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Being self-reliant is critical. To make yourself less dependent on others and so-called experts, you need to expand your repertoire of skills. And you need to feel more confident in your own judgment. Understand: we tend to overestimate other people’s abilities—after all, they are trying hard to make it look as if they knew what they were doing—and we tend to underestimate our own. You must compensate for this by trusting yourself more and others less. (The 33 Strategies of War – Robert Greene)

We are lazy fucks. We are always looking for the quick fix, the shortcut, the fast buck, the magic diet, the secret to success the latest gurus and experts to lead the way into the promise land of success, happiness and fulfillment. We are perpetually looking to be led and shown the way, and a lot of people make money off this. There are a lot of magazines and blogs and people just waiting to give you advice and show you how to do things.

And that is good…truth be told, I’ve learnt an immeasurable amount by reading the writings of others, by listening to people and soaking up from my environment.

I learnt something important this year, or perhaps a better way to put it is that I grew a little wiser this year…just a little bit. I saw that almost everyone is selling some sort of dream. No one really knows what they are doing, we’re all really just trying shit until something pops off. Hustling away, trying desperately to make it in a world where success is just as dependent on random luck as it is on hard work and persistence and all that. Nothing is assured; all you can do is increase the odds.

At some point, someone comes around in your life who looks like they have all the answers. They have the secret weapon, formula to get you to where you want to be…and perhaps they really do. And you follow them, soak up their every word and follow their direction judiciously. Over time, the luster fades and you begin to see the cracks, the fallibilities, imperfections and you realize perhaps they don’t know it all…

If you want to build success on a solid foundation, you have to shift your mentality from being so dependent on other people for direction and start doing the hard work of thinking for yourself. Cut the umbilical cord, no one is going to hold your hand and lead you through life. Instead of relying on second hand knowledge of the battlefield, run out to the frontlines and get a feel for it yourself.

Great mentors are invaluable; they have been around longer and have experience, learn from them, grow and when the time comes, move on. Coaches are awesome; the best are dedicated to understanding you and helping you tap into your peak performance. Relationships are great too; they offer a wonderful and enriching support system. In all of these situations however, never lose grip of the wheel. It is one thing to be connected to your core and relax into the tao of life. It’s another to be swept and tossed by the desires and intentions of others.

No one can be more you than you, you must trust yourself, and train yourself, be willing to bet on yourself and push yourself to grow and be as strong as you possibly can. Know what’s most important to you. Do not make people your crutches. Your deliverance, your lucky break, your income is not limited to just one person.

As selfish and self centered as this all sounds, the point is not isolation, but becoming more capable, dependable, strong in mind and spirit and ultimately more useful to the world around you.