The majority of incredibly successful people seem to rest their deepest source of strength and value outside of themselves.
This is obvious among devoutly religious people, but you'll also find it among many seemingly non-religious. Often, top scientists seem to be animated by a source of strength in the "march of progress," revolutionaries facing capture or execution will say proudly, "You can kill the revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution."
Samurai had their lords and houses, and even beyond that -- a sense of honor that is timeless and transcendent, not grounded in the earthly.
This seems like it could be disadvantageous even as much as 95% of the time. There are tremendous personal benefits to asserting, "I am the prime mover, I set and define every ethic of my own, and there are no larger forces at work than my own preferences." That unrelenting sense of self-control and self-direction leads to gains in a sense of locus of control, personal responsibility, and a rejection of that oft-crippling fatalism.
And yet. That last 5% of the time, the time when the man who looks outside himself gains?
The man at the verge of crumbling, of breaking down, of losing all… can he say, "It's God's will," or "It's all part of the plan"?
If you have no force outside of yourself, then -- perhaps not. Failure, then, can become total and absolute. And thus, do you battle down to the last ounce of energy and fiber in your body?
The human body and mind is capable of doing so much, and also so much more than most people realize. But when all seems lost, are there greater depths to be reached? If one's own will is broken, and all of your certainty is based on your own will…
What's the final bedrock that you rest your values on, the largest-of-things-that-matter? How often does that serve you, in good times, and in desperate times? Discuss.