Security is an illusion. Freedom is real.
There's a seeming tradeoff between freedom and security: You can stick with the day job or chuck it to live your dream--if you're willing to give up the security of the regular paycheck. That kind of security, though, is an illusion.
We have to be a bit careful of our terms. People mean a lot of different things when they say "security." There's the security that comes from living in a sturdy house that helps keep out burglars and the winter cold. There's the security that comes from having family members who care for one another. And there's the security that comes from knowing that you have a diversity of skills for handling the problems that come your way. These things all have their limits (nothing provides absolute security), but they are real.
What's an illusion is the faux security that comes from making the conventional choices and fitting in. That provides merely the security of knowing that, if things go badly, you'll have plenty of company in your misery. Even a good job can be taken away if times get tough--or vanish all together if your boss is too timid to let people go when the times demand it.
When you think about it, security can't possibly come from something you have. There's nothing you can have that can't be stolen by a thief or expropriated by the government. There's nothing you can have that can't be destroyed by war or natural disaster. There's nothing you can have that can't be made worthless by change (either circumstantial or technological).
Security can't be something you have. It can only be something you are. Because who you are is the only thing that can't be taken away.
Real security comes from inside you. It comes not from having a "secure" income but from having a diversity of sources of income. Not from having the right degree or credentials or skills, but from knowing that there are many things you can do that will earn money--and many ways that you can provide for your family even if you can't earn money.
At it's core, real security comes from expanding your range of options--which is what makes the security/freedom tradeoff false: More freedom is more security, not less.
Of course, the many things that people do to increase their security have some benefits. The key is to remember that they also offer diminishing returns. Cash to cover three month's expenses is a good idea, and cash to cover six month's expenses is even better. But adding enough more cash that you could cover twelve month's expenses doesn't add nearly as much security as some of the other choices you might make. Certainly, it's nothing compared to the security you get by knowing how to cut your expenses enough to stretch the smaller sum to cover your family for twelve months.
Once you start keeping your eyes open for ways to increase your security by increasing your freedom, you'll find them everywhere. Buying tools is good. Learning new skills is better. Make friends with your neighbors. If you have family members who haven't reached a bare minimum level of security, help them take that step--a web of stable households makes everyone more secure. Go on adventures that put you at risk in a controlled way, so that you can safely learn the habits that will protect you when life throws uncontrolled risks into your path.
Real security comes from who you are, not what you have. It's real and important. It comes in the form of freedom, because it grows out of having more choices, rather than fewer. The sort of "lifestyle" security that comes from making the conventional choices? There's nothing there. Not when it counts.
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