A Gentleman's Guide

JULY | 2018

JULY | 2018 | FRONT PAGE

The Independent Beaux

Hey Beauxs! While we’re sure that Hotep Twitter is currently yelling about how they don’t celebrate Independence Day because their ancestors weren’t free until 1863, we’re taking a less militant approach this month by dedicating our Front Page to the independent Beaux and those who aspire to follow his lead.

Let's start with the question of what it means to be independent. The definition of the word may vary depending on who you ask, but based off of the responses from the Beauxs who responded to our social media inquiry, independence is demonstrated through exhibiting  freedom from commitment, financial sovereignty, and in being able to quote Coral Smith from season 10 of MTV’s The Real World (Back to New York),  “ I do what I please and I please to do what I do.”

But how, Sway? How?

You may classify  yourself as an independent Beaux by not not depending on others and the negative influences they may have. The independent Beaux forms his own opinions and is as confident as he is self reliant. The independent Beaux finds joy in getting things done regardless of who does or doesn’t help him. And in the event that he does need help, he’s often either too afraid or too stubborn to ask for it.

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The autonomous Beaux doesn’t have a VIP list of friends and is as ambitious as he is selective about his relationships. Despite popular belief, he’s not as callus or mean as others might perceive him to be, he just knows what he wants and how to get it without depending on others.

The most important thing about being independent is survival. The independent Beaux know that at the end of the day the only person he can rely on is himself. He knows that his station in life will result in the choices that he makes for him, and that to allow someone else to make decisions in his stead will result in the destination of his journey being determined by the will or intention of someone else.

While he’s not a total introvert, he’s extremely comfortable with going to a  movie alone. Sure, he enjoys the comfort of the company of others, but he’s perfectly okay without a plus one.

But what, if anything can we learn from the independent Beaux? Answering that question is easy, because we’ve already mentioned many of his characteristics. We know that his ability to selectively choose his commitments results in him not being afraid to go it alone, that he is confident, selective about his relationships and that he is, if nothing else, self-reliant.

He forms his own opinions and while he’s not completely autonomous, he still manages to find a way to do what he pleases- and he pleases to do what he does. Since the independent Beaux is out somewhere minding his own damn business and because he, in his truest form, doesn’t have time to teach our readers things he already knows, we’ve got a few suggestions on what you, as an aspiring independant can do to reach your goal of autonomy.

Selective Commitment

Paulo Coelho is quoted as saying, “ Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose, and commit myself to, what is best for me”. This is the independent Beaux’s mantra. Many of us associate commitment with relationships, and to be perfectly honest, this association isn’t too far from the truth.

None of us are truly free from commitment as we’re committed to paying our bills which inevitably keeps us committed to our jobs. Our relationships to these things might not mirror the relationships we have with actual people, however they are still relationships that we commit to.

In learning from the example set by the independent Beaux, we discover that we can, if we choose, only commitment ourselves to the people and things that benefit us. It's all about perspective. The independent Beaux commits himself to living an extraordinary life versus simply wanting one. He does this by selectively choosing the people and things that will benefit him. He knows the difference between wanting something and committing to it.  The lesson here is to think about the things we want for ourselves and to examine what it is we’re doing to attain it. It's also known as prioritizing.

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Selective about friendships

And while we’re on the subject of selectivity, another characteristic of the independent Beaux is the way he carefully selects his friends.  Birds of a feather almost always flock together, and this is precisely why the independent Beaux is more likely to associate himself with people who are as independent as he is.

Your friends are not only your friends but a statement of the kind of Beaux you’ve chosen to be. Whether it's at our absolute best or our worst, we are the sum total of the five closest people around us.  Our five closest friends shape and reflect our interests and our overall success. The independent Beaux understands this as he surrounds himself with people who stimulate his intellect, reflect his confidence, and at times, serve as mentors.  He shares similar habits, and benefits from the positive influences they have on his life.

We’d be wise to emulate this trait because doing so will ensure that we’re surrounded by people who will constantly motivate us. Being selective with our associations gives us an unquestionable amount of control in becoming the men we want to become and if we’re focused on being around the kind people we’d like to be like then chances are that we’re doing it wrong.

Self-Reliance

Another mirror worthy trait we can learn from the independent Beaux is his commitment to being self-reliant. His self-reliance is the main reason he’s such a focal point as through it he controls his destiny. He is emotional fortitude allows him to avoid including others in his life’s challenges. While he does have a network of support, he makes it a goal to not be a burden.

The independent Beaux revels in the satisfaction he feels knowing that he’s capable of sustaining himself financially as it allows him to freely act, move, and operate as he sees fit. He’s not bound to any unplanned circumstances and can, for the most part, operate as he sees fit.

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Forms his own opinion

Opinions are like assholes- everybody has one. Despite the fact that almost everyone has heard that quote, many of us are still running around town attached to someone else’s rectum. Whether it’s the existence of God, the proper way to hang toilet paper, what the color green should taste like or the proper way to pronounce  the word “GIF”’, people have some very strong opinions.

Sidebar, the proper way to pronounce GIF with a hard ‘g’ as the acronym stems graphics interchange format. No, the word “graphics” does not have a hard G, but so what.

The ability to form our own opinions presents us all with the opportunity to think critically and the gift in thinking critically is that it allows us to analyze how we think and present our ideas instead of accepting the reasoning of others as being sufficient.  His critical thinking skills allow the independent Beaux to make rational and objective decisions.

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We can follow his lead by being as self-directed, self-disciplined, and as self- corrective as possible. Did we vote for Bernie, Hillary or Jill Stein because we knew they’d be a better choice than the trash we elected or did we do it because of what we heard? Did we graduate from college because that’s what society told us to do or did weigh the pros and cons of not doing so on our own?

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. All of these traits are admirable and it’d remissive if we didn’t give you some suggestions on how you might go about adopting these characteristics.

The first approach we can consider taking is to create a plan. If you think that you’re independent without a plan of action- you’re not. Planning puts you in a better position to make your own decisions. Think about the last time you crossed a street. What did you do? Did you attempt to do so without looking both ways or did you check for oncoming traffic? The latter is an example of what happens when you plan versus the former, which is likely to leave you in someone’s hospital, if not dead.

The independent Beaux knows that if he fails to plan then he plans to fail. And while something as trivial as crossing a busy street isn’t often thought of when it comes to planning, if its not done right you’ll find the result of not doing so will be to have a medical team making plans for how long you’ll be held up in their trauma unit. Making a plan and sticking to it prevents us from following the plans of others while allowing us to track our progress.

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We can’t tell you where the 21 day rule of creating or breaking a habit comes from, but we can tell you that it's always worth a try. Making or breaking habit can be as challenging as it is complicated. However, when either making or breaking a habit, it’s important to remember to take small steps (because Rome wasn’t built in a day), plan the methods you wish to employ in order to achieve your goal and, in the event that you’re striving to make or break multiple habits, focus on one at a time.

Our last suggestion is to take chances. And before you ask, it is entirely possible to both plan and to take chances. The only way any of us can independently thrive is to take chances. As fledglings, eagles risk the chance of falling to fly. The independent Beaux operates in the same way, and to keep with the bird themed analogies, if taking such a chance is what’s good enough for the goose, it can be assumed that it's good enough for the gander as well.

No matter how much of a boss any of us think we are, we’’re always tied to something or someone. The entrepreneur is tied to the burden of satisfying his customer base just as many of us are tied to meeting the performance goals set forth for us by our employers. This doesn’t mean that we can’t operate without asking for the permission of others, act assertively or ask for help when needed.

We have the ability to declare our independence regardless of our current circumstances, Doing so allows us to create a legacy of sovereignty, self reliance and provides us with the opportunity to demonstrate, through example, that independence leads to happiness.

Jeremy Carter