Self-reliance: the key to a carefree and happy lifestyle

Sean McCormick, Staff Writer

I used to work at a major grocery store chain. Each day I would walk by a board with postings about employee benefit programs and other gibberish I wasn’t concerned with. But, there was a quote on the wall that jumped out at me:

“Our doubts are traitors and makes us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

This is the essence of self-reliance— summoning the courage to make choices regardless of how others may or may not react to them. That is a tough leap of faith to make, but a deeply rewarding experience nonetheless.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” From advertisements that aim to entrap you in the snares of self-doubt to friends, parents, and figures of authority who exercise their unwarranted judgment on a continuous basis — it takes incredible self-assurance to make decisions in the spirit of self-reliance.

Emerson began his famous essay on self-reliance with the Latin phrase, “non te quaesiveris,” meaning, do not seek outside yourself. Often times, we think a professional will have the answer we need. Someone else knows what is right for you— Is this really the case?

Can anyone else know the full extent of your needs and desires? Or the dreams and desires that lie dormant in your heart and mind? Those are the things that keep you moving from day–to- day and need air, water, and light to survive. Self-reliance means you have the courage to feed those dreams and desires, even when no one except yourself deems it to be a “good” idea.

Self-reliance is allotted to those who will bypass the expedience of modern culture and patiently wait for the fruits of their focus. It demands employment that moves you toward your goals more than it detracts or distracts you from them.

To manifest self-reliance in its entirety, one must be a living example of it. Start a business, plant a tree, sell your artistic creations, or provide a service, so that you may be liberated from a dependence on social welfare. This final step requires ingenuity and effort, but yields a sense of personal power unparalleled.

“The civilized man has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun,” Emerson said. In strengthening self-reliance, you become like a tree that produces for the benefit of others. Squirrels may feed on your nuts and the air is purified by your presence. The soil becomes enriched by your system of interconnected roots.

It is a daily exercise in your willpower and value system to combat the instinct to conform. But know this —the world depends on it.

email: [email protected]

Twitter: @seanemccormick