Man on the Mountain

Last night I watched the movie Lion starring Dev Patel. In the beginning, a small poor family lived in a very impoverished area in India. The mother had a very laborsome job of carrying rocks. Her pay was not sufficient to keep her children well fed so the older and younger brothers, Guddu and Saroo (about 12 and 5 in age) take it upon themselves to steal coal off of moving trains and sell the coal to survive. It was not easy and it was a dangerous job among the two siblings. Also, Guddu took night shifts at a train stop to make some more money. He was not dependent on his mother’s income but went to fend for himself to keep his belly full along with his family. That got me thinking about this post.

What is self-reliance?

: Reliance on one’s own capabilities, judgment, or resources; independence.

Self-reliance, independence, autonomy… whatever you want to call it, involves you relying on your own devices as an individual. Very few people are self-reliant these days. We often have very needy, extra-dependent people in our lives that seem like they cannot do anything for themselves. Remember every single one of us began like that as an infant. Completely helpless and naive, our parents took care of us in every aspect of our lives to keep us safe. As that is perfectly normal and appreciated as a child, that same behavior is detrimental as an adult. Being completely dependent on others’ as an adult means a lack of freedom in your life. If you fully rely on other people, you lack the ability to do anything on your own terms. This guide is to help you regain that freedom.

Understand the Lack of Control

To become self-reliant, you have to understand that you are not in control when relying on others.  You are on their terms. A small example that I’ll use later is constantly catching rides with people. When relying on someone getting you to and fro, you are completely on their time. You are ready when they are ready. For everybody that has caught a ride with a friend, you know EXACTLY what I mean. You leave when they want to leave and you cannot have them waiting while you get dress. Also, you are not in control of how many stops they’ll take until you get to where you want to be. Even with a small situation like this, I’m sure it can make you incredibly anxious and frustrated to keep having to depend on somebody else and not have the control you should have.

Car with text painted - "Fuck Off"

Hold Yourself Accountable

After you understand the lack of control you have when constantly depending on others, begin holding yourself accountable. When you make an obligation your responsibility to fulfill, you find a way to get it done. When you give your responsibility to attend a meeting to your friend, it places the obligation on them. It is not their responsibility to be at that meeting at a specific time, it is yours. When you keep yourself accountable you find other ways to get your tasks done. I understand that everyone does not have a car but there are alternatives. One alternative is collecting free rides on Uber* (see note below) by referring people and begin using those. At least with an Uber, you can set a time to be picked up for when you want to be picked up and it’d be your responsibility to be ready on time. There is also no extra, unexpected stops. This is a great first step until you get your own set of wheels.

Being self-reliant gives you power. You can do what you want on your own terms. You don’t have to wait for anyone else to get your business taken care of. Remember the anxiety and frustration you feel when you are not in control whilst relying on others. Hold yourself accountable. Own the responsibility you have and take the step to getting it done. You’ll feel better that you regained the freedom of relying on yourself.

* If it is your first time using Uber, you can use my code for a free ride to up to $15 – 7t688vggue. I cannot just tell you to be self-reliant and not give you a way to be self-reliant.