The Road to Independence: Lessons from Jonathan Yabut's Journey in Single, Taken, or Building My Empire

The Road to Independence: Lessons from Jonathan Yabut's Journey in Single, Taken, or Building My Empire

In your 20s, you find yourself wanting that taste of autonomy. Eager to work and earn your own money, many young people flock and push themselves to employment after graduation. There is a desire to become a person who rarely relies on others and have things figured out when, in reality, you are as confused as you were during the first day of kindergarten—navigating the classroom, building connections with fellow children, wondering when you can go home so you can watch your favorite show while your parent fixes your meal for you. However, you are now a full-grown adult, now old enough to make independent decisions.  A far from the snotty child you once were. 

Adulthood is being at the crossroads of dependence and independence. It's a transformative period that beckons us to take the reins of our lives firmly in our hands. If we can learn something from Jonathan Yabut’s Single, Taken, or Building My Empire, it is that independence may not come easily; however, it is rewarding. It may take many forms as we grow older and learn from the achievements, experiences, and mistakes we encounter. 

Independence starts with having to start

It may seem simple, but many waste time worrying about what will happen without actually starting anything. Of course, it is understandable that change is frightening. However, you cannot achieve and walk towards your goal if you do not put one foot forward and stride. 

In his book, Yabut mentioned that what makes us unique from others is our “consistency and creativity in execution”. These are two distinguishing factors among individuals, so he encourages people to take action rather than just ‘wishing’ for things to happen. There is an emphasis on dedication driving aspirations forward. In this way, people are encouraged to be in charge of their destinies through persistence and innovation. 


Independence: cultivated through having guidance 

No man is an island– a famous saying from the seventh-century English writer John Donne. It means that no man can ever truly be alone or self-sufficient. We need more than a handful of people to make the world go round. We can only attain independence in our lives and careers by recognizing other people's roles in guiding us, whether through embarrassment or triumph. 

Many people will want the same thing. However as established on the part before this, we have different ways of attaining it. The book holds importance on letting go of the belief that one is the sole architect capable of executing a task to perfection. This notion challenges the ego, urging individuals to embrace diversity in approach and thought. It’s a call to acknowledge that different people bring unique styles and methodologies to the table, all capable of achieving the same goal. This understanding fosters collaboration and growth, both personal and professional.


Independence is learning about your personal and professional boundaries 

Saying "no" is a testament to setting boundaries and prioritizing one’s mental and emotional well-being. The right to decline, without guilt or fear of disappointing others, is a crucial step towards independence. It underscores the importance of self-respect and the recognition of one's limits and capacities. 

Yabut gave an example where a co-worker may use his seniority to pass assigned tasks to them to you. In this case, you must assert yourself as someone they must respect and have a professional connection with. In the realm of adulthood, asserting our right to decline requests or opportunities is not a sign of weakness or selfishness but a manifestation of self-respect and boundary-setting. 


Independence is not just sitting idle

Yabut has a perfect quote from the book that explains this section. He said, “If you think you’re performing well but not sure how things are being observed from the ivory towers, take the wheel and steer it. Don’t just wait for your boss to discuss your career. Act on your performance as early as you can: ask for feedback, for points of improvement, and for affirmation of your strengths.” 

The concept of control, or the lack thereof, is a significant barrier to independence. Yabut suggests a shift in mindset as a solution—actively seeking ways to regain control rather than succumbing to passivity. It’s about making things happen rather than waiting for them to occur, embodying a can-do attitude that propels individuals forward.


Independence is having a plan

The commitment to one’s goals is likened to a horse with blinders, focused solely on the prize. This metaphor speaks to the importance of eliminating distractions and staying true to one’s path, emphasizing the power of dedication and single-mindedness in the pursuit of objectives. 

The journey, as narrated by Jonathan Yabut in Single, Taken, or Building My Empire, is multifaceted. No matter how paradoxical it may seem, it still requires a balance between autonomy and interdependence to fully achieve independence through the unstable waves of adulthood. 

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