SELF-RELIANT: Definition, Examples, and Quotes

Image Source:

When we are self-reliant, we take advantage of the gifts and skills God has given us to take care of our family and ourselves, as well as to solve our own difficulties. Being self-reliant is the ability to rely on oneself rather than other people for things. Humans are autonomous and self-sufficient when they are self-reliant and they are also better able to help and take care of others. Future entrepreneurs who are self-reliant are more inclined to think for themselves, value originality, and work toward their objectives. By assisting the neighborhood businesses, it strengthens the social structure overall, including in the business community. So, are you self-reliant? Is your business? We’ll highlight the importance of being self-reliant and having a self-reliant business using examples and quotes to back it up.

What is Self-Reliant?

Self-reliant is the ability of people, households, or society to meet their basic needs in a sustainable manner. Self-reliance is a program strategy to enhance and strengthen the livelihood of the target population while lowering their susceptibility to and dependency on outside help over the long run.

Self-reliant people are autonomous, or able to provide for themselves. Some of us become independent right from childhood when we learn to cook for ourselves, ride the bus by ourselves, and do other things on our own.

Even though he may not have originated the idea, Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with popularizing it through his 1841 essay Self-Reliance.

Self-sufficiency’s beneficial effects on well-being provide it with theoretical weight in the field of positive psychology. You may see parallels or at least implications for concepts like self-esteem, freedom of speech, introspection, resiliency, and acceptance of oneself.

Clearly, then, the emphasis should not be on a solo effort. Additionally, it has nothing to do with financial independence. And it’s definitely not about dealing with all of your difficulties by yourself.

What Makes a Person Self-Reliant?

Being self-reliant means one is free from these societal forces and can rely on their own judgment and decisions. Emerson and Transcendentalism both advocate trusting oneself as a result. To trust your own judgment sometimes, if not always, rather than what other people think.

How Does Self-Reliance Lead to Success?

A person who is self-reliant understands the distinction between who they are and the manner in which they were raised, as well as how to identify their basic feelings. They can utilize this information to become more self-assured and speak up for themselves in front of a crowd. They develop greater independence and gain the capacity for leadership duties.

Getting things done on our own raises our effectiveness, boosts our self-esteem, and increases the possibility that we will work harder in the future, especially under trying conditions. As a result, being self-reliant is crucial and can lead to success.

What Are the Three Characteristics of a Self-Reliant Person?

These are the basic three characteristics wrapped up in self-reliance:

  • Resourcefulness 
  • Resilience
  • Reliability

What Are the Four Key Points in Self-Reliance?

Emerson currently concentrates on four social spheres where self-reliant people are required:

  • Religion, which fears creativity
  • Culture, which devalues individualism
  • The arts, which only educate us to mimic; and
  • Society, which misplaces importance on so-called development.

Self-Reliant in Business

As an SME owner, your company is frequently your top priority. Additionally, starting a firm will require a lot of resolve and willpower. Besides, there is no greater satisfaction in business than being your own boss, plus success from being self-reliant and creating a winning venture from scratch. You have only yourself to thank if things go well and to blame if they don’t. 

But, what are the secrets to self-reliance’s success? These seven ideas will enable you to develop a successful business on your own in the twenty-first century.

#1. Create a Distinctive Story

It’s crucial in business to demonstrate to customers how you stand out from the competition. What makes you unique? What distinguishes your company’s operations from those of your rivals? You must be able to explain to a layperson in 30 seconds why your company is unique, distinctive, and different. Create a memorable story that you love to tell and that will stick in the minds of your audience. In actuality, this may be as easy as creating a unique brand for yourself that sets you apart from the competition. A strong differentiation strategy is even more crucial if you’re starting your own business. You’ll be up against it if all of your efforts are devoted to doing the same things that others are already doing.

#2. Consider Seeking Counsel, but Keep In Mind That Your Story Is Exceptional

It might be intimidating to venture into unfamiliar territory, especially when working for yourself. It’s crucial to learn from others; therefore, ask the opinion of experts who have achieved some level of success in your industry. But take that advice with a grain of salt. When taking advice, new firms frequently run the risk of changing too much and losing sight of what’s really crucial.

#3. Be Adaptable, but Also Patient

Starting your own business can be sluggish and challenging in the early stages. It’s challenging to watch as your savings decrease and your revenue dwindles. During these early stages, be adaptable but patient. During this time, new firms frequently make blunders by trying to drive and supplement their income too much and losing sight of their initial responsibilities. Try your best to be patient in the beginning if you have a strong company idea and are confident in your research. Making decisions on when to be flexible and when to maintain patience can be challenging when working alone because there is no one else to keep you in check.

#4. Invest in Your Brand Identity Since Appearance Is Everything

First impressions count for a lot, and when you’re operating by yourself, the exclusivity of your company can work against you when competing for clients. You might look to be as big and successful as those that are already well-established in the marketplace if you invest in creating outstanding brand identity packages. Furthermore, if you can’t handle this on your own, engage a designer to develop your brand identity. Create a strong brand name and some descriptive words for your good or service, and then employ talented people to give it a face. A powerful, superior brand identity will quickly pay for itself, despite initially appearing to be expensive.

#5. Inspire Yourself, but Be Aware of Your Limitations

To be self-reliant in business, you must be aware of your limitations. You might be able to design, create, advertise, and sell a product all by yourself, but can you effectively manage your money? Are you competent enough to create a credible online presence if a significant portion of your business is conducted online? When working for yourself, it’s critical to have confidence in your skills and to acknowledge your limitations. What you can’t accomplish well enough on your own, hire a professional to do.

#6. Make and Maintain Genuine Ties

When you are working for yourself, your workplace might become pretty lonely. It’s crucial to establish and maintain genuine relationships with other business professionals, which is difficult to do on your own without assistance. You can make connections with other individuals who work in your field through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and applications like Skype or Gchat. Participate in conferences, become a member of trade organizations, and make connections with others who have similar interests. These relationships are extremely beneficial since they may serve as a sounding board for your ideas and a source of information, news, and guidance. In the realm of self-reliance, there are no communal conversations, so making genuine contacts is crucial for your spirit and market knowledge.

#7. Get a Place of Your Own and Leave It Frequently

It’s crucial to have a designated workspace for work if, like us, you spend the majority of your time online. A laptop in the living room is not going to solve it because interruptions will keep you from concentrating. Find a place to work that you can use for free or for a fee, whether it be at home or somewhere else. Additionally, if you own a spare room, you may be able to deduct a portion of your mortgage or rent from your taxes. You’ll have the opportunity to stay on task and finish your work on time if you find a dedicated workspace. But keep in mind that being sedentary in your office can hinder your ability to be creative. Once you’ve established your place, make sure you venture outside frequently. Visit a park, a library, or perhaps a Starbucks for a change of environment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Self-Reliance

As previously mentioned, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a US philosopher, wrote an essay in 1841 with the subject and title “Self-Reliance.” Emerson, who was born in Boston in 1803, produced poetry and gave lectures that had a big impact on writers like Henry Thoreau and Walt Whitman (IEP, 2019).

Emerson’s thoughts and viewpoints on how society hinders human development are outlined in Self-Reliance. He makes the strong case that, among other factors, independence, self-reliance, and self-trust are all ways we might avoid forced uniformity. Or, he adds, we rather frequently put ourselves under pressure.

Although I’ll try to highlight only the points that deserve the greatest emphasis, it’s a strong piece of writing that is definitely worth reading in its entirety. 

Self Reliant Examples

From Emerson’s writings, one can infer a lot of things. Here are a few illustrations of some significant ideas from his ground-breaking essay, Self-Reliance.

#1. Thinking Independently

Trusting your instincts and being able to think independently go hand in hand. Emerson wrote extensively about how people frequently “hide behind” what they have picked up from society or important people there. He thought this was just imitation and associated with a lack of faith in one’s own intuition and capacity for reason.

Basically, nothing should prevent you (or I, or anyone) from confidently expressing a belief if you (or we) think it’s worth it after careful consideration. Emerson thought that failing to do so would be a pointless act of social conformity.

#2. Embracing Your Uniqueness

For a more concrete illustration, consider Grace having parents who are both attorneys. They are inspired by Grace’s high academic standing and will do anything to see her follow in their footsteps.

However, Grace discovers that she spends every free moment at home penning poems. Through her poetry, she hopes to change the world and impact people’s lives. She decides to pursue a career as a poet instead because she is most content in this place.

#3. Setting and Bravely Pursuing Your Own Goals

In addition to the aforementioned, Grace works to achieve her own objectives, which include becoming a poet. Despite knowing that she will benefit greatly from her parents’ emotional and financial support if she pursues what they want, she is willing to take a chance. She adheres to the concepts of “cause and effect” (Emerson, 1967) and deliberate action. She doesn’t worry too much about her parent’s disapproval of her because all she desires is to be and feel good about herself.

These illustrations illustrate the three ideas that are most directly associated with individualism and are based on the main contentions in Emerson’s original thesis on self-reliance. It’s critical to keep in mind that being independent doesn’t mean isolating yourself from the outside world.

The fact is, being true to yourself, having the capacity for independent thought, being aware of your own passions, and having the freedom to pursue them without regard for the opinions of others do not equate to withdrawing from society.

While Emerson did go into great detail about the benefits of solitude, the concept of connecting with others and having friends is a major theme in his writing.

Quotes on Self Reliant

Here are some great self-reliant quotes;

  • “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” ― Maya Angelou
  • “The strength of self-reliance and self-development is that of science and technology, and the shortcut to implementing the five-year strategy is to give importance and precedence to science and technology” – Kim Jong-un
  • “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” ― Charlotte Brontë,
  • “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “When Marcus Garvey spoke about self-reliance, he wasn’t only talking about people of color. It’s like self-reliance in general, for anyone. Just keep moving and moving within the right direction, and everything will be alright.” – Burning Spear
  • “It was one thing to make a mistake; it was another thing to keep making it. I knew what happened when you let yourself get close to someone when you started to believe they loved you: you’d be disappointed. Depend on someone, and you might as well admit you’re going to be crushed because when you really needed them, they wouldn’t be there. Either that or you’d confide in them and you added to their problems. All you ever really had was yourself, and that sort of sucked if you were less than reliable.” ― Jodi Picoult
  • “If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson
  • “We are so accustomed to the comforts of “I cannot”, “I do not want to” and “it is too difficult” that we forget to realize when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak.” ― Pandora Poikilos

Why is Self-Reliance important?

Self-reliance is crucial since completing tasks on our own promotes productivity, boosts self-esteem, and raises the possibility that we will work harder in the future, especially under trying conditions (Bandura, 1997).


Being self-reliant is essential since doing things on our own increases productivity, boosts self-esteem, and increases the likelihood that we will work harder in the future, especially in challenging circumstances.

A company that is financially self-reliant makes enough money from selling its goods and services to cover all of its costs, including rent, utilities, payroll, and inventory. A company that is completely self-reliant also doesn’t require outside contributions to grow.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like