The Illusion of Self-Reliance
JOURNAL / LIVING
Journal / Living
The intimacy cues are an invitation to think deeper about ourselves and the way we interact with others.
In this series, we explore the question; how much of your success do you attribute to the work of others? It speaks to the illusion of self-reliance.
Modern culture is obsessed with fierce independence. It’s a story told through time immortal. There’s an entire book devoted to the subject, called The Hero with A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. The short version is that, against all odds, the lone hero will overcome every hardship to their ultimate triumph. It’s the story of Bill Gates, of Kylie Jenner, of the self-made.
We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old to become a fabulously successful entrepreneur. But that’s the wrong lesson.
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
It is rare, if impossible, that anything can be achieved without in some manner relying on those who have come before. Consider for a moment the elements necessary to enjoy a full life. These may include good health, meaningful relationships, a sense of belonging, or material possessions. Many people are involved in making each of these possible.
Take the phone in its present form, which many now regard as a necessity for modern life. There is the visionary who conceived it’s existence, the engineers, computer scientists and designers who brought it into the realm of possibility. The people responsible for assembling and the people responsible for running the assembly. The people who created the component parts – glass, copper, aluminium, lithium batteries, and so on. The people who mined those component parts, and the people responsible for all of the transportation of goods, raw, finished or otherwise.
This chain of human connection will continue for as long as your mind is able to wander. Each of us plays a vital part in the beating of the collective whole. There is something beautiful in the knowledge that we are all indispensable.