Self Reliance

By Abida Ali (Kampala, Uganda)

The greatest virtues that one should try to cultivate are the habit of self-reliance. A man who relies upon himself wins a sort of glorious independence. For he has not to wait to be helped by others. To depend on others is to build on sand. Life to him is a great adventure, full of interest and excitement. He never feels dull and dispirited. “Most happy is he”, said Cicero, “who is entirely self-reliant, and who centers all his requirements in himself.” Thrown upon his own resources, he accepts the challenge of life, and develops new virtues and new qualities. His latent powers awaken and flourish. He is ever ready to take the initiative, always confident of finding a way out of difficulties.

In our country, the lesson of self-reliance is particularly needed. We are by nature fatalistic in our attitude. Our tendency is to depend too much on fate or change, or some other person to help us and to pull our chestnut out of the fire. This habit destroys the springs of action. But if we have courage, and initiative, we may become the masters of our destiny. There are many who make their fortune by their own efforts.

If it is God who has given us strength of body and power of mind, he surely expects us to help ourselves with these. It is our duty to develop the gifts that God has given us.

The carter who started cursing Fate when the wheels of his cart fell in a rut is a typical example of this attitude. He should have applied his own shoulder to the wheels to lift his cart from the rut. The sleeping faculties of a man come out and bear fruit when faced with crisis.

Self-reliance is the parent of many virtues. The self-reliant man is patient and persevering. He does not envy others, nor does he think of begging favors of others. He faces his misfortune with a quiet courage. Therefore, Emerson Calls self-reliance ‘the essence of heroism’, ‘the first secret of success’- The self-reliant man feels neither fear nor shame to labor with his own hands, if necessary. He is always learning new lessons, gathering valuable experience. His example is an inspiration and his achievement is an example to others. This confidence in him wins him the confidence of others.

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