America once again celebrated its independence this week, so I decided to base this week’s post on the same topic. Just as a sovereign nation becoming independent of foreign rule is something to be celebrated, each of us individually must also strive for and indeed celebrate our independence. Although we all sooner or later find ourselves declaring our independence from those who raised us, as we develop the ability to care for ourselves, our success and fulfillment in life is often hindered because we remain dependent on hidden factors that rob us of our right to exercise “the last of the human freedoms” as Victor Frankl put it. This freedom, he said, was “to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” no matter what was happening.
In his timeless classic, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey introduces a model called the Maturity Continuum. The model describes the three Habits necessary to achieve what Covey calls the Private Victory, which is the shift from dependence to independence, and three Habits which comprise the Public Victory, which is the elevation of a person beyond independence into interdependence.
This is just one of the many groundbreaking concepts found in Dr. Covey’s book, which, I should say, is one of my most highly recommended books for anyone serious about laying a strong foundation for successful personal or professional leadership development. Although Dr. Covey’s teachings represent a wealth of wisdom for anyone interested in improving their effectiveness, at work and at home, I would like to highlight and explore one idea in particular: the distinction and relationship between independence and interdependence.