what does self reliance mean self-reliance has a different meaning for everyone who practices it. To some, it means being able to handle just about anything from disasters to economic turmoil to home construction. For others, it means being self-sufficient in everyday things like home and auto repair. For many, it means being in a constant state of learning and adding to their toolbox of knowledge, skills, and experience.
To be sure, the self-reliant among us are all at different stages and different levels, and they all took a somewhat different path to get there. Yet, we all have at least one foot on common ground – individual responsibility.
My approach to self-reliance began with some of the basics like growing vegetables from seed and performing minor repairs around the house. It expanded to address more areas that I believed warranted self-sufficiency like heating with wood and outbuilding construction. It will encompass generating my own home energy as well. At one point, my drive for self-reliance led me to become self-employed. As it turned out, this was one of the best moves I ever made from a standpoint of being more self-directed in my work and having much more control over my income.
So, you’re interested in self-reliance and it sounds like a good thing. Great! But you’re concerned that perhaps you’re just way too far away from self-sufficiency. Don’t worry about it. Self-sufficiency isn’t necessarily the end game.
The good news is that you decide the end game in all of this. You decide what’s going to be in your toolbox. You decide just how self-sufficient you’re going to be. And, if you agree that you’re going to be the one making all these decisions, then from a standpoint of attitude, you’re halfway there.
The key is to look at who you are and what you’re interested in, and then put together a little plan. Perhaps it’s on a piece of paper, or maybe it’s just in your head. Regardless, you need a plan, a road map, a compass of some sort. If you don’t have any idea of where you’re going, then any road can get you there for sure. The problem is you’ll never know when “you’ve arrived,” so have a plan.
What Does Self Reliance Mean
The focal part of your plan needs to be your goal – the destination of your choosing. In the world of self-reliance, that could mean many things. It’s all up to you. For starters, let me suggest the following:
simple home repairs
basic home improvements
growing a few vegetables
learning a new skill
These are all good starting points. Think of them as objectives that you want to complete on the way to your destination. Perhaps you would like to be a handyman of sorts, or better at maintaining your car. What about keeping yourself in fresh eggs and seasonal vegetables? Or perhaps you just want to be more prepared for power outages and storm damage. It’s all up to you, your interests and aptitude.
Need help? Get together with someone who you think is relatively self-sufficient and learn something about life planning from them. A little teamwork is a great thing.
Don’t agonize over where you are – focus on where you want to be. There’s a good saying to remember, “there’s no sense keeping your eye on the rearview mirror unless that’s the direction you’re heading in.” Whether your interests are aligned with self-improvement, self-sufficiency or simply more self-confidence, make it part of your plan for self-reliance.
You’ll have to plan it in some manner if you expect to make it happen.
What are the examples of self reliance?
Being a self-reliant individual also means that I’m more self-directed about my personal finances. This has been a characteristic of mine for many years. I’m dedicated to frugal living, because it’s in my best interest, and no one else has my best interest in mind.
So, instead of relying on traditional retail sales and being part of the consumer culture, my interactions with the marketplace incorporate barter, trade, second-hand sales, and making things myself as a way of improving my personal financial outlook. The use of my wealth is much more self-directed because I don’t depend on the traditional marketplace but rather find or create marketplace alternatives.
Regardless of what particular area I’m focused on, the key to self-reliance for me is to provide abundance in my life and make the best use of my hard-earned money over the long haul.
When we think of self-reliance, sometimes we think of everything being on our shoulders. That’s not the case. What we’re really talking about is you being responsible for your life and taking the lead when it comes to planning, making decisions, and taking action. It’s about you taking the initiative and making certain things get done in a manner that is in your best interest.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t build a team, ask for help, or use the services or products of others. It simply means that you depend mostly on you, and don’t form unwise dependencies on others. The reason behind this is simple – others (except perhaps your parents) rarely have your best interest in mind, and it’s rarely in their best interest to “take your part” because it doesn’t benefit them.
In my world of self-reliance, I count on my neighbors and they count on me. Whether it’s a fabrication, using heavy equipment, planning a project, getting some advice, or sharing a tool, we try to help one another within reason and to the extent that we can. Many of us have a sense of independence and a “do it yourself” mindset, but we also have limitations that we need to keep in mind.
Sometimes a helping hand is just what we all need.
Where we stray from the theme of self-reliance is when we start looking for a handout instead of asking for a helping hand. And, we’re hopelessly lost when we stop looking for the handout and start expecting it as a normal course of events.
Counting on yourself means you’re counting on someone that will rarely let you down. You don’t have to do it all yourself, but if you don’t take the lead in taking care of yourself, then why would anyone else ever be inclined to lend you a hand?
It doesn’t take much looking around to see that self-reliance is an important concept and value that we all should embrace. In a way, it’s you taking care of yourself and your family by being prepared, looking ahead, taking initiative, and being a good life manager.
I am reminded of this when I think of the human toll and financial losses caused by hurricane Katrina, the annual California wildfires, and the economic recession that hit us hard in 2009. Those who weren’t prepared or well-positioned suffered, and those who were well prepared or positioned fared much better.
Self-reliance is also important because the marketplace has interconnected our lives in so many ways. One individual who falls “into the pool” affects many others nearby who had no intention of getting wet. Look at the auto industries in Michigan. When a car manufacturer cuts back production it affects many companies that employ thousands of people by providing just a small portion of what it takes to build a car – batteries, tires, glass, upholstery, plastics, electronics, paint, seat belts, and so forth.
Unless you’re completely self-sufficient, you’re going to feel something when markets change course, management makes mistakes, and others decide that criminal activities are a better course of action than making an honest living. Complete self-sufficiency is largely unattainable for most of us, but we can at least be better prepared and better self-directed. We owe it to ourselves and our families.
Whether it’s being prepared for natural disasters or man-made economic turmoil, the idea of self-reliance has many benefits for those who embrace it. My experience suggests that success is something that you must actively seek, and there is no better person to rely on than yourself.
After all, if you aren’t the one who’s going to do it, then who will?