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One of the main strengths of a community, and being a vital, contributing part of that community, is the concept of reliance – the idea that others will be available to you when needed and that you will be available to them when they may need you. This idea may create the notion of dependence in some members of the community, and when taken too far, it can affect the health of the individual and community in a negative way. However, I tend to think of reliance as something beyond dependence. I tend to think that reliance has roots in trust, not dependence. 

In the research areas that I work in for my occupation, reliance is an important aspect as we often work in teams where every team member has a certain area of expertise. There are team leaders, researchers who are ‘experts’ in physics, chemistry, programming and such, and hands-on engineers who have very specialized knowledge about different parts of an aircraft (or rocket) engine. The teams that I have been a part of, and those that tend to perform well, as judged by their ability to meet their milestones, are the ones where there is an implicit reliance – seeded in trust – among team members. 

The teams where there is constant questioning (for the sake of argumentativeness), where there is too much dependence among some members, where there is too much navel-gazing – fail to build trust and invariably struggle to deliver and meet their goals. Such teams may survive and come back on track with strong leadership and some rearrangement, but the weak roots eventually end up “killing the tree” and the teams end up being disbanded. So, what does Self-Reliance have to do with all of this? 

I thought you would never ask. Every team member or community member, at some point in time, has to take personal responsibility, to “carry their own weight”. Yes, the fabric of the team, the family, the community is present to support them. But, if our individual thread is  weak due to a lack of self-belief, a lack of self-confidence, a damaged self-image, a lack of self-reliance on our own core strength – then it is tough for others to trust us or rely on us, yes?

So, what factors affect our own self-reliance? How do we prevent self-reliance from turning into over-confidence? Can too much self-reliance lead us to a “lone ranger” mentality? At what point does self-reliance hinder our ability to ask for help from others? How do we balance self-reliance with trust of others which fosters our involvement in teams and communities? Does self-reliance prevent us from seeking universal guidance and assistance? 

If you have read this far, I trust I have given you reason to pause and reflect on the concept of self-relianceI invite you to join me and the #SpiritChat community on twitter, in a conversation about the “Spirit of Self Reliance” on Sunday June 22nd at 9amET (USA) / 2pm UK / 6:30pm India. 

Namaste, and be well,

Kumud

The complete transcript for the chat is available at http://bit.ly/sc-tr-0622 and the hand-crafted storify summary will be available soon – thank you to all who listened, shared and contributed! Enjoy! 

Here are the questions asked during the chat… via @AjmaniK (on twitter)

Ready? Q1. Self reliance – what does it mean to you in the current context of your life? #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480698355514093568

On to Q2. What are some ‘friends’ of #SelfReliance? Any ‘Enemies’? Or Frenemies? 🙂 #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480699692263960576

Q3. How does our self-reliance relate to pride? Does it affect our ability to trust? #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480701446384783361

Q4. What life experiences made you feel more self-reliant? Less self-reliant? #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480702673063538688

Q5. “Self reliance is an aversion to conformity” – Agree or disagree? Why? #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480704389695668224

Q6. How is self-reliance related to responsibility, spiritual growth? Do we need more or less? #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480706159901671424

Q7. How do self-reliant people influence the teams, communities that they belong to? #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480707542994395136

Q8. “No (wo)man is an island”. How can self-reliance and connectivity coexist? #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480708592119853056

Final Q9. To those seeking better #SelfReliance through action, you would say…. #SpiritChat

http://twitter.com/AjmaniK/status/480709971362205697