How to Be More Self-Sufficient: The 3 Golden Rules

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 50th Law" by 50 Cent and Robert Greene. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Want to learn how to be more self-sufficient? What are the most important things to know about relying on yourself more?

The 50th Law explains the importance of cultivating a fearless mindset in life, and an important aspect of fearlessness is learning how to be more self-sufficient. According to the book, there are three rules for self-sufficient living that everyone should know.

Read on to learn how to be more self-sufficient, according to the advice in The 50th Law.

Learn How to Be More Self-Sufficient

The 50th Law’s main argument is that you must become fearless to truly thrive. In the book, authors Curtis Jackson and Robert Greene argue that fearlessness involves learning how to be more self-sufficient. This means surviving and thriving completely on your own without relying on others to provide you with comfort or support, whether financially, emotionally, or physically.

Many people struggle to follow this rule because we’re raised to be dependent on others from childhood. We’re dependent on our parents for everything while growing up, on bosses for employment and financial stability, and on friends for mental and emotional support. However, this reliance gives others power over you and takes away your autonomy. This limits your power to grow, succeed, and change your circumstances—you can’t reach your full potential if you’re relying on others to provide for you.

(Shortform note: While Jackson and Greene argue for the importance of learning how to be more self-sufficient rather than relying on others for support, some experts argue that relying on social support systems is integral to reaching your goals and sustaining your mental health and well-being. People who rely on strong social support systems are better at coping with stress, have increased motivation to achieve their goals, and are more likely to engage in healthy and productive behaviors. On the other hand, people who don’t lean on their support system in difficult times have an increased risk of alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, depression, and suicide.)

Jackson and Greene present three golden rules to help you learn how to be more self-sufficient.

#1: Learn From Your Superiors

Anyone that you’re reliant on—your boss, for example—provides you with something that you can’t yet provide for yourself. According to Jackson and Greene, the first step in learning how to be more self-sufficient is watching these people and learning from them. For example, how does the supervisor you rely on for advice make such good decisions on her own?

(Shortform note: While Jackson and Greene recommend paying close attention to your superiors to learn from them, they don’t get specific on exactly how to do so. Experts provide a few recommendations that may increase the amount you learn from your superiors. First, ask to shadow your superior to get a closer perspective on their skills and day-to-day activities. Further, each day, pay close attention to your superior’s mistakes—so you can learn from them—and the factors that lead to their success—so you can emulate them.)

#2: Start Small

The authors say that once you have an idea of how to manage things on your own, start carving out small pockets of autonomy where you can practice being more self-sufficent. For example, use the methods you learned from your supervisor to start making important decisions independently, without having to ask others for approval.

(Shortform note: In Tiny Habits, BJ Fogg reiterates that starting small is crucial to successfully implementing any new habit or behavior, including self-sufficiency. He also explains why this is the case: First, small habits and tasks are easier to accomplish. Accomplishing a task triggers positive emotions that will motivate you to continue working toward your larger goal. Further, tiny habits are simple and don’t require a large amount of willpower or focus, making them easier to start in the first place.)

#3: Be Entirely Authentic

In the process of learning how to be more self-sufficient, be sure to remain true to who you are, not who others are or who they want you to be. Ensure that your decisions and actions align with your goals and principles. Jackson and Greene argue that everyone is unique, and being authentic will help you become someone or create something the world has never seen before. You’ll reach your full potential, and this will lead to success.

(Shortform note: Jackson and Greene frame being authentic as something to do to ensure your success. However, authenticity arguably has a much more important benefit: It boosts your self-worth. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown explains that authenticity is a crucial component of worthiness: having high self-esteem and feeling deserving of good things. Worthiness may, in turn, have the happy side-effect of success: Without it, you might not have the self-belief necessary to accomplish your goals. We’ll discuss the link between self-belief and fearlessness in more detail in Rule #5: Become an Inspiring Leader.)

How to Be More Self-Sufficient: The 3 Golden Rules

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  • Rapper 50 Cent and Robert Greene's perspectives on overcoming fear
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  • The rules and principles you must follow to become fearless

Emily Kitazawa

Emily found her love of reading and writing at a young age, learning to enjoy these activities thanks to being taught them by her mom—Goodnight Moon will forever be a favorite. As a young adult, Emily graduated with her English degree, specializing in Creative Writing and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), from the University of Central Florida. She later earned her master’s degree in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University. Emily loves reading fiction, especially modern Japanese, historical, crime, and philosophical fiction. Her personal writing is inspired by observations of people and nature.

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