Do you ask others for a license to live?


We live in a tricky, somewhat convoluted age. Before urbanization and industrialization, a man or woman, for the most part, had to make it on their own, find a plot of land, build a house, make their own clothing, grow their own food, raise their kids etc. Self-sufficiency was the order of the day.

Our growth, culturally speaking, towards tighter urbanization and rubbing elbows with all of mankind is an inevitability considering that we have advanced our society to different realms. That said, however, there is an inherent danger built into the system, and one which would behove us all to maintain some distance from. Cooperative endeavour between people is necessary for a functional and peaceful society – but that is far, far different from waiting for others to give one a license to live or to be.

One is told from a young age that if they study and go to University that society will be kinder to them, or certainly it is implied that the fruits of one’s dreams are at the other end of that tunnel. That however is not necessarily true. Great dreamers, great achievers, small or large, have always been the ones who followed their dreams and not the road paved for them by others.

I have met so many people, good people, who had to one degree or another, the idea that they needed approval from others in order to succeed or do what they really wanted in life. That is a very strange state of mind because it implies a sort of self-inflicted slavery. You don’t need a certificate from anyone to live your life happily and successfully.

Living and working in a symbiotic state with other people is natural and necessary. Some of us specialize in making food, some fix cars, others keep the water running and others fix our bodies when they break – these specializations dove-tail one with the other and give us a society. But the moment that you abdicate your throne and start expecting others to accept you, or even that others should give you something, whether it is their approval, their friendship, their love, their support, or anything – you are stepping across a line which defines freedom and happiness, to a sort of mental imprisonment and unhappiness.

If you stand in a middle of a field, simply awestruck by the beautiful flowers, the sunshine and the blue skies – you are probably feeling happy. But change that scenario, convince yourself that someone should be coming along and talking to you, or handing you a bouquet of flowers, or interacting somehow and suddenly you experience some pain, some sense of emptiness. It is self-inflicted, even if others convince one otherwise.

A terrible example is the obsession people have to be LIKED through various social media today – grasping on to each LIKE as if it were significant to their own survival. That, as I said, is a poor but somewhat graphic example of the more ponderous aspects that we engage in every day of our lives.

Again, this isn’t to say that living life in some reclusive nowhere, with no one around and no interaction with others is a happy state – it is not. We are social beings after all – we love being with people and of course we love them.

But there is a balance, and it is not a difficult tightrope to walk in fact, as long as one maintains their innate sense of independence and self-sufficiency. If you hand that over to anyone, small or large, you are to that degree asking them for a license to live – and that is not the road to happiness in this world.

In fact, every major failure you will experience in your life will be traceable to some degree to this very point – you abdicated your throne, and you did what others expected of you, or you did it get their approval, their support or their acceptance, or to make money, but whatever, you stepped off your throne and when you did that, the throne was empty and someone else took the seat and started running you.

Stay in control. Don’t expect other people to give you anything.  On the other hand, expect of yourself a totality of self-sufficiency. You will find a happy medium, and standing on that platform you are more likely to find the success YOU want.

And when someone does give you something, whether it is love, friendship, support, a smile or a flower, you will be happy because you weren’t expecting it.

Réal Laplaine is an author and speaker at and



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