What is Self-Reliance?

Freedom by Ayn Rand

Nearly everybody you know probably lives a lifestyle that’s like yours, right? They have a job and five days a week they go to that job and work for at least eight hours a day. Getting to the job everyday involves a commute to work and then another commute at the end of the day to get home. They likely own a home. They also likely have at least one car, maybe two. They work the job to pay for the mortgage that allowed them to purchase the home they live in. They also work the job to pay for the vehicle that allows them to get to and from work.

There are one hundred and sixty eight hours in a week. At least forty hours every week are spent at work. The average commute to work is one half hour. So, another seven hours, on average, every week are spent going to and coming home from work. Everyone has to sleep. The average adult sleeps nearly eight hours every night. So an additional forty hours are consumed by resting in order to be prepared for the next day at work. Then there are the routine tasks that are required to maintain the house and car or cars. There are commitments that involve others. Everyone eats, so that takes time. All of these “average” lifestyle activities quickly add up, so much so that anyone who lives an “average” lifestyle has less than two hours every day that they can call their own. Every other hour is spoken for, taken up by activities that support the lifestyle.

Freedom (N.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.
– Ayn Rand

When you think about it, the average lifestyle is one of dependency. We have to work because we have to pay for things that we really don’t own. We have to work because we have to buy food that we don’t produce. We have to do things that we necessarily do not want to do because we are made to feel that doing those things is normal. We do things that we don’t want to do because we want to conform.

Self-reliance rejects the “average” lifestyle. Self-reliance doesn’t conform simply for the sake of conforming. Self-reliance isn’t influenced by what someone else says. Self-reliance is about living life on your own terms. It’s about doing what you want to do and living your life as you see fit. Self-reliance is about independence and non-conformity. Self-reliance is about freedom.

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