There are several areas of self-reliance, including: physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual. Whenever possible, a person should first rely on themselves to meet these needs. Preparation is the key to self-reliance. For example, you cannot hike to safety in a canyon if you aren't physically fit. The preparation for that life-saving hike must take place long before the hike begins. Similarly, you cannot wait until a family crisis to learn emotional fortitude. Waiting until it is time to register for classes isn't the best time to start saving for college. And the death bed isn't the best place to develop a relationship with God. All of these things must be worked on beforehand.
We can never see what lies before us. We don't know if an illness is just around the bend. We don't know if our employer will lay us off. But as we learn in LDS scripture: "...if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." The key to handling unforeseen circumstances is preparation.
A few years ago, my mother developed cancer. It came as quite a surprise to me, because my mother was always very strong and healthy. In her early 80's she was known to climb fences and even sled down her sister's steep driveway! But I truly believe that the reason she is alive today is because of her fitness and strength before the cancer diagnosis. She didn't foresee her illness, but her preparation saved her!
While you may not agree with our religious practice of storing a year supply of food, it would still be wise for everyone to store at least 3 months supply. If there were a natural disaster, it is highly possible that trucks containing food would not be able to even enter the city for days, or even weeks. Everyone should also have prepared some 72 hour emergency kits. Typically, a 72 hour kit contains enough food, water, and clothing for a 3 day period. In case of emergency, you can grab your kit (our's are in backpacks) and go to a safe place. Confession: My 72 hour kits need re-vamping, and probably contain clothing that wouldn't fit around my son's thigh, let alone his waist. :S The food, while still probably edible, really needs to be switched out. My goal is to get our kits back in good shape.
We do not have a crystal ball to foresee the future. But common sense, and history, tell us that the future will bring natural disasters, economic troubles, and spiritual and emotional trials. If we work now to prepare ourselves for these eventualities, we will survive what is to come. We need not fear the unforeseen.