“Freedom. Security. Convenience. Choose two.”
~ Dan Geer, CIA chief cybersecurity officer
Let’s say your house is two hundred metres from a supermarket.
Walk, buy, return home in half an hour.
The bus stop is one hundred metres from your house.
Walk for five minutes and you arrive.
There are four bus services that lead to a nearby train station. They each take two minutes to reach there.
That is convenience.
Every month, without fail, you receive a salary for putting in your time and effort at your workplace. If your employer has an exceptional year, you get months of bonus. Best of all, they pay you a percentage of your salary into your retirement account monthly.
That is security.
You can have lunch anytime. 10.30 a.m. 11 a.m. 12 noon. Or even 1 p.m. You can take as long as two to three hours to have lunch or a short 10 minute booster nap.
That is freedom.
Convenience. Security. Freedom. If you were to give up one of them, which one would it be?
Here is a hint.
If you want your child to master something, give up convenience. Convenience leads to comfort. Comfort breeds stagnancy. Stagnancy kills mastery. This is the path of a craftsman. Think Archimedes, the one who derived the formula for the surface area and volume of a sphere.
If you want your child to excel QUICKLY, give up freedom. Ask his or her teacher to feed them with tons of practice worksheets until they are so familiar with solving the exams questions that they ace them in less than 6 months. Think sinecure.
If you want your child to find out what they love to do in life, give up security. Ask them to take the path off the proven track. This path is filled with adventures and dangers. There is no guarantee they will succeed or survive. Think Steve Jobs.
Most choose the path of a full time job in exchange for security and convenience. After all, job stability brings consistent income.
It also brings in consistent complacency. There is no reward to work hard or work harder. Or go the extra mile. You are paid the same amount, regardless of how many benefits you brought for your employer.
That could be why your child is reluctant to do more than a pass in math. Their environment is filled with security and convenience. They are rewarded for doing minimal work. Why work so hard when the reward is still the same?
Which of the three paths are you asking your child to follow?
Convenience. Security. Freedom. Choose two.
PS: Is passing math enough for your child? Read on in the guest post that I wrote for Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global.