Self-Sufficiency

“Why ask for your daily bread when you own the bakery?” 
― Randy Alcorn

After writing my piece on self-improvement it occurred to me that the next legitimate step from there is that of self-sufficiency/self-reliance. Self-sufficiency is defined as the ability to supply one’s own or its own needs without external assistance. In living in a consumerist world, this idea can seem foreign to many individuals, especially young people living in first world countries. However, the benefits of becoming self-reliant far outweigh the drawbacks; one becomes much more valuable, confident and productive in the eyes of oneself and others.

When reliance is placed on external individuals such as parents, a significant other, government and friends, there is never the act of truly making a personally decision. By relying on other people for advancement, you sit at the feet of those who produce or possess the things you require. This poses as a legitimate concern when having to make big decisions as you would have to seek the approval of others. By acknowledging the need to become more self-reliant, there are a number of steps that must be taken.

To begin, there has to be the implementation of a self-reliant mindset. This step entails owning up to the things that would normally require parents or others to perform for you. By doing this, you will begin to recognize just how self-reliant you truly are and would then be able to make subsequent alterations. For example, if you live with your parents, stop them from carrying about tasks for you, these would include duties such as doing laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking etc. Afterwards, when you begin to personally perform these tasks, you are now then able to recognize how reliant you are and now  be able to go to step 2.

The second step is becoming knowledgeable regarding the tasks needed to done in your life. This differs amongst individuals but for the sake of simplicity, I will continue with the example of living with parents or guardian. By now having to cook your own meals, you will now need the knowledge on how to cook at least the basic essentials to survive. If you do not know how to cook, or do know how but cannot perform it on a regular basis you will need to begin learning how to cook as well as becoming disciplined enough to complete this task regularly. Another example that is relevant today is that of managing finances. A large majority of people grow up without having any legitimate knowledge of how to control finances. Consequently, when they are finally on their own they tend to get themselves in the deep end because they have truly been tossed into the deep end without knowing how to swim. By taking courses online or at local financial institutions you can be able to become financially literate. Managing finances in particular is something that needs to be seriously studied, especially at a young age as to not run into major problems later on. (Note, when doing this, try not to rely on your parents for this knowledge unless you truly cannot gather the information on your own).

Thirdly, based on your goals add and remove any relevant or irrelevant activities to create a more fluid lifestyle. By completing step 1 and 2 you would have seen how much or little time you have on your hands if you are on your own. I like to think of life as the human body – important activities such as working out and learning new skills are the muscle and crucial organs. The activities that you use to pass time such as playing video games, binge drinking and partying are considered the fat. To have a healthy lifestyle you must have both, but leaning more to muscle. Write down your plans for the future and adjust your life accordingly as you would be able to categorize your muscle gains from your fat gains.

Lastly, after following these three steps you will finally be in a place where you have a created a self-reliant mindset. At this point you have an understanding of what you need in your life and will be able to plan accordingly. You will be able to make decisions much more confidently and quickly as you now understand how your life operates. It is important to grasp that as life and desires change, there will always be alterations to your goals/needs/wants etc. As such, becoming self-reliant is a journey that carries one through many paths. Continually improve on what is needed in your life and frequently be introspective as this helps to keep focused on tasks ahead. Starting this sooner rather than later is always recommended, the time spent worrying about if people will come through for you can be spent on gaining knowledge of that particular need and finding ways to produce it.

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