In a letter written to James Harmon for the book, Take My Advice, writer Larry Niven writes, “The product of Freedom and Security is a constant. To gain more freedom of thought and/or action, you must give up some security, and vice versa.” Niven’s quote speaks to me about trying to find a middle ground in the world of freedom and security. He continues to explain that the constant is different for every individual and how the product of the two may vary depending on individual personalities. Some individuals strive to reach out to new people and new places, while others become more comfortable with a set routine and a guaranteed paycheck and living space.
Thinking about actions and choices in terms of freedom and security and understanding their relationship can help me find the place that I believe is right for me. I am not always as adventurous as I would like to be, but I understand that there is a certain level of security with which I am comfortable. Because my security allows me to spend my days without a constant worry, I can reach a higher level of happiness and self confidence even though I am not as adventurous as others may be. Becoming aware of the conflicting feelings that arise when I feel as though I have been in a routine for too long helps me enjoy each moment and remember that my security has has allowed me to reach the place I am. Finding a constant between freedom and security that leaves you in a confident place is a good thing, but I think there is still room for experimenting to see if more or less of either would benefit you. I would not argue for large pendulum swings, but an occasional swing for freedom or retreat towards security can be a solid learning experience to draw on as we search for our proper balance between the two.