Life is full of choices. You have the ability to live your life how you want for the most part. Work a 9-5, be an entrepreneur, travel the world, buy a home, raise a family, adopt a child, marry a spouse, etc. There are so many different ways you can live your life, and it’s completely up to you to decide. When you ask someone what they want in life, you’ll get typical answers like health, happiness, prosperity, wealth, etc. Those all make sense. Who wouldn’t want those things? But then comes this dichotomy. People want freedom. They also want security. In today’s episode we’ll aim to dissect each of those two terms – freedom and security – and then compare and contrast them.
Security. This seems like a reasonable desire, right? It’s natural to want to protect yourself and your family from threats. After all, that’s how our ancestors survived generation after generation, and lead us to where we are today. Often when people talk about security they’re referring to financial security just as much as physical security. Financial security could be the ability to retire when you want. It could be job security, meaning you have a stable and steady job to rely on. It could simply mean knowing what to expect in your life tomorrow, next week, and next year.
Then we have Freedom. Freedom is another thing that people want. It is one of the principles the United States is founded on. We likely take many of the freedoms we do have for granted. We have the freedom to choose our careers, who we marry, where we live, how we earn money, where we travel, speak freely, discuss ideas, and so much more. People have so much freedom that they don’t even know what to do with it. I have a good friend who travels the world with nothing more than a backpack. He’s been abroad for two years now traveling all around the world and picking his next stop based on what type of food he’s in the mood for. I’m not kidding. He has what most would call a high level of freedom.
Freedom and security are a bit of a dichotomy. On one hand, freedom allows you the flexibility to do what you want, whereas security will provide assurance and safety every day. Think of freedom and security on a sliding scale, with freedom on one end and security on the other. Now take that slide and push it all the way to the security side. There are all different types of ways to relate this, but let’s look at a few examples.
If we were talking about government, then the security side of the scale might look a lot like communism, whereas the freedom side of the scale might look like total anarchy. I’m not attempting to be political here, but rather show that if you have only one side of the scale then the results look much different from the other side.
Or another example is your lifestyle. Slide the scale all the way to the security side and you might find yourself in a maximum-security prison. Slide it all the way to the freedom side and you might find yourself without any possessions, job, or money, roaming the world doing whatever you want with absolutely no security. After all, we don’t have any maximum freedom prisons that I know of. But we do have maximum security prisons.
Now sure, these are quite dramatic examples but you begin to understand what one without the other looks like. Then comes the question, why are we even talking about freedom vs. security in the first place. Well, you have the ability to live your life as free or as secure as you want. It’s up to you to decide where to take risks for your freedom, and where you want security. Chances are you probably don’t want completely one without the other.
Only you know what balance of freedom and security is best for you. Understanding that taking risks in return for some level of freedom will cost you some security is important. So find freedom where you want. Build security where it matters to you. Using these two levers you can begin to engineer the lifestyle you want, which is one of the fundamentals here at the