Self-reliance is relying on your own abilities, capability, skills, knowledge, judgement and resources. Self-reliance is not the same thing as self-sufficiency, although part of being self-sufficient is relying upon yourself. Self sufficiency is more of a long range goal where your aim is to be as completely sufficient on your own resources as possible. Off-grid living and permaculture are areas of self-sufficiency where you may have solar power, farmland, crops, livestock, chickens, rain collection systems and so forth. Permaculture lends itself to a philosophy of self-maintaining and sustainable living.
Self-reliance (SR) should be your first goal when beginning to think with a prepared mindset. The idea behind SR is to begin to acquire knowledge, skills and abilities that will aid you in daily life, emergency situations, in the event you become lost, during severe weather, power outages, a hike in the woods, camping, and in natural disasters as well as catastrophes.
The first stop in SR is a quick overview of yourself and what you carry every day. Seasoned outdoors men and women and SR practitioners call the items you carry with you every day your "EVERY DAY CARRY' or "EDC" for short. Whether you carry a belt, pockets, additional bags, purses, pouches or the like, you should evaluate what you generally carry with you and begin to tweak those items to include important EDC items that each and every one of us should have on ourselves at all times every day. The term EDC is your clue that every day carry items are to be carried (you guessed it) every day.
Your EDC should include something to start a fire with and preferably at least two ways to start a fire. If you are ever lost, stranded or separated from home you need to have a way to start a fire. This is a small thing you can do to insure your future safety. A cutting tool should be included or a multi-purpose tool of some sort. Some type of cordage is important as well. I will explain further in later posts the important uses of cordage and the multiple ways that you can carry fire sources as well as the many different types and tinder. But, for a beginner grab a lighter and some fireproof matches contained in a waterproof container and maybe a para cord bracelet or necklace would suffice. Include on your key chain a compass for navigation and a whistle for attempting rescue if you are lost. In addition, throw in to your EDC a flashlight and batteries and as you progress it is important to have multiple items from each category. Toss some band aids into your wallet as well.
There are many more items that you could or should carry, but start with at least these items if you are brand new to thinking prepared. This small start will have you off and running in no time. Soon, you will see survival and EDC items in everything you look at and everywhere you go. This is a small start because there are many more places to go in working toward self-reliance, but it is a start.
The most important thing you can do in any survival situation is.....something...do something....and the most important thing you can do to begin to move toward self-reliance is....something....do something.....education, planning, preparation and action. These steps will move you forward toward your goal. Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed with all of the vast amount of information available in a variety of mediums on these topics, it's easy to feel overwhelmed which can cause inaction. What we want is action.
So, begin today. Start to gather your idea of the perfect EDC items and figure out how you will carry them each day. Begin to make carrying your EDC habitual. The rest will grow from there. Think of EDC as the second seed planted in your new found decision to be a more self-reliant and prepared person. The first seed is, of course, making the decision. Best wishes and please keep me updated on the items you decide to carry and why you chose those items.