security freedom

How to balance the need for security and the need for freedom

For this week’s newsletter, I’d like to talk about the most difficult quest and balance to achieve: how to balance the need for freedom and security?

  • Security: Peace of mind, comfort, financial security for oneself and loved ones, serenity for the future…
  • Freedom: Financial, geographical, having time for what matters, working on meaningful projects…
  • Is it really possible to have both?

Let’s try to answer that question in this newsletter, and my answer will surprise you!

⚖️ Balance Freedom & Security

Benjamin Franklin said:

“A people willing to sacrifice a little liberty for a little security deserve neither, and end by losing both.”

I understand the context and the idea of this quote, only, if we’re honest, human beings need both, which may seem paradoxical.

The need for security comes second in Maslow’s Pyramid of Human Needs, just after primary needs (eating, drinking, reproducing etc.) and before the need to belong to a group.

Freedom implies coming out of one’s cave, taking risks, being more permissive, opening up, leaving one’s comfort zone, confronting failure, betrayal, accident…

We feel this way when we need to change:

A common example is changing carreer.

You’re no longer fulfilled in a job, but it ensures your financial security… But you don’t really feel free. However, the idea of losing this security to take the risk of changing to something that attracts you but is uncertain creates friction in making the decision to change. It challenges your need for security.

But security is an illusion…

The illusion of safety:

Safety is the perception that your survival and well-being are not at risk.

But can we guarantee this 100%?

  • Can having more money guarantee 100% freedom from bankruptcy?
  • Can being with someone you trust guarantee 100% that they won’t betray you?
  • Can installing a great alarm system and an armored door guarantee 100% that you won’t be robbed?

There’s no such thing as 100%, but the very hypothesis that it could happen can already create a form of worry and anxiety.

If you take a plane, you have one chance in 1.2 million of experiencing a crash, compared with one chance in 100 of dying in a car accident. We’ll say it only takes one time and you’re less likely to get away with a plane crash, yet the chances of it happening are small. Why is it that so many of us don’t feel totally safe in a plane? But how about in a car?

There’s an element of control: in a plane, you’re not at the controls, so you feel as if you’re in the pilot’s hands. In a car, if you’re driving, you’re in control! When you’re “in control”, or at least you feel like you are, you feel more in control, and therefore safer.

Safety is linked to control, and control is an illusion!

But are we in control of everything in life?

Your risk of being robbed, mugged or involved in an accident is very low if you stay at home, but is this the life you want?

This helps us understand that if you want to increase your sense of security (and thus satisfy your need), you need to regain control, sovereignty and mastery over your destiny and environment.

Besides, isn’t your feeling of insecurity often linked to concerns about the worst that could happen, and which is often out of your control?

“I’m an old man, I’ve had a lot of problems in my life. Most of them never happened.” Mark Twain

So that means focusing on what’s really in your control!

To PREoccupy yourself is to worry in advance about future things, most of which will surely never happen, until you totally lose the pleasure of the moment.

I’ll tell you frankly:

My biggest regrets stem from times when I worried about the future instead of enjoying the present. I made myself suffer in advance for things that didn’t yet exist. It doesn’t happen, or when it does, you deal with it! So why bother?

Now, whether it’s in a difficult or favorable moment, I tell myself I’m going to enjoy it and make it as useful, constructive and enjoyable as possible (or less painful).

“We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer from imagination more than from reality.” Seneca

True security… that leads to freedom:

True security is a state of mind:

You don’t suffer, you don’t wait, you’re not a victim… You know how to respond and adapt!

You don’t control events, you control your response.

And isn’t that what real freedom is all about?

A balance between letting go and focusing on what you control so you can act on what’s in your power.

I understood this when I was hospitalized!

For several days, I was in the struggle and suffering of being bedridden, not free, in the uncertainty of doctors’ visits every day about what to do next…

I made myself suffer by living this moment as a punishment and an interminable wait. I started to feel free when I let go and accepted to live this moment by making it more pleasant, useful and meaningful.

I stopped waiting, imagining the worst, living it as an ordeal and, above all, I kept myself busy by focusing on other things… I managed to feel free at that moment (just goes to show!).

No one can take you away (if you don’t let them):

  • Your way of thinking
  • Your enthusiasm and hope
  • Your character
  • Your skills and knowledge
  • Your (profound) dignity
  • Your real freedom and security lie there!

I posted this on Threads:

Many are afraid of losing money or opportunities… But they should be more afraid of losing their enthusiasm and creativity that create those opportunities, resilience and abundance.

You’ve got it in you!

One of the books that most impressed me was “Man Search For Meaning”, in which Viktor E. Frankl shares his experience in a concentration camp.

In his book, he explains that you can’t avoid suffering, but you can find meaning and even “grace” in the shadows. Read it, it’s a slap in the face!

Your balance between security and freedom lies in your relationship with yourself, your environment and the material world:

  • You’re not attached to anything external
  • You’re no longer in a constant battle and struggle
  • You stop worrying
  • You trust yourself and trust life
  • You know you have the capacity to respond to any uncertainty or event
  • You focus on the process and create passion + enthusiasm for the quest, not the goal
  • Your self-esteem is linked to what you control, not what’s outside your control

It’s a state, it starts with you, you’re the master of your destiny!

I’ll finish with the example of money, which was the major topic of the week:

Do you really want greater financial security and freedom?

Change your relationship with money!

Lack, insecurity, fear of loss, mistrust, greed and cheapness will always be there, whether you have a lot or a little.

Generosity, abundance, flow, security and opportunity will always be there, whether you have a lot or a little.

Develop your financial intelligence, identify your real assets that create enough value to know how to earn money and master the money game. You’ll lose some, you’ll gain some, but you’ll always be able to bounce back.

You ensure your own security through your skills and ability to adapt and respond. You remain free because you remain master of your destiny!

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