HOW STRONG IS YOUR FOUNDATION?
Buildings built with a strong foundation have a higher chance of withstanding environmental factors, even earthquakes. Those built without a great foundation or much planning end up like the leaning Tower of Pisa at best (well, at least it’s famous) and perish completely at worst. For example, there are the leaky condo projects of Harrisburg which were built with the right kind of planning but for the wrong kind of climate. People are the same – those with a strong foundation do better than the ones with a weak foundation.
Just like with houses, you often cannot tell by looking at a person if the foundation is strong. You can only tell when the hurricane blows by or the earthquake strikes – and then it’s too late to do something about it. The time to build a foundation is BEFORE you build the house. Often, you will spend more time on the foundation than the house itself – that isn’t good news for impatient people who want to see results yesterday! If you build the house and notice later that you should have built a stronger foundation, you may need to tear everything down and start over again. Even patchwork will be tricky and very costly.
As people, we need a strong foundation with strong pillars which, in my mind, are made up of health, relationships, finances, and work. These, in turn, must be strong.
Strong health means strong physical, emotional, and mental health. It means being in that state now and it means working on maintaining that state. Everyone may come in contact with disease, but generally those with a stronger foundation of health will combat the disease faster, often even before you know you are sick. Building strong health includes working on a positive mental attitude, working out regularly, positive eating habits, regular time off work, and some form of spiritual work. This may include going to church, meditating or volunteer work to benefit others.
Strong finances don’t only mean a lot of immediate cash flow. It means good cash flow and the knowledge that if the cash flow stopped (due to injury, divorce, downsizing, changes in market conditions), there would be a cushion made up of insurance and income from various sources like businesses and investments. Strong finances are built for the short term as well as the long term.
Strong relationships mean clean and happy, satisfying relationships with others. It has been proven that people with social interactions and married people, on average, live longer than those who are alone. Strong relationships mean that there are no outstanding issues with the people in your life. All family secrets have been dealt with, all the times that your spouse has left the toilet seat up have been forgiven and forgotten. Of course, it wouldn’t be human to never have any disagreements, but it is human and possible to have such disagreements cleaned up quickly. Strong relationships feel great and provide an incredible opportunity for support when needed.
Strong work environment, to me, includes a number of things. Relationships with coworkers, owners or partners, and customers need to be good. There needs to be a sense of purpose, meaning, and appreciation for the work being done. The work needs to “fit” your particular personality and nourish you financially and otherwise.
How strong does the foundation need to be? That depends on the kind of house you want to build. A doghouse doesn’t need much of a foundation. A tall apartment building does! What kind of a foundation does YOUR dream life need?