Radical self reliance to discover your inner strength

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The term ‘radical self reliance’ might seem like a foreign concept to you, it certainly did to me when I first heard it. Whatever the family culture you grew up with, if you’re reading this article you’re most probably a modern individual with limited ability to cope if some kind of apocalypse actually arrives.

Radical self-reliance is a common theme of movies

The idea of everything around you changing in an instant is a common theme in the media. There are plenty of gripping movies and TV shows as well as writers from Steven King to Cormac McCarthy, exploring what it would be like if all the modern amenities that you take for granted suddenly ended.

And in these stories, the protagonist either has super skills or at least finds their inner strength to make it through. Usually managing to look amazing at all times.

Watching people exercise radical self reliance is fascinating

Who hasn’t enjoyed watching Survivor and similar shows. It’s fascinating to see what people are prepared to do and how far they’re prepared to go when it’s a matter of having something to eat and somewhere to sleep.

It’s fun to watch other people cope in a situation of no electricity, no fuel, no running water and (gasp) no internet. The people who demonstrate radical self reliance in practical and emotional terms are the ones who cope better.

You never expect a survival situation to happen to you

It’s easy to engage in an imaginary scenario in a book, movie, or on TV, when you know that no one is in actual danger. Even in real life, reading about someone else’s disaster might make you momentarily grateful for your own life, but it probably doesn’t push you to do anything differently.

I also read the books and watched the movies just like everyone else, but I never actually personalised this idea. Over my life it’s sad how many times I’ve seen countries at war and refugees streaming over borders. Yet I never applied it to my own life in terms of making some kind of emergency plan.

Until one day I saw my sister struggling to do something and I asked her why she so seldom asks for help. She pointed out that sooner or later we are all alone in a difficult situation with no one to call on. When you’ve learned to rely on yourself in all kinds of situations, you’ll have the internal resources to cope.

Disaster happens to everybody

Have you seriously considered what you, personally, would do in such a situation? If not, it might be time you thought about building some radical self-reliance for yourself.

You might be on your own

It’s even more difficult to survive if you’re alone when something bad happens. At least if there are other people around it’s possible to ask for help.

Even if the bad thing isn’t apocalyptic, or even necessarily dangerous, there will be plenty of times in your life when you find yourself with no one to help you except yourself.

There are so many situations where things go wrong

Maybe you’re sick in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. You need to find a way to get help. Or you’re living alone for the first time (or living alone after years of living with others).

You might at some point find yourself on your own in a new place without any money. Could you find your own job, pay your own bills, manage on your own? Suddenly you might need to do things you may never have done. Or something goes wrong late at night and there’s no one to call.

Hone your practical skills

Not many people know how to build a basic shelter, find water and make sure it’s drinkable, make a fire, or forage for food. Yet how helpful it would be to know these things if you get lost on a walk because the weather turned bad, or you have a tyre blowout and you’re far away from help.

Your phone isn’t always charged. Could you manage if you were isolated in a remote area and something went wrong?

Radical self reliance is a mindset

Practical survival skills are important but not the only or even the most important aspect of radical self reliance. It’s impossible to be prepared for every difficult circumstance you might encounter (although some preparation is better than none). Being able to trust in your own resilience is a mindset.

If you’re really alone, or in some kind of context where you can’t reach out, curling up and crying just exacerbates the problems you’re facing. Of course it’s ok to curl up and cry if you need to, but at some point you have to get up and do something.

Don’t wait for an emergency to exercise your radical self reliance

Self reliance is like a muscle. If you’ve never exercised it, yours will be weak. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t find a way to cope, but it’s surely going to be easier if you’re already an independent person who is able to do things by yourself.

Becoming physically and emotionally self-reliant means taking responsibility for your own health and happiness. When you take care of yourself and make sure your own needs are met, you’re better able to help others.

Know when to reach out

You don’t have to do everything and be everything on your own. It’s ok to reach out to other people and in fact, an important radical self-reliance skill is knowing when to reach out and how to communicate.

Blue-footed booby success formula: How to practice radical self reliance

  1. Learn how to do things on your own first, before asking for help. Thanks to YouTube videos, learning how to do stuff is easier than ever before.
  2. Do a survival course
  3. Go camping. One of the best ways to learn survival skills is to camp.
  4. Do therapy or life coaching. Sorting out your issues will help you to become your own emotional self-support system

Practice stepping out of your comfort zone

Radical self reliance is about making courageous choices that take you out of your comfort zone on a practical and on an emotional level. Maybe you haven’t ever really done this, but it’s never too late to start, booby.

If you have a tip about building radical self reliance, please share it in the comments. Or if you find this article helpful, go ahead and share it.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Anna

    Great article. Gives pause for thought..

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