On self-reliance

I'm finding that a lot of folks these days are singing the praise of self-reliance and independence, be it countries, companies or individuals. The logic as far as I understand it is that one can stand stronger when crisis hits and one also can avoid the disappointment of others failing to deliver when it is most needed. Or avoid going through the emotional hassle of trusting someone. Better to do everything by oneself and control one's own destiny.

I believe this reasoning is flawed. Not that the striving for self-reliance and independence is inherently bad. On the contrary this can be very good as long as it reflects a genuine interest in accepting responsibility and accountability for one's actions and non-actions.

But when self-reliance and independence become a strategy to avoid vulnerability and possible failure it is pushing the whole idea too far and making it counter-productive. As far as I am concerned being overly self-reliant is a recipe for lonliness and becoming irrelevant. And chronic blaming of other people's incompetence over one's own brilliance.

Humans and our enterprises are defined by relationships. If you don't trust others, if you can't stand things going wrong, if you can't show your uncertainty or weakness then much of what it is to be human is lost.

In general we humans develop together through our interactions, not in isolation. You can chose your attitude towards this. It either sucks big time and keeps all your talent and brilliance boggled down. Or you can decide to join the adventure of human messiness. You risk making an ass of yourself. You risk being let down by people you trusted. You risk things turning out different than you imagined, and some times even better than you imagined! You risk that your shining ego not be seen as brightly as you dream of.

But you also win the joy of genuinely helping other people. You win the joy of achieving things with others. And sharing accomplishment. And tapping into so much love and energy that you never would have gotten access to otherwise.

I know what I am talking about. I have switched sides. And it has made all the difference.

Jan

 

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