Understanding Self-Reliance

Self-Reliance: - reliance on one's own capabilities, judgment, or resources; independence.

Synonyms: aggressiveness, aplomb, arrogance, assuredness, audacity, boldness, bravery, certainty, certitude, conviction, coolness, courage, effrontery, faith, firmness, impudence, nerve, poise, positiveness, presumption, security, self-confidence, self-reliance, sureness, surety, temerity, trust.
Antonyms: confusion, distrust, doubt, fear, hesitancy, misgiving, shyness, uncertainty.
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  • Self-Reliance is independence — reliance on one's own powers and resources.
  • Self-Reliance is ability — the power to act or perform.
  • Self-Reliance is autonomy — freedom, self-rule.
  • Self-Reliance is aptitude — charting and setting ones own course.
  • Self-Reliance is maturity — providing for oneself without needing to depend on others.

Benefits of Self-Reliance

  • Self-Reliance provides confidence — in one's own abilities and accomplishments.
  • Self-Reliance provides freedom — from having to depend on anyone but ourselves.
  • Self-Reliance provides responsibility — maturity that comes from providing for oneself.
  • Self-Reliance provides intuition — by learning to trust one's gut rather than go along with what is popular.
  • Self- Reliance provides success — positive results for efforts and achievements.

Acts of Self-Reliance in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — We have all heard the saying "God loves to help him who strives to help himself," by the Greek Dramatist Aeschylus.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essay on Self-Reliance — Perhaps one of the most well-known of Emerson's writings, published in 1841, this world acclaimed essay promotes people relying on their own intuition and common sense rather than automatically conforming to popular opinion.
  • Not On This Flight — We have all heard stories about a person who rescheduled a flight at the last minute based entirely on a gut reaction and then learn of a tragic crash that befell the flight they were originally booked on.
  • Teach Someone to Fish — An old Jewish saying — "Give a man a fish and you provide him with a meal; teach a man to fish and you provide him with food for a lifetime."
  • Positive Parenting — By providing children with small successes on which they can build bigger ones, we provide them with a way to build self-reliance and independence.

Methods for Achieving Self-Reliance

  • Develop Your Own Vision — In order to become self-reliant, we need to have a clear image of what we wish to become.
  • Commit To Achievement — Daily commit and recommit to your goal/vision. Keeping a clear image of what we wish for is key in becoming self-reliant.
  • Identify Needed Action — Clearly define what action has to be taken in order to accomplish goals independently.
  • Collect Inspirational Material — Find positive inspirational quotes and saying that 'speak' to you. Keep them around where you will see them often. They will keep you moving in the right direction.
  • Keep A Journal — Record your successes, even the small ones, daily and acknowledge your progress regularly.

Golden Mean

Self reliance
Conceit, Egotism, Overconfidence, Self-importance, Arrogance

Quotes for Self-Reliance

I have always regarded myself as the pillar of my life.
- Meryl Streep -
Do for yourself or do without.
- Gaylord Perry -
The wise don't expect to find life worth living, they make it that way.
- Anonymous -
God loves to help him who strives to help himself.
- Aeschylus -

Recommended Reading

Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits — by Wayne W. Dyer

Dyers most recent works - he pulls together philosophical quotes and personal stories as he helps readers identify with the things that keep us from living a self-reliant life. Dyer fans won't be disappointed.

7 Secrets for Successful Living: Tapping the Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson to Achieve Love, Happiness, and Self-Reliance — by Marianne Parady

Parady helps to make Emerson something that everybody can understand in her wonderful book. If you've ever struggled trying to grasp some of the insightful wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson (and there is much worth grasping), you will love this one.

Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life — by Nathaniel Branden

Branden is brave in his writing of this book, showing that he calls them as he sees them whether it is politically correct or not. Through the use of helpful exercises and activities, he helps readers understand how many of the policies we have in place not only fail to help people, but truly enable independence and self-reliance. A bit 'meaty', but well worth the time.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Self-reliance can turn a salesman into a merchant; a politician into a statesman; an attorney into a jurist; an unknown youth into a great leader. All are to be tomorrow’s big leaders - those who in solitude sit above the clang and dust of time, with the world's secret trembling on their lips. Newell Dwight Hillis