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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Insecurity Can "Get Stuff Done"

Writer/travelor Chris Guillebeau ("Art of Non-Conformity,", 2010) writes, "Here’s a theory: the more secure we are, the less productive we become. The less risk and uncertainty we have in our lives, the more likely we are to amble along, getting by just fine but never really doing anything worth talking about... Because security can be such a demotivator, the opposite is true as well: a healthy amount of insecurity helps us 'Get Stuff Done.'" After all, doesn't insecurity stem from placing belief in ourselves and our own abilities when that faith should be placed in God? What is insecurity but doubt in our own abilities and skills?

I believe the theory Chris has espoused. People often become less motivated and less productive as their small, righteous circle of family and friends works to thicken its insulated blanket of tight security. The people with which they share their love and other like-thinking individuals circle their wagons and build strong defenses to keep out alien intruders. Once these defenses are effectively constructed and consecrated, the group tends to bask in the security of their creations, unwilling to risk changes or offer new friendships. They never change and always choose the life of comfort with the "good people." Their attitude becomes, "Let the heathens be damned."

So many times I hear people say, "These days, I am afraid: afraid to talk to or to smile at a stranger, afraid to offer assistance to others, afraid to express my opinions, afraid to get involved with causes, afraid to trust someone with information or responsibility, afraid to let others influence me." In a society full of lawsuits, violence, and deceit, frightened people can certainly justify many of their actions of inclusion; however, society must pay a high cost for its negative perception of insecurity. Social laziness has caused many to avoid the slightest uncomfortable feelings to offer help to those with unknown behaviors.

Of course, some of those denied admittance to normal avenues of security feel gangs or cults are viable, even life-saving, alternatives to clans of family and friends. As abnormalities of culture, they set standards of taboo or unusual behavior for acceptance and commitment. Most of these groups are antisocial, so threatened by the norm, members seek security by devoting life and soul to strict adherence and abeyance of the gang's generally unaccepted standards. As the gang splits individuals' families and establishes control, turmoil follows and allegiances change.

But, what about the person seeking group security that for one reason or another is denied acceptance. These are the students walking alone from class to class hugging the school walls, the unpopular rather homely social dropout, the "weirdo," the "geek," the "freak," the "skank," the "mental," the "retard," the "geezer," the "throwback," the "trashy"? These people experience nothing but insecurity on the fringes of all cliques, and most are living within dysfunctional family frameworks as they enter the ranks of the "non-group," the loners.

I believe unless the best of us are willing to reach out to the worst of us (and vice versa), complacency will stall positive strides towards bridging deep gaps between individuals. It's simply not enough to count our blessings, rejoice with our friends, and speak our best intentions to others unlike us from a great distance. Conversely, it's not enough to isolate ourselves from happiness and success while we find fault in the virtues and gains of others.

Step into the shoes of your polar opposite to see how easily "things might have turned out differently."

1. Your attractive physical beauty instead was disagreeable, lackluster obesity.
2. Your confident, popular personality was mousy and frighteningly timid.
3. Your sharp, witty intelligence was dull and thoughtless rambling.
4. Your coordinated, sports-fit body was clumsy and out of shape.
5. Your middle-class surroundings were dumpy and unclean.
6. Your clean mind and soul were ravaged by drug and alcohol addiction.
7. Your kind parents were unloving and abusive.
8. Your good moral upbringing was a dog-eat-dog, street-violent existence.

We must deal with all of these individuals as worthy members of our communities. To build bunkers around our perceived "correct" circles is merely to prepare for long and perilous battles. Isolation accomplishes nothing. Yet, to face those unlike us, even disgusting to us, and to offer assistance and friendship is more hopeful. Becoming a little insecure with our actions can lead to larger understandings and improved conditions. The first step is to believe that we can be influential. Then, after swallowing our insecurities, we can risk our influence upon others.

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