Security or Freedom – you can’t have both

I recently met with a young man who was considering leaving his current job.  While he enjoys the freedom he has, he doesn’t feel he has much security.  The organization he’s working for can't give him guaranteed raises, 401k benefits and a car allowance.  He’d prefer to be in an organization where he still has lots of freedom but where there is more security.

I tried to gently show him those two concepts are totally opposed.  If you want ultimate freedom to get up when you want to get up, decide what you’re going to do today and have no ceiling on your income possibilities – then obviously, you will have to work for yourself.  As soon as you expect someone else to give you security, you begin to give up your freedom.  The ultimate would be inmates in maximum-security prisons.  They have the most security and the least freedom.

  • As soon as you line up where they expect you to be there at a certain time in the morning, you’ve given up some of your freedom.
  • As soon as you demand a guarantee in income, you’ve given up the open-ended income possibilities.
  • As soon as you negotiate for a paid vacation, you’ve given up the freedom to choose when and how long you vacation.

I know “salespeople” who are guaranteed $10/hr and would scream if that guarantee were taken away.  And they consistently make $400 a week.  The salespeople I know who make $300,000 a year have no guarantee.  They just do what they do well and are paid according to the results they produce.  The people I see at the beach two months out of the year, who travel around the world at will, who work late at night and then sleep till noon the next day, or who take 60 days to write a bestseller, have no 401k plan, no provided medical insurance, no company car, no timeclock and no paid coffee breaks.  They just have freedom and the absence of ceilings in any area of chosen success.

This is not a “right or wrong” issue.  It’s just a matter of choice.

The more security you desire, the less freedom you will have.  The more freedom you want, the less security you will have.  You get to choose.

Share this Post

  • Kathleen Jaffe

    Dan,
    I can’t express how much I love this post!

    I’ll see your ‘you get to choose’ and raise you a ‘what you think of as security isn’t as secure as you think, so don’t get to attached to the security you think your job gives you’. 🙂

  • Dan – Trying to start your own “Freedom!” yell? 🙂

    All joking aside, thank you very much for this post. It allows me to listen to what my heart has been screaming at me, dying to be heard.

  • Anonymous

    Wait, but aren’t you always saying to look for “and” situations? Irony 🙂

    What about someone who has a well paying job with benefits etc, but also does freelancing or has a side business that produces substantial income as well?

    • Bryan Hart

      We can do that to start (the process I am going through). But, more often than not, the greatest growth potential for one’s personal business occurs when he or she can finally focus on it alone, instead of having divided interests.

    • Jharrin3206

      That may be good for that person, but he/she still doesn’t have ultimate freedom.

    • Jharrin3206

      That may be good for that person, but he/she still doesn’t have ultimate freedom.

    • Jharrin3206

      That may be good for that person, but he/she still doesn’t have ultimate freedom.

  • Bryan Hart

    You know…why aren’t there “free-range” prisons? It just isn’t fair…

  • Thanks Dan, this is awesome. The illustrations of the people crushing-it to the average salaried worker are inspiring. It’s great to have this pointed out to make exactly what we’re choosing between crystal clear!

  • Thanks Dan, this is awesome. The illustrations of the people crushing-it to the average salaried worker are inspiring. It’s great to have this pointed out to make exactly what we’re choosing between crystal clear!

  • Thanks Dan, this is awesome. The illustrations of the people crushing-it to the average salaried worker are inspiring. It’s great to have this pointed out to make exactly what we’re choosing between crystal clear!

  • Thanks Dan.  I love the prison analogy!

  • Thanks Dan.  I love the prison analogy!

  • Thanks Dan.  I love the prison analogy!

  • Tracy Lucas

    This is the 48 Days article I’ve loved the best so far. So much truth here.

  • Tracy Lucas

    This is the 48 Days article I’ve loved the best so far. So much truth here.

  • Tracy Lucas

    This is the 48 Days article I’ve loved the best so far. So much truth here.

  • Lawana

    If anyone believes they really have “security” they have a very narrow view.  Management comes and goes and every time that happens changes occur.  After 20 years with the same group, and recognized for doing an outstanding job, new management came in and wanted “fresh eyes” “new blood” or whatever.  In reality age is always a factor, especially when a younger worker can be hired for less money.  Security does not really exist the same way  it did when our fathers were in the work force.  On the other hand, when you build a business for yourself, you can have many more advantages than the perceived security of working for someone else.

  • Lawana

    If anyone believes they really have “security” they have a very narrow view.  Management comes and goes and every time that happens changes occur.  After 20 years with the same group, and recognized for doing an outstanding job, new management came in and wanted “fresh eyes” “new blood” or whatever.  In reality age is always a factor, especially when a younger worker can be hired for less money.  Security does not really exist the same way  it did when our fathers were in the work force.  On the other hand, when you build a business for yourself, you can have many more advantages than the perceived security of working for someone else.

  • Lawana

    If anyone believes they really have “security” they have a very narrow view.  Management comes and goes and every time that happens changes occur.  After 20 years with the same group, and recognized for doing an outstanding job, new management came in and wanted “fresh eyes” “new blood” or whatever.  In reality age is always a factor, especially when a younger worker can be hired for less money.  Security does not really exist the same way  it did when our fathers were in the work force.  On the other hand, when you build a business for yourself, you can have many more advantages than the perceived security of working for someone else.

  • LouAnn

    Wow. This was good, but overwhelming. I have wanted to have my own business for so long so I could be home when my kids come home from school but I have never been able to figure out what I am good at. No college and no real lasting career outside of parenting. I am currently a non-licensed cust. service rep for an insurance company and while I like the people I work with I feel trapped. I am 44 making $10 a hour. If you are young reading this, do what it takes to find your strengths and talents and go for it! Don’t settle for mediocrity.

  • LouAnn

    Wow. This was good, but overwhelming. I have wanted to have my own business for so long so I could be home when my kids come home from school but I have never been able to figure out what I am good at. No college and no real lasting career outside of parenting. I am currently a non-licensed cust. service rep for an insurance company and while I like the people I work with I feel trapped. I am 44 making $10 a hour. If you are young reading this, do what it takes to find your strengths and talents and go for it! Don’t settle for mediocrity.

  • LouAnn

    Wow. This was good, but overwhelming. I have wanted to have my own business for so long so I could be home when my kids come home from school but I have never been able to figure out what I am good at. No college and no real lasting career outside of parenting. I am currently a non-licensed cust. service rep for an insurance company and while I like the people I work with I feel trapped. I am 44 making $10 a hour. If you are young reading this, do what it takes to find your strengths and talents and go for it! Don’t settle for mediocrity.

  • Offshoreland1

    I am selfemployed and have been for the past 20 years. I am a consultant in the oil field and in this business security is non existant. I work one day at a time and had opportunities to work for a companies tuning them down. The one thing that kept me from excepting a position with a company was “Freedom”. Of all the benefits that were offered the one that could never be offered was freedom of which is the greatest benefit of all. I have been thru some tight moments as a consultant having to find a place to work but thru those tight moments the fear of lack of work or no work for months on end have all but vanished. I have come to the conclusion that there are two places you will find security, one is in the dictionary and the other in Jesus Christ. One being “A” word and the other being “The” word, this changes everything. Very good article it is so true and it all boils down to decision, I like my freedom more then I like security tried both and freedom wins out everytime. I have learned alot being selfmployed learned alot about my self and have grown to be secure in my self and not some outside organization. This is a bit long so time to get off my soap box.

  • Offshoreland1

    I am selfemployed and have been for the past 20 years. I am a consultant in the oil field and in this business security is non existant. I work one day at a time and had opportunities to work for a companies tuning them down. The one thing that kept me from excepting a position with a company was “Freedom”. Of all the benefits that were offered the one that could never be offered was freedom of which is the greatest benefit of all. I have been thru some tight moments as a consultant having to find a place to work but thru those tight moments the fear of lack of work or no work for months on end have all but vanished. I have come to the conclusion that there are two places you will find security, one is in the dictionary and the other in Jesus Christ. One being “A” word and the other being “The” word, this changes everything. Very good article it is so true and it all boils down to decision, I like my freedom more then I like security tried both and freedom wins out everytime. I have learned alot being selfmployed learned alot about my self and have grown to be secure in my self and not some outside organization. This is a bit long so time to get off my soap box.

  • Offshoreland1

    I am selfemployed and have been for the past 20 years. I am a consultant in the oil field and in this business security is non existant. I work one day at a time and had opportunities to work for a companies tuning them down. The one thing that kept me from excepting a position with a company was “Freedom”. Of all the benefits that were offered the one that could never be offered was freedom of which is the greatest benefit of all. I have been thru some tight moments as a consultant having to find a place to work but thru those tight moments the fear of lack of work or no work for months on end have all but vanished. I have come to the conclusion that there are two places you will find security, one is in the dictionary and the other in Jesus Christ. One being “A” word and the other being “The” word, this changes everything. Very good article it is so true and it all boils down to decision, I like my freedom more then I like security tried both and freedom wins out everytime. I have learned alot being selfmployed learned alot about my self and have grown to be secure in my self and not some outside organization. This is a bit long so time to get off my soap box.

  • Offshoreland1

    Just had to re-post on this article. Being a disabled veteran and ten years with the government I had  a very secure job with only two ways out dying or quiting, so I quit. I was 32 married with two kids and all things that go with that. the oil field was booming in the late ’70’s early ’80’s and I had this adventerous spirit about me. I was hired by a large oil field service company they sent me to school in Houston,Tx and after 10 years working for a company I ventured out as a consultant and have been working as a consultant ever since. I am 63 now and have no desire to retire, I like what I do working two weeks a month, now how nice is that making 6 digits per year. I said all that to say this, when I quit the government I never looked back with no regrets it has truly been an adventure. Freedom.

  • Mike Galvan

    Dan, great post but as many will find out “Freedom” requires great courage.  My work allows for me to have freedom 70% of the time meaning I only have to be at a job 2 days a week.  It is an unusual mix between freedom and security.  The 2 days a week does take a physical toll but the trade off is an above average salary.  I am still working on the courage to obtain the remaining 30% of my freedom without giving up the salary.  I read Joshua 1:6 often.  Oh ye of little faith…..   

  • Mike Galvan

    Dan, great post but as many will find out “Freedom” requires great courage.  My work allows for me to have freedom 70% of the time meaning I only have to be at a job 2 days a week.  It is an unusual mix between freedom and security.  The 2 days a week does take a physical toll but the trade off is an above average salary.  I am still working on the courage to obtain the remaining 30% of my freedom without giving up the salary.  I read Joshua 1:6 often.  Oh ye of little faith…..   

  • Mike Galvan

    Dan, great post but as many will find out “Freedom” requires great courage.  My work allows for me to have freedom 70% of the time meaning I only have to be at a job 2 days a week.  It is an unusual mix between freedom and security.  The 2 days a week does take a physical toll but the trade off is an above average salary.  I am still working on the courage to obtain the remaining 30% of my freedom without giving up the salary.  I read Joshua 1:6 often.  Oh ye of little faith…..   

  • Lisa

    FREEDOM- without it you become a slave to those who set the rules…I can’t wait to become financially independent and live and not just exisist!

  • John

    My prison is not knowing what to do with my freedom. I have the time, no job, a supportive wife who makes a great living, and a great family, but still no answers.
    I want to work for myself but cannot figure it out!

    • Anonymous

      John – sounds like you need a bigger “Why.”   If things are too easy for you perhaps you need to clarify or discover “why” you would work for yourself.  You can’t figure out the “how to” before you have a big Why.

    • Anonymous

      John – sounds like you need a bigger “Why.”   If things are too easy for you perhaps you need to clarify or discover “why” you would work for yourself.  You can’t figure out the “how to” before you have a big Why.

    • Anonymous

      John – sounds like you need a bigger “Why.”   If things are too easy for you perhaps you need to clarify or discover “why” you would work for yourself.  You can’t figure out the “how to” before you have a big Why.

  • Benjamin Franklin said. “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”  It took me a really long time to understand how valuable my time really is.  I will never trade it for what someone else says I am worth.  Thanks Dan for a great blog!Cheers,
    Connie Williams
    http://www.ConnieandSheilaTalk.com

  • I love this Dan. I wanted you to know that I linked to this post where I just shared a cool info graphic I made on the same idea. I love that my thoughts coincide with yours. As you know your book was the first step in changing my thoughts.