Wednesday, 25 March 2009

How to remove the main obstacle to self-reliance

Given infinite time, everybody would be able to attain his goals in life.
  • Years spent moving around without direction would not matter much, since you would be able to try your luck countless times at any game.
  • Even making the same mistake repeatedly wouldn't bring anyone down, since errors lose relevance when compared with the possibility of endless improvement.
A boundless availability of time would render people fearless, but such infinity does not exist for any individual. By the time we reach our tenth year of age, we have all already acquired a solid grasp of the meaning of time.

Internalizing the fact that the human lifespan is limited pushes many into a chronic state of fear. The years available to a person for developing his relationships and career are not countless.

Time constraints magnify the consequences of mistakes. Excessive concern for the future is often the by-product of this realization.

A solid level of self-reliance is the perfect antidote to irrational apprehensions. No matter how lucky you are in any field, life will present you with a never-ending series of problems.

How can you increase your capacity to respond rationally and effectively to challenges? Which technique could you use to build self-confidence and peace of mind?

I have myself employed different methods with various levels of success. The approach that has
by far proven to be the most effective is removing the fantasy that constitutes the main obstacle to self-reliance. That fantasy is called perfection.

When we take delivery of a new car, we all know that, sooner or later, it is going to be scratched. If we cling to the belief that our vehicle must remain forever intact under any circumstances, what will be the likely consequences?

  • On the one side, we will become extremely upset the first time that the car suffers a minor scratch.
  • In addition, to reduce the possibility of damaging the car, some would tend to drive at such ridiculously slow speed that they might even cause themselves a traffic accident.

What can you do about it? My answer is simple. Make attempts at doing reasonably well in whatever you are up to, but forget about trying to achieve perfection. Seeking permanent bliss in life is like trying to learn a new game without ever making any mistakes.

Unrealistic expectations only lead to wasted effort. They will create extremely high levels of stress, shame, inhibition, and psychological paralysis.

Giving up the search for perfection and adopting a more realistic approach to life will naturally enhance your self-reliance. Let that be the engine that carries you forward on the road to a better life.


[Image by Klearchos Kapoutsis under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]