Meaning: Self-reliance is the habit of relying on one’s own powers and abilities in the midst of difficulties and dangers.
A self-reliant person does not depend for help, but uses his own judgment and powers in facing difficulty or carrying out an undertaking.
Dependence on other creates distrust on one’s own powers and leads to idleness and inactivity. It has also a weak influence on character and willpower.
Self-reliance is a great virtue. It is the secret of success in life. A self-reliant person has full confidence in his own powers. In the struggle of life, he is not discouraged by failures, nor disheartened by reverses. A person without self-confidence is unable to help himself.
Self-reliance builds self-confidence: He cannot expect to achieve distinction, nor can he make satisfactory progress in any undertaking in life. On the other hand, a self-reliant person is almost sure to succeed in the struggle of life. He is confident of his own strength and as he relies on his resources. His efforts are crowned with success.
It strengthens our character: Self-reliant has a great formative influence on character. It braces up our dropping spirits in the midst of despair and despondency. It serves as a beacon-light to us when we are in the midst of dangers and difficulties. A person without self-reliance has no stamina; he is an easy prey to constant changes of opinion. He has no fixed purpose and firm resolve.
Self-reliance is essential for both individual and national progress. Without it, neither an individual, nor a nation, can prosper in this world. If we carefully study the history of the rise and fall of great empires, we shall find that it is upon this supreme virtue that their prosperity was built and that its want brought about their downfall.
History records numerous instances of the need and value of self-reliance. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that success in life is mainly due to self-reliance and self-help. Napoleon became a world conqueror, because he had great confidence in his own powers and resources.
Conclusion: Self-reliance is an inestimable quality in the daily struggle of life. It contributes very largely to success in life and to the fulfillment of our ambitions. We should, therefore, cultivate this great virtue from early life; without it no great undertaking is possible in life.
Category: BlogTagged With: Good Habits
In this essay, Emerson champions the individual. He encourages each person to listen to his/her inner voice. This essay is very much in opposition to things like conformity. Emerson writes, "Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist." Shortly before this, he writes that self-reliance is the aversion to conformity. In other words, it is the opposite of conformity. Instead of going along with what is socially popular, the individual should be bold enough...
In this essay, Emerson champions the individual. He encourages each person to listen to his/her inner voice. This essay is very much in opposition to things like conformity. Emerson writes, "Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist." Shortly before this, he writes that self-reliance is the aversion to conformity. In other words, it is the opposite of conformity. Instead of going along with what is socially popular, the individual should be bold enough to be different.
Emerson adds that the self-reliant individual should also be willing to change. He writes that "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." In other words, doing the same thing over and over again is simplistic, something done by people with "little minds." The self-reliant individual will be abnormal to the conformists. Since he/she does not conform to society and is willing to practice inconsistencies and differing viewpoints, he/she will look odd to other members of society. Emerson says this is quite alright. He gives examples of famous thinkers who were also misunderstood: Pythagoras, Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton. "To be great is to be misunderstood." Society wants people to be consistent, to follow the rules and ways of thinking that society prescribes. Emerson wants people to do the opposite.
Emerson also warns against being awed by great buildings or by great historical figures. He says that the ordinary individual is just as capable of individual genius in his/her own way. Self-reliance is for everyone, not just the famous geniuses he's listed earlier (Copernicus, Galileo, etc.). Emerson notes that the self-reliant individual should not rely on intermediaries, institutions, or authorities to find his own truth. He claims that adherence to tradition stifles creativity. With religion, for example, if the answers are already established, how can the individual discover new, creative ways of understanding God and moral truths?
Self-reliance is about looking inward. Reliance on outward things (society, conformity, property, and material possessions) is a mindless activity. The self-reliant person looks to him/herself for answers. This is the only way for the individual to truly understand his potential.