where a man can build his strength and freedom

Is success due to nature or nurture?

The photo shows the inner strength of two triathletes as they head into the water.

What do you think…
is a person’s success 
due to capabilities they were born with?
Or is it due to the influence of their environment?

People have been debating this question a long time.

I don’t believe it’s either.
I don’t believe we were born with it.
I don’t believe it comes from our environment.

I think the main factor 
that determines our success
is our inner strength.
And we have to build that ourselves.

coaches and preachers,
analysts, writers, 
and other such creatures…
can assist us
but ultimately we have to do the work ourselves.

That is what Emerson means by Self Reliance.
And that is what this website is for:
to give you inspiration, 
and psychological tools 
with which you can build your own inner strength.

Why can’t someone else build it for us?

Good question.

Because our inner strength
must be the vehicle 
of our own individual values.

If someone else builds our inner strength
we may simply become an extension of them.

The youth groups in Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s
developed intense inner strength.
But it was only to serve nazi “values.”
Those kids had no opportunity to question their indoctrination.
They simply became what they were expected to become.

a great deal of our own religious and political education 
is also a form of indoctrination.

Whatever faith a child is born into usually determines his or her religion.
Questioning is not welcomed.

It is much the same with politics.
Is a kid born to Republicans free to become a Democrat?
Is a kid born to Democrats free to become a Republican?
Are you kidding!
These days in America, both kids will be disowned
and told they have joined The Enemy.

We are seeing the escalation in the political realm
of a phenomenon we have recognized for a long time:
Many parents don’t live their own lives.
They live their lives through their children..
They use their children
to live out their values,
achieve their goals in life,
correct their failures to do so.

They raise their child to succeed and to shine,
but only in order to reflect glory on them.
The child is not permitted the freedom
to find his or her own light
and to develop the inner strength to shine it.

Independent inner strength 

Our first job in life
is to stand up and establish our independence.
We are not the extension of our parents.
We are free.

But declaring our freedom means
we must accept the responsibility
that freedom brings.
We can no longer play the part of helpless victims.

Our inner strength is not determined by birth,
by our parents, nor by society.
It is our own treasure 
and it is our joy to build it.

As we build our inner strength
it is we who will decide 
who and what we will serve with it!
What are our hopes and dreams?
What do we want to build in life?
And according to what values?

Others may hope we decide to serve
who and what they want us to serve,
but that is our decision.
No one else’s.

Here’s what Dylan has to say on that:
Ya Gotta Serve Somebody

Once we achieve clarity
on who and what we will serve in life,
we can channel our inner strength in that direction.

And for us to succeed on our chosen path
there is a particular quality
–an aspect of inner strength– 
that I especially want to recommend that you build.

Why is tenacity such a valuable quality?