So, I've got a proposition for you.
Unfortunately, it does not involve fishnets, vodka, or smeared black eye makeup, and while we're at it, I should mention it definitely doesn't involve any of this bleepity bleep bleep bullshit either.
Nor will it ever, unless, well…there's pretty much no exceptions. Though I am rather fond of the idea of being called, “master,” or better yet, “mastress.” Which actually sounds a lot like mattress, so, nevermind.
The proposition is as follows. Would you rather:
a) Be secure, but not feel secure
b) Feel secure, but not actually be secure
I'm going to take a big, wild stabbity stab stab in the not-so-darkity dark dark, and I'm going to venture to guess you'd probably prefer Option A: Be secure, but not feel secure. Granted, some might have said otherwise: Ooohhhhh, but perception is everything, and as long as I perceive it to be true, it will be true, so therefore I pick B! If that's you, please kindly accept this digital eviction notice from this blog. It truly is not for you.
Despite the fact that I'm guessing most people will pick A, logically, it seems that when it comes to implementation, most people will actually continue to live a lifestyle characterized by Option B: Feeling secure, but not actually being secure.
Clinging to a job that makes you WANT TO STRANGLE EVERY SINGLE PERSON AROUND YOU WITH THE LONGEST PIECE OF SCOTCH TAPE YOU CAN FIND, because you feel that it provides a certain level of security, is a prime example. As I've talked about before, job security is an oxymoron.
Don't get me wrong – there's nothing wrong with jobs, and frankly, our world would collapse if certain roles weren't carried out. But from a security standpoint, they really aren't the cats meow like everyone likes to think. Though, I'm sure the collapse of the economy has helped to shed a little light.
I don't know about you, but the thought of a middle-aged balding man whose shirt is covered in doughnut grease, and who spells “you're” like “your” on a regular basis before playing Farmville for 2 hours straight, having full control over whether or not I have a paycheck tomorrow, freaks me the fuck out.
It's okay if you're happy in your job–but just don't be surprised when you lose it.
Because, that's what happens when you position yourself as a commodity.
The thing with being a commodity in a job market means you're interchangeable, because you're serving as one moving part that's necessary for an operation to function as a whole. Even if you think you're a goddamn rockstar, I'm sorry to tell you–you're still relatively interchangeable.
And the problem with being interchangeable, is that–rockstar or not–you can easily be fired and replaced with another up-and-coming rockstar, as an interchangeable commodity, which happens, oftentimes, in the name of cost savings. After all, once you gain more and more experience, you're naturally going to want more and more money.
But they don't need you to have more experience, and they certainly don't want to give you more money for added experience they don't need; they just need you to fill the role you've been assigned, and for less money. So, they'll gladly replace you if it means keeping their costs down, and things running smoothly.
So now, not only is your security at risk, but you're also severely limited in terms of your finances, and, more importantly, in terms of your potential.
Now imagine the creative entrepreneur. Hell, even take this blog for example, to drive home a point. Would it ever be the same blog if it weren't me writing it? No. Impossible. Would any of the copy that I create for clients ever be the same if it weren't me writing it? No. Impossible. As a result, I'm not an interchangeable commodity.
And as such, it means a few things:
1. No one can fire me.
2. I don't have to beg anyone for more money.
3. I can command more lucrative fees.
4. I've got full creative control over my career + creations.
5. I can go to the gyno whenever the hell I want.
That's not the extent of it, for sure, but I'd like to keep the conversation going; I don't want to continue to beat a dead horse, because you've heard this stuff before. But what I really want to talk about goes back to my initial question of security.
There's no such thing as absolute security, so it's interesting that we plant our feet firmly and quietly declare that a goal. And while we may be able to gain some levels of additional security, it's always, always going to require a trade-off. Oftentimes, that trade-off ends up costing our happiness. Worse, it could end up costing you your entire life.
Every security-related decision we make is based on a potential gain or loss.
Here's an interesting experiment for you to gnaw on: Subjects were asked to envision a disease outbreak that's expected to kill 600 people, and then to choose between two treatment options.
One group was asked to choose between the following two options:
Program A: “200 people will be saved.”
Program B: “There is a one-third probability that 600 people will be saved, and a two-thirds probability that no people will be saved.”
The second group of subjects were asked to choose between these programs:
Program C: “400 people will die.”
Program D: “There is a one-third probability that nobody will die, and a two-thirds probability that 600 people will die.”
If you notice, both A + C are exactly the same, just positioned differently, as is B + D. Interestingly enough, though, most people (72%) chose A over B, and most people (78%) chose B over D.
Which basically speaks to the fact that people make very different trade-offs if something is presented as a gain, rather than a loss.
So what can we take from that?
Well, usually, when people envision leaving their jobs and starting their own business–and the trade-off of their current level of security–they tend to think about all of the losses they might experience–which, I think we could reason, is probably why there's so much hesitancy.
However, what if it were positioned in terms of the gains in our minds?
What if the trade-off of leaving a job and starting a business–and the trade-off of their current level of security–were to represent huge gains, instead? Would you be that much more inclined to take the leap?
Do yourself a favor.
If you're finding yourself in that position–you feel it in your gut that you want to move forward, but you're getting paralyzed at the thought of the possible negative outcomes that could result–just sit down and make a little list.
Stop taking people's advice of, “What's the worst that could happen?” and start thinking in terms of, “What's the best that could happen?”
And then, write every single damn positive outcome that could possibly occur–short-term, long-term, whatever–on a big, giant, happy red piece of cardboard paper…and tack that shit up on your bathroom mirror. (I say mirror, because you actually look at that, unlike your fridge, when you're more worried about what's inside.)
Because, At The End of The Day…
By living life in a sparkly little glass box surrounded by big, muscular security guards who make sure nothing bad ever happens to you, you might feel secure (and have some pretty nice eye candy to look at), sure, but are you really secure?
Because, if we're being honest, some Hitler-like asshole could ambush your box at any given moment, taking your guards out and smashing the shit out of your glass.
On the other hand, by foregoing that pansy-ass glass box, you're giving yourself the opportunity to explore, experiment, run, leap, learn, grow, understand and–yeah–sometimes fall, which is half the fun.
And you might not feel secure–not even one bit–but in the end, at least when the shit hits the fan, you WILL be more secure, because you'll be left to your own vices to get it sorted out.
And sometimes, all it takes is a little self-trust and a shot of whiskey.
Sometimes, all it takes is you.