“Nobody knows you when you’re down and out. When you finally get back up on your feet again, everybody wants to be your old long-lost friend.”Eric Clapton
Anyone who has survived tough times will be all too familiar with the concept of ‘fair-weather friends’. These jolly back-slappers are around for your good times. They feed off your success like it was their creation. And while their acquaintance strengthens when fortune smiles upon you, they can never be found when you need a helping hand. When fortune turns, as she inevitably does, Mr. Goodtimes has moved right along.
Our ability to come through hard times rests solely on our shoulders. When our fortitude is being tested by a series of unfortunate events, it is internal strength that pulls us through.
Self-reliance is a life-long pursuit. Children that have been coddled by helicopter parents enter adulthood with a significant disadvantage. They expect mummy to come running when they take a tumble and skin their knee. They weakly depend on others to drag them through the tough times, as though their problems belong to the world. They must learn the hard way that life is an individual struggle and that only your solutions will apply to your unique circumstances. If they find themselves suddenly alone they are inept and defenceless. They can’t work a washing machine, cook a meal, or deal with a dramatic loss of status.
Like fixing a hole in your roof when the sun is shining, self-reliance is a strength best honed when times are good. Are you depending on others for your happiness, your fulfillment, and your purpose in life? How do you act when nobody is watching? Do you need external pressures to get to work? If a significant relationship was removed from your life how would you cope? Are you prepared for adversity long before it arrives? Could you walk away from it all, the job, the partnerships, the easy niche you have carved out? What’s your weakness? Do you crave love, attention, or the praise of others? How would you cope if these all disappeared? Picture yourself on a desert island. How would you deal with the solitude, loneliness, and the need to provide everything for yourself?
As men we feel most comfortable when someone has our back. The military is based on the principle that as the soldier marches into battle he is supported by an army of support. This is what close friends are for. We know that if times get tough we have at least a few comrades that we can call upon. But life is a solitary struggle. The biggest challenges are faced alone. Fake friends fade away when times get tough. Ultimate success relies on our abilities to push through the obstacles that fortune throws our way.
Practice for adversity.
Rely on yourself.
Forge your path.