The culture we’re raised in teaches us what things we do ourselves, and what we get others to do for us. This is a deeply powerful psychological force, but it is a herd instinct, not a rational and reasoned deduction. We do things a certain way because that’s how our parents did them, that’s how our friends do them, and that’s how people do them on tv. “That’s just how people do them!”
Many people are on a quest to become more self reliant these days; to break away from the herd psychology. Self reliance, as a lifestyle, is in opposition to the herd mentality, a fact that can cause friction between those people becoming more self reliant and those happy to be part of the herd.
Last weekend I gave myself a hair cut. For a few years I had my wife cut it, but it was just easier for me to start doing it on my own. I’ve been to a barber just twice since the mid-1990’s. It’s not a difficult thing to do – I use clippers and cut it short. The first few were a little rough, but they got better. During conversations when people learn that I cut my own, they’re often surprised that someone would do that. Most Americans have someone else cut their hair. To meet someone who doesn’t do things the way every one else does can be unsettling. They want to know why I do it. My usual answer is because I can.
In learning to be self reliant, you need to start doing things for yourself that you had relied on others for in the past, and there needs to be a starting point. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or difficult, such as growing all your own food. It can be as simple as cutting your hair, baking your own bread, making a jug of wine. What it is isn’t as important as getting started and doing something.
This month, try doing something for yourself that you’ve always had someone else do. And if you get a chance, send me an email and let me know how it went.