What have you changed your mind about over the years?


Note to my readers: Many of you know that my daughter (Dr. Samantha Nix) has sent me several questions for me to answer for her, her siblings and my grandchildren. This is just one more of those questions that I felt deserved to be published here.

Dear Samantha;

Couldn’t you find a harder question to ask than this one.  I have changed my mind about so many things over the years that I am not going to have enough paper (or now-a-days computer memory) to fully answer the question.  So, I will just tell you a few things I’ve changed my mind about before getting into what I would consider one of the most important things.

Just a few things I’ve changed my mind about …

  • Grandparents
  • Moms and Dads
  • Discipline
  • America herself
  • Politicians
  • Military and Heroes
  • Abortion
  • Gay People
  • Religion
  • My Children
  • My Grandchildren

In today’s world, especially in the media and in politics, if one changes their mind they are called “wishy-washy” or “flip-floppers.”  However, I have never believed that.  Nor, do I believe that one really changes their mind. 

In my “humble” opinion if one “changes his or her mind” it is an admission that they were wrong in their original thinking – and no one likes to be wrong.  Therefore, I prefer that one does not “change their mind” they simply “make a new decision based on new or different information that they did not have before making the original decision.”

Now, here is the one of the most – if not the most – important things I have changed my mind about over the years (or made new decisions about based on new information).

Dependence vs. Independence vs. Interdependence

DEPENDENCE:

As a young child growing up, I was mostly dependent on others for my well-being.  Those others were my parents, grandparents and teachers and bosses along the way.

Dependence is defined as:  the state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else.

Oh, how I longed for the day that I would become INDEPENDENT.  I thought that may happen when I began work at an early age.  It didn’t and couldn’t as long as I was living at home under my parents’ roof, going to school and having bosses that told me what I was worth to them.

It did not happen when I turned 18 and joined the military.  Yes, I did move out of the home and was no longer dependent on parents … but I took on a new parent – Uncle Sam – who certainly had no problem telling me what to do and what I was worth.

INDEPENDENCE:

By the time I turned 25 years of age and entered into the business world as an Independent contractor with Investors Diversified Service (IDS) I thought, “Man I’ve finally done it … I’m independent.” 

Independence is defined as:  not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker. Not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free: an independent businessman.

I was truly on my own. 

  • I went to work when I wanted to
  • I got paid exactly what I was worth (and many times it was $0.00) since I worked on commission only, and sometimes it was even less than $0.00 if I had business fall off the books before the commission was fully earned.
  • If I needed anything for my business, I had to buy it.
  • If I wanted a vacation, I had to pay for it.
  • I had no personal time off (PTO) with pay.
  • I had no sick time with pay (STO).
  • If I had a medical bill, I had to pay it out of pocket or have insurance that cost me money every month to pay for it.
  • And the list just goes on and on …

But I was INDEPENDENT in every sense of the word and it almost bankrupted me.

I knew the difference between the two as this:

Dependence is being guided by what others think or what they ask me to do, trying to please others without regard for what I want. … Independence is ignoring others and our coexistence, wishing to deal with everything on my own and not acknowledging my need for support.

INTERDEPENDENCE:

I was in my late 40’s or early 50’s before I learned the real key to success in any venture in life.  Believe me, this was almost too late.  That key or secret is Interdependence.

Interdependence is defined as:  the dependence of two or more people or things on each other.

We see examples of interdependence throughout life without ever even realizing what is going on.  Sure, it’s easy to spot in a successful marriage or living arrangements between couples.  An interdependency relationship will exist between two individuals if:

(a) they have a close personal relationship;

(b) they live together;

(c) one or each of them provides the other with financial support; and

(d) one or each of them provides the other with domestic support and personal care.

But what about the Interdependence between Animals and Plants?

Agoutis (a large rodent), Brazil nut trees, bees, and orchids provide one example of interdependence. Agoutis primarily eat Brazil nuts—they’re the only animals able to chew through the nuts’ outer covering to release the seeds. Agoutis help Brazil nut trees by spreading their seeds throughout the forest. In addition to their dependence on agoutis, Brazil nut trees depend on a single bee species to pollinate their flowers. In turn, the bees’ survival depends on a certain orchid species. The bees get nectar from the orchid; they also pick up a special scent they need to attract mates.

It was when I truly learned that I could not “do it on my own,” that I could not be successful and be the “Lone Ranger,” that I must seek the advice and help of others while at the same time providing them something they needed; that I started to really achieve success and my financial dreams in life.

Once I was able to overcome the DO-IT-YOURSELF mentality and get into the LET OTHERS HELP YOU WHILE YOU HELP THEM mentality – my whole world was changed for the better.

As a people we really need to get away from Dependence and Independence and get into Interdependence and I believe the key to doing that is simply this:

That is probably the biggest thing I’ve made a new decision about in my 70 years of life.  Notice, I did not change my mind – I changed my decision about wanting to be independent based on new information or learnings.

So, this, Samantha, is one of the biggest things I’ve changed my mind about over the years … going from Independence to Inter-dependence.  I hope this is satisfactory for your curiosity.

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