I was watching the youtubes a while back, because...well, because I didn't feel like working for a bit.
I saw a random vlog post by someone who spoke about being "self-sufficient" vs "self-reliant."
Very interesting. I think I prefer, as did the vlogger, to work toward "self-reliance" rather than "self-sufficiency." Partly because people have ideas about self-sufficiency being an absolute. Much like "off-grid" there are levels of self-sufficiency. Is one off-grid if one uses gasoline? One probably does not drill and refine one's own petroleum. One did not make, probably, the engine into which one puts the gasoline. You get it...there is a grid out there and it's not realistic to live in the US, or the developed world, and not bump into the grid now and then. I have a stand alone solar system and a well. But I do drink water at work from the tap and am typing right now on a computer that is plugged into the grid. So, am I self-sufficient and off-grid? Is it like being a "flexitarian"? Those vegetarians who eat meat sometimes? I'm off-grid-ish at home, but not at work. Anyway, I don't really care. I'm not in an "off-grid" competition anymore than I'm in a "self-sufficiency" competition. I do overtly work toward self-reliance.
So what do I think "self-reliance" is? (Way to set up a straw man so I can respond to it! Good debate technique.)
I think Self-Reliance means having the skills, knowledge, supplies and motivation to deal with one's problems, and the self awareness to know when one is in over one's head and needs help.
I'm working toward that. I don't have all the skills, knowledge, etc yet. Maybe one day, maybe not.
The last bit, knowing when to get help, is also important. Being self-reliant falls apart if one can't deal with a problem but won't get help, or doesn't even know to get help. The problem can upset the whole shebam.
E.g. Folks who don't have the skills or self-reflection needed to see that their debt is a problem and pay it down to a manageable amount, perchance an amount of zero. I've seen people get credit card cash advances to pay the credit card bill, while not mustering up the motivation to cut up the card or otherwise quit using it. The problem escalates and in a case or two I've seen personally, put the people out of house and home. I've also seen someone figured out that they were not good with money, drowning in debt, and not able to sort it out. This person faced the issue, decided this was not something they could solve on their own, and got help. The help was dramatic and possibly traumatic, but resulted in a better life with cash flowing through a money manager. The person was able to free up time and mental energy and develop other attainable skills.
For me, I will never be a builder. I want to learn the basics and play around the edges, but for the big stuff, it ain't a happenin'. I will never get a roof over my head, but I might put up a wall. Or maybe hang a shelf. So, I am getting help with the roof bit. That takes money so I'm using my mad penny pinching skills to pull together that money.
Here are some of the elements of my self-reliance (not yours, not anyone else's). I'll do blogs on some of them individually:
1) Reference library.
2) Solar system
6) Reliable Vehicle (hear me knocking on that wood?)
10) Paper calendar
11) Notebooks/writing stuff
12) Food stock
13) Sturdy clothes
15) "Junk" that seems useful (and often is)
16) Tools for building/gardening/etc
17) Cooking utensils
18) Liquid assets/savings
22) Manual Appliances (like not electric)
1) Knowing what I want vs what I need
2) Food: Production, gathering, processing, preserving, cooking, etc
5) Familiarity with resource sites (dumpsters, recycling center, community garden, libraries...etc)
7) Observation skills
8) Record keeping skills
9) Willingness to try new things, to fail, to assess, to try again
10) Personal awareness/insight
12) Chicken husbandry
13) Paying attention
14) Seeing the whole system and spotting the weak spots
There must be more, but this is where my brain (and my break time) ran out. This will be revised as I blog about the bits and pieces of it.