Soul Searching #13: freedom and security

Hello, and welcome to episode 13 of my Soul Searching series. The other episodes can be found at:

  1. Introduction
  2. Values
  3. Energy
  4. Intuition
  5. Flow
  6. Personality Tests
  7. The human brain
  8. Non-duality
  9. Leadership
  10. Thinking vs doing
  11. Information
  12. Tips for a sabbatical

During my soul searching activities, I came across a schematic that has stuck with me ever since. Let’s start by sharing that:

The schematic is a 2D axis, with ‘Security vs Innovation’ on the vertical axis, and ‘Togetherness vs Freedom’ on the horizontal axis. I wonder whether I have chosen proper translation for the
Dutch words I have in my graph, so here are the original words for the Dutch people: ‘Verbinding’, ‘Vrijheid’, ‘Veiligheid’, ‘Vernieuwing’. For reference, I marked the four quadrants with Roman numerals – mathematically sound, of course. Generally speaking, I’ve been struggling increasingly with the two dilemma’s represented by the two axes. I feel like I want to have freedom, but I don’t want to lose my connection with friends, family, and areas of interest. Also, it’s important to me to feel safe, but my curiosity continues to drive me towards new things and away from stability.

I tried plotting myself as a point in this graph several times, but I didn’t feel very satisfied with the result. So I took a different approach this time. I added a point for four dimensions of my life to the graph, and I’d like to share my thoughts about their location with you.

Let’s start with ‘Family’, which I’ve placed in QIII, close to middle. As I get older, I’m spending more time with my family. I feel the need to get to know my family better, and to share life’s experiences with them. Times goes by quickly: children grow up, parents grow older, and siblings are in the same speedy vortex as I am. I also derive a certain amount of security from family: it’s nice to know you can call somebody in times of need. In the past, I definitely attached less value to family life, and was less conscious of the ‘security’ element. Probably, had I created this graph 10 years ago, the ‘Family’ point would have been closer to where I put ‘Finances’ now.

With ‘Finances’, I mean the use of money, not the amount I have. I put it in QIV. Increasingly, I see and use money as a way to create time, and to create space for choosing. I’d like to spend my time learning new things and meeting interesting people, and I use money to facilitate that. I guess this point will move somewhat towards the right, and upward. In the past, ‘Finances’ would definitely be further down.

‘Career’ was easy to plot: I’m moving towards a career where I have more autonomy, and where I can apply my unstoppable curiosity. ‘Personal growth’ is taking the same path, because I think that ‘what I do’ and ‘who I am’ are closely linked. Both used to be closer to the origin of the graph.

Personally, I think that the ‘Security’ aspect of ‘Family’ and ‘Finance’ is enabling me to drive ‘Career’ and ‘Personal Growth’ to the north-east corner. Also, there are several dimensions of life that I did not plot in the graph, such as love, spirituality, health, hobbies, and community. I left these out, because my attention is mostly on the ones in the graph. But the missing dimensions will also require some of my time in the near future.

I hope this illustration was helpful. It helped me in recognizing when dilemma’s were at work, and in which areas they were occurring. If you have any feedback, you are of course welcome to share you thoughts. Feel free to connect on LinkedIn, or to send me a message at martijn@martijn-onderwater.nl. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and see you next time!