Emerson explored the concept of self-reliance in trying to come up with a universally accepted module of evaluating self needs and how to come up with ways to provide for these needs. Emerson express the soul plays a very significant role in trying to define the basis under which one should avoid from being dependent on other parties for both intellectual and spiritual needs to coming up with a line of thinking that makes them less reliant on external bodies and hence self-reliant. According to Emerson, the sentiments that the soul provides are of more value compared to the mere thoughts that it may contain. As Emerson said “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world” (7). Emerson considers it genius for a man to believe truly in his heart that whatever he or she believes to be the truth or fact is the same opinion that is held by another human being of group of individuals whose thinking spaces are not interrelated in any way. The same spontaneous impression that drives our intuition while driving art work should be the same that would drive us to examine the matter at hand in all the day to day dealings of our lives.
However, Emerson insists that it is difficult for most people to be self-reliant in their day today operation.