independence.

Dennis Waitley


Don't be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.

Essential Rumi



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It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself.
The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have
never faced it before.  It is frightening when a woman finally realizes
that there is no answer to the question "who am I"
except the voice inside herself.

Betty Friedan

Marriage is that relation between man and woman in which
the independence is equal, the dependence mutual,
and the obligation reciprocal.

Louis K. Anspacher


If money is your hope for independence you will never have it.
The only real security that a man will have in this world is a
reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.

Henry Ford

Independence is loyalty to one's best self and principles,
and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes.

Mark Twain

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best
day and night to make you like everybody else means
to fight the hardest battle which any human being
can fight and never stop fighting.

e.e. cummings


It's 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



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.