Strong or Frail, Which Would You Rather Be?

“Calm seas don’t make good sailors.”
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
—Arnold Schwarzenegger
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
—John F. Kennedy

What a frail species we are. Without others, how long would you last? And I don’t mean without friends or family, I mean Alone.
Compare that to trees. Strong, resilient, independent. A solitary tree will do just fine. In some cases, trees actually do better with no surrounding trees to hinder their growth.
So which is better: frail and dependent on others, or strong and independent?
Our frailty has a beneficial side effect — forced to rely on each other for so much, through interactions with others we learn and grow emotionally. If you believe in some creator or cosmic consciousness, you might think our frailty a wise design. But even if you don’t, it is clear that being dependent on others has tremendous upsides. Flipped around, independent people could avoid uncomfortable situations which might otherwise be opportunities for emotional growth. Using independence to avoid others delays growth.

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”
—Oprah Winfrey

We have no choice – it is the nature of our species— we are forced to rely on each other. For people, strength is the end result of living with our frailties.

“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.”
—Leo Buscaglia
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.”
—Lao Tzu
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
—Marcus Aurelius