Sunday, February 15, 2015

security and risk

Recently, I discovered a strange relationship between risk and security.  And to thank for that, I have no one but Paul Arden, who states in his book "Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite", that risk is your security in life.  Usually, we would think that security was a prerequisite for risk.  We would expect people who have a lot of money to be able to purchase expensive products and services without worry and those who have little to keep their expenses low.  In the workplace, we would expect people with a lot of expertise in a given domain to be able to make the risky decisions in times of uncertainty and those that with little experience in the same domain to follow the instructions.  But given the title of his book, Paul Arden challenges us to consider the opposite, asserting that it is risk that fuels security.

I am fascinated by this link between risk and security because for several years I have been working with the concept of security.  And to be clear, I am not talking about financial security.  I am talking rather about a deeper kind of security.  The kind of security that is more universal than money.  The kind of security that is even capable of influencing decisions related to financial security.  The kind of security that, in my opinion, affects each person, rich or poor, throughout the course of his or her life, from childhood to old age.  I am talking about emotional security, and especially the lack of it.

As a human being living in society, each of us has or has had emotional insecurities.  Each of us has known something about himself (or herself) that, if exposed, would cause him (or her) to have unpleasant feelings like those of being rejected, mocked, ignored, or weakened.  Who longs for those feelings?  Who appreciates them when they are experienced?

One of my greatest emotional insecurities arises when I wish to do something that comes from a deeply personal place but that is noticeably different from what most people around me are doing, especially if they are doing more or less the usual things.  Something like roaming the streets of Paris on a Saturday to ask one of 50 people in English if they came from a capital of one of the 50 American States, which, I admit, is not usual.  Or something like going to each desk in a small open space shared with 15 colleagues between 4pm and 5pm on a randomly chosen day each week to say hello and make brief small talk if possible, while these colleagues are all working on their computers.  Or even something like using a public albeit virtual space like Facebook to share a personally written post on emotional insecurity whereas many other Facebook users are sharing photos from their travels or from their everyday life, posts about events that happened, or articles written by other people.  Whatever the context may be, my emotional security is in question when I become aware of an opportunity to carry out one of my cherished wishes.  Sometimes, I seize the opportunity and reap the rewards of satisfaction that logically follow.  At other times, I seize nothing, and all I can do afterwards is feel the pain of defeat.  Call it a struggle if you will.

Four years ago, I heard a wise man say that you could get rid of your insecurities by featuring them, and I believed him.  This is probably for this reason that I conceive schemes that I call 'operations' to nurture my wishes of demonstrating my particular tendencies in public, with the hopes of gaining security in the process or, better yet, of overcoming my insecurity of wanting to do things differently.

So far so good, taking the risk seems to be paying off.  While I still have moments where I am emotionally insecure, I have discovered that I am less troubled than before by events that occur as a result of other people's actions (or lack thereof).  Consequently, I have been able to feel more in control of my emotions.

How beautiful it is to do without the expectation that others recognize you, pay attention to you, or approve of what you do.

How beautiful it is to feel liberated from the need to criticize others for being more normal than you, in terms of ideas and opinions.

How beautiful it is to ignore the temptation to hold grudges or to breed jealousy towards people who seem to be doing everything right.

How beautiful it is to take interest in the lives of people that you know and that you meet without faulting them when they do not reciprocate the gesture.

How beautiful it is to have something that solicits your attention more than everyday nuisances and that depends primarily on your efforts.

How beautiful it is to experience something so special that you can think of only one word to capture it: fulfillment.

If this is what security is really about, then I want more, more until it is second nature.  So, taking inspiration from the words of Paul Arden, I must remain willing to take the risk of carrying out my personal and unusual ideas in public.

Risks are a measure of people.  People who won't take them are trying to preserve what they have.  People who do take them often end up having more.

Paul Arden

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