Virtue: Self Reliance
I chose to write about Self Reliance first in our set of Virtues because its been heavily on my mind for the past few months. What I’ve come to understand more and more about myself is how Self Reliant I am. I suppose it has to do with how I was raised, how no one else is going to make me happy but myself. As an adult I look at the events that have passed, and realize the hobbies/interests that attract me the most are the ones that rely on me, not on a tool, or product, or other persons. Six months ago I started bouldering (rock climbing without the gear), I’m drawn to this more because it is a sport that relies strictly on the skill of the climber, nothing else. Same holds true for learning music and practicing bass, my improvements are strictly dependent upon myself. Individual sports like running, reading/researching, writing, fitness and health are more examples of this attraction. The test to myself is in the improvement and if I have what it takes to progress. If I do, the success is all mine. If I fail, it is only my fault. Thus, why Self Reliance is more uncommon than you’d like to believe. In team sports, if the team fails, you can point the finger at someone else, or even share the burden. This seems to be a theme for many people dependent upon others, products, or the next new fitness craze.
In fitness terms, you find dependency in products with strong marketing behind them, from equipment, to apparel, to supplements, and training programs. If you rely on these external sources to provide you with results, you’ve already failed. Happiness (results) comes from within. There is no product that will grant you these results. I repeat, no product on the market will grant you results. The best results come from within, through the time, effort, and dedication. If you find yourself using these products or following these programs, and do find success, it wasn’t the product, it was you. Examples of this are as followed:
- Buying a specific running shoe to make you faster
- Taking a weight loss supplement when changes in diet and exercise would be more suitable
- Buying a piece of exercise equipment that guarantees quick results
- Always having a workout buddy
- Always having music to listen to during a workout
- Having caffeine everyday
- Workout magazines
- Negative thoughts
- Comparing yourself with others
What makes the Spartans so strong is they are each individually strong links of a chain, when brought together they form a sturdy team. That individual strength of each Spartan comes from within, from the hours, days, and years of mental, spirit, and physical testing. Not from a false sense of strength dependent upon others, or products, or supplements.Which acts as a safety net when you do fail, so the blame can fall back on anyone or anything other than yourself.
The Spartan need only:
- Ones self in full attention
- Dedication, Discipline, and Readiness
- Mind, Body, and Spirit
- Fuel for the body (with no toxic calories)
- Tools to aid in progress
By detaching yourself from gimmicks and non-necessities, you liberate yourself from the chains of a market designed to sell you product. You become in tune with a more focused, stronger self. A higher sense of perspective is achieved as you develop a greater reliability of yourself. It is a similar message to Kumare’ (a recent documentary about a fake guru who’s message is that you don’t need guru’s), the power, the strength, the responsibility comes from within. While not solely detached from everything, we do have to be smart about what is needed to survive and what isn’t. It is a challenge to investigate these subjects and an even greater task to follow through with it. The greater the Self Reliance, the greater the results. Once detached from these chains, you’ll become more efficient with your time spent.