Imagine a man walking across an open field. His legs and arms swing back and forth as he traverses the earth. You’re looking at the flow of life, whether as an individual or as a culture. Given typical human lethargy, we like to find a single, steady pace that keeps our steps equidistant and relaxed, our arm swings minimal and straight. We like the field to be flat, smooth, but soft under our feet, hate for it to vary in any way.
One type of security is the unfounded belief that you can find a path in this open field where the grass is always short, the land is always level, without potholes so you don’t have to pay attention to where you step, smells nice, looks pretty, and never forces you to change who you are or what you do. It doesn’t make you grow. It doesn’t put you in uncomfortable situations. You can depend on its stability as an unchanging element in your life.
To translate that into normal, every day life, think of the field as your life. All the circumstances in your relationships, jobs, hobbies and other activities in your life are what make up the field, and this type of security hopes that those relationships, jobs, hobbies and other activities never change. This kind of security hopes that you might somehow navigate life and always expect situations to bend around you, to change for you, to capitulate or give way to your arrival. It’s the kind of security that thinks you should never be fired, never lose a loved one before they’re old and decrepit, never be cheated on by a loved one or spouse, never be betrayed by a friend, always have what you need and God forbid life stop serving you.
That kind of security is not only false, it’s cruel, most especially when you raise your children to think that such security is the best kind of security. It’s not the best kind of security, because life is, has been and ever shall be a battlefield of order and chaos — the order of self-generating and reproductive nature, and the chaos of breakdown, friction and degradation.
I guarantee you that you will lose everyone and everything earthly thing you ever choose to love, and rarely, if ever, will you lose them in a manner of your choosing. That you were raised to believe or chose to believe that you could somehow shape these elements of life to your will is a hallmark of the coming death of humanity’s long-standing resiliency as a mercilessly dominating force on this planet.
Common examples include securing entitlements as rights, believing you are entitled to something no one is actually entitled to: be it free healthcare, welfare, guaranteed insurance. It’s an expectation that your problems are important enough that others should drop theirs to help you. It honestly boils to being spoiled and believing you should get your way because you’ve confused merely wanting with needing. What you need is oxygen, water and food. Everything else is optional.
Imagine walking across a field and locking the length of your steps in place to find that stability. When you reach your first creek, you’re going to step right into that creek. You won’t know how to jump or turn, or wade, because you can only take two-feet steps. It’s all you’ve ever taken. Or when the ground begins to rise, or turn sharply, or you reach a hill, or a tree has fallen across your path. Life happens and suddenly all that security is absolutely meaningless, because you’ve built your life around your circumstances accommodating you — the creek dying, the tree cutting itself, the hill smoothing out — all entirely unrealistic!
But the second kind of security, while not foolproof (what is, really?), is on the other end of the spectrum on dependability.
Namely, the second and more powerful form of security — Ability and Adaptability.
Instead of building up a long-term nestegg of money and hoping it will carry you from 60-75 and pouring every cent into bank account from which funds could be stolen, your currency devalued by an overactive Federal Reserve, bank closures, or just stupidity on your part, invest in YOURSELF. Invest in ability, skills and adaptability.
Instead of taking two-feet steps and having a simple arm swing, start learning to run across the field. Learn how to turn, leap, jump, dive, twist and turn. Not only will that improve your body (metaphorically and physically), but it means that the creek is easily crossed, the hill is fun, the tree is a break, the holes keep it lively. You stop looking at life as an excuse to fix your circumstances so you don’t have to adapt, and instead embrace the concept of finding stability in your ability to manage whatever conflict comes! Because I guaran-damn-tee you that change will come!
Concrete examples mean studying finances and knowing how to manage your money in good times and bad. It means learning how to do more than one job, so that if you get fired from one career, you’re not limited only to be hired by that single career. It means shedding the baggage of belongings you can’t use and don’t really value, or a home too big for your pocketbook. It means learning the difference between wants and needs, and then learning how to embrace just enough wants to enjoy life but otherwise attending mostly to your needs and finding contentment in just that.
The security of the world promotes laziness and a slowing of the brain’s ability to adapt. It’s a lulling. It’s embracing the life of a sheep, hoping that wolves won’t come because you don’t want them to.
The true security of life will come by being the only sheep in the flock armed with a Colt 45 and practice aiming. It means you know how to paint yourself black and look like a wolf so you won’t be mixed in with the other sheep. It means knowing the wolves language so when they speak, you can hear and adapt.
Stop feeling insecurity. We are most productive when we feel least secure. We fight harder, work longer, and live better. Living better isn’t living easier, it’s LIVING! And until you figure that out, you will constantly be let down by life, thinking it should work for you, instead of you working to master it.