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What is self-reliance?

For months, we have been casually polling people – what do they think the term “self-reliance” means?

The formal vs informal definition

The dictionary defines it as “reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others,” which, you know…isn’t vague at all.

Personally, we define it more in terms of enabling independence. Self-reliance is a difficult thing to pin down because of the fluid nature of our own abilities and how others impact us, directly or indirectly through the resources and commodities we consume.

So at Exothermic, we view it as a lifestyle. A lifestyle fueled by several different forms of motivation, but still a lifestyle. It’s being able to step back, identify what you’re relying on, understanding the good and the bad, and then making steps – large or small ones – to becoming a more independent, self-reliant individual.

You might be reliant on smoking or nicotine. You might be reliant on specific friends or family members. You might be reliant on the Internet. Or the convenience of fast food or restaurants. Or a local energy grid. Or oil-fueled cars.

There’s no right or wrong. But being able to identify what you rely on and making conscious decisions on whether you keep relying on things or not, some dependencies being healthier than others – that is a self-reliant lifestyle.

Different interpretations

But a lot of people view the term in a lot of different ways. When we asked some people to think about the word “self-reliance,” one person immediately said “guns.” Another said “financial independence, being free from loans.” Another said “sustainability” and another said they thought of “home energy kits, solar panels, windmills, and those generators you can put on your bike.” In terms of companies, another person said “companies that sell tools to create rather than sell finished products.”

At Exothermic, we partner with brands and organizations who support people seeking self-reliance. Those companies who do indeed sell tools to create rather than sell finished products.

We split it up into three main categories of self-reliance – Self-Improvement, Sustainability and Survivalism. Three very different approaches but very common paths people take to their own version of self-reliance.

Why’s this important?

Self-reliance is more important now than ever before, in the modern age, because we are in an era of rapid change. Think about how different the world was 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, or even 50 years ago. Our species has never seen change at such a rapid pace.

Globalization has not been kind to the normal person. Uncertainty is hard. Taking some steps towards self-reliance is something that I think we can all benefit from as we grapple with addictions to commodities, processed foods and consumerism as a whole.

We support and partner with brands helping people better themselves. At Exothermic, we support self-reliance.

What self reliance lifestyle do you think you fall under, or wish you did? Let us know your thoughts or if you disagree with the definition we’ve chosen – we’d love to keep improving.

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