Do you remember learning how to ride a bicycle? You probably first rode a tricycle and thought you were the king of the world. Then came the “big kid bike” with training wheels. WOW. But when those training wheels came off, it all came down to you. Yikes. If you were anything like me, you had more scrapes and bumps than you could imagine. But that was a small price to pay for independence. I remember thinking that my bike was fun, and I could now go anywhere I wanted. Do you rely on others for support or count on yourself?
Learning to ride a bike, with training wheels, is a fitting analogy for other areas of life. While getting help may seem tempting at first glance, it can become habit-forming. If that happens, you’ll end up sacrificing more than you can imagine — self-determination. The result? A life in which you’ve outsourced control over your destiny. If that sounds scary, it should. Are you self-reliant or overly dependent on others?
The one person you can always count on is yourself.
Count on Yourself
Self-reliance is the ultimate survival tool because it provides you with the confidence and ability to confront any challenge you face. The converse is also true. If you become overly dependent, you place control of your future in other people’s hands.
Are you overly dependent? Do you:
- Ask for help even though you can easily do things yourself?
- Try to impress others instead of being true to yourself?
- Expect to be bailed out for bad choices?
- Seek advice instead of arriving at your own conclusions?
- Follow the pack instead of thinking for yourself?
- Seek constant validation instead of trusting your own judgment?
- Require constant hand-holding even though you don’t need support?
- Adopt other people’s opinions rather than forming your own?
- Let naysayers place doubt in your mind instead of passionately pursuing your dreams?
- Demand special treatment instead of being treated equally?
- Blame others instead of shouldering responsibility for your actions?
- Wait to be spoon-fed instead of investing in your personal development?
- Demand rewards instead of earning them?
- Give in to temptation rather than listening to your conscience?
Personal Responsibility Can’t Be Delegated
There is nothing wrong with seeking someone’s advice, adopting someone’s opinion, or accepting someone’s help occasionally. But when you become overly dependent — and that behavior becomes the option of choice — you’re relinquishing the ability to control your life. In short, when you use people as a crutch or ask for handouts that you don’t earn, it strips you of your confidence, robs you of your dignity, and deprives you of the joy of living a meaningful life. If this sounds unappealing, remember that this way of living isn’t imposed on you. It’s your choice.
Dependency is a trap that’s easy to enter, but hard to escape.
You should always be able to count on yourself. After all, who’s more capable of satisfying your needs than you? If you can’t depend on yourself, what does that portend about your future? As the saying goes, “Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.” Your destiny lies in your hands. Grab hold of it rather than relinquishing that responsibility to others. After all, you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
Check out Frank’s new book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.
Can You Count on Yourself?
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