Towards the end of the essay, Emerson summarises his views on self-reliance into four key points.
The first one is prayer. Emerson states that
Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul.
Prayer that asks God for material things is not only wrong, but won't work. Prayer involving regret will only, over time, erode the soul.
Instead Emerson says we should forget the past and be self-helping. "For him all doors are flung wide."
The second point Emerson makes is that
The wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or onto foreign lands he is at home still.
In other words, he is saying that people that travel to find something greater than what they have at home will be sorely disappointed. Most likely, they will move only away from who they are. Or, at best, wake up with the same "sad self, unrelenting, identical that I fled from." When one travels, they should always know who they are and where they came from. As Emerson states: "My giant goes with me wherever I go."
For his third point, Emerson says that even when we don't travel, our minds wander to foreign places. Our homes, for example, are often full of foreign and exotic objects. What we are doing is moving away from ourselves and imitating others.
If the American artist will study with hope and love . . . considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also.
For his fourth point, Emerson says society also looks abroad for its inspiration and as such "society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other."
As an example, he compares the white man to the New Zealand aboriginal. The aboriginal, he claims, is far stronger than the white man. While the white man needs a watch to tell the time, an aboriginal only needs the sun.
His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance office increases the number of accidents; and maybe a question whether machinery does not encumber.
To prevail, Emerson, states that humans must put all these material goods and services to one side.