I hope you have a raincoat.
‘Cause a storm is brewing. Nothing new though. ‘Cause you’re prepared, right? Right?
Well, if you don’t have a raincoat, you can at least run into the house. You’re safe there.
Say what? It’s not built on a good foundation?
What?!?!??! The house is gonna get washed away?!? Are you kidding me!
What have you been doing this entire time?
That’s the question I would ask anyone who doesn’t prepare for the trials and tribulations of life.
Life is gonna throw all kinds of curveballs at you. The other question I’ll ask is: “are you gonna slam it out of the park? Or are you gonna strike out?”
You avoid striking out by building a solid foundation – and that’s what this article’s going to be talking about.
Who are you? What do you stand for?
The answer to these questions comprises your foundation, the base upon which your stately palace of outward success – rests.
Some people never answer these questions. They don’t know what they stand for or who the fuck they are. And as a result – they construct their house on mud and dirt. They have all the outward manifestations of success…but when they’re tested, they fall away like a stack of cards.
Life will test your foundation to its very core. Every encounter in life is an opportunity to strengthen your foundation…or to slowly chip away at it.
When you succumb to peer pressure – you weaken your foundation.
When you do something you know in your heart of hearts isn’t the right thing – you weaken your foundation.
On the flipside, when you exercise self-discipline – you reinforce your foundation.
When you cultivate valuable skills and habits that are “evergreen” – you reinforce your foundation.
The Greek philosophers summed it up in two words: “know thyself”. When you do that, you have already started to construct your foundation from solid granite.
This foundation is also known as your character.
Here’s six pieces of a rock-solid foundation that withstands anything that life throws at it. All of them feed off of one another. You can have 5 out of the 6 pieces…but the integrity of the foundation won’t be as solid as if you had all 6.
Here’s how to build it up.
1. Embrace Seasonality
What comes right after summer? From what I remember, its fall. It’s been that way since the beginning of time (as far as I know).
Life isn’t a nonstop party. There will be times for serious matters. Life isn’t all work either. There will be time for massive enjoyment.
The change and rhythm in life is what makes it interesting.
Here’s something to keep in mind: “think winter all summer”. That means that you have to always be planning ahead for the lean times. There was a time when I was dead broke. If I didn’t save for that time, I would have been up a creek without a paddle.
When you plan ahead a little bit, you make yourself more able to stand tall in a storm. It doesn’t matter if it lasts 5 hours or 5 days.
The foundation is resistant to change. Our world is changing at a rapid pace. If who you are and what you believe in is changing with it, tell me: how are you going to build anything worth mentioning on it?
2. Embrace Adversity
Adversity comes in numerous forms. Some of it is in your face, most of it is very subtle.
Adversity is when you tried to negotiate a raise with your boss, but the offer was rejected.
Adversity is when your car breaks down several miles from home.
Adversity is when your life isn’t progressing as you wished it to.
How you deal with these will determine how you deal with future events. Adversity will always be there.
We live in a society that has tried to “idiot proof” and “safety check” every single thing. We live in a society that is incredibly risk-adverse. We loooooove comfort.
But let me raise this question: if the Founding Fathers of America didn’t embrace adversity and looooooved comfort, where would we be today as a nation? Would we even exist?Adversity is a core component of a good foundation. Click To Tweet
3. Embrace Responsibility
“It’s on me.” That’s responsibility.
Responsibility comes from the Latin word respondere, which means “to respond”. By taking responsibility, you are responding to a question of “what happened here?”
When you say “it’s on me”, you’re not saying it from a self-degrading position. You’re saying that you are accountable for things that come into your life. You may not be able to control events…but you can control your responses to these events.
When you start to take responsibility for all that happens to you, you feel powerful and in control. You feel like you are at the cause, rather than being at the effect.
Responsibility gives you self-confidence and self-confidence helps solidify your foundation.
4. Embrace Repetition
In order to build anything of lasting value, you need to embrace loooooooong stretches of monotony. There will be times where you feel as if you’re not making ANY progress at all. This is where most people give up. Seth Godin calls it “the dip”.
It is mind numbing to do the same thing over and over day in and day out with .00001% improvement.
Do you have the discipline to stick to the plan?
Repetition builds the foundation because you know the value of hard work and what it takes to create something that stands the test of time. This is partially why a lot of business owners are so humble, because they knew what it took to get there.
5. Embrace Scorn
When you start out on any endeavor, you will have the people that will try to bring you down. Most of the people in life who we consider “revolutionary” had an endless list of people who called them crazy, stupid, moronic, etc. They wanted to see them crash…hard.
This is because any attempt to rise beyond what you currently are will irritate some people. It will remind them of how they fucked up somewhere along the path. How they didn’t have the discipline to stick to something. How they failed in the endeavor and never picked it back up again, so all they remember is the failure.
If you’re trying to loose weight and go to the gym, some of your friends may make fun of you. They remember you as the un-athletic fatso. Can’t have you trying to lean up and get strong, now… Reality will break if you do. Their reality that is.
Sometimes you don’t even need to do anything and people will hate you just because you exist. Why? Because the Earth is round and the sky is blue.
People will always find someone to hate on, it just may not be you (at the moment).
When you’ve been kicked, spit on, curse at, and left for dead… What else can happen to you? You’ve already survived that. You aren’t afraid of anything. You’re antifragile.
Yet again, another piece of the foundation to make it rock solid in order to build the luxurious mansion on top.
6. Embrace Friends (and Family)
No man is an island. No one can do it alone. You’ll need the support and help of others. But not just anyone.
You need to find people who will back you up, not tear you down. The latter are easy to find. Life’s an ocean with many sharks swimming around just waiting for the next meal. The former are rare, like precious gemstones. If you find them, hold on to them – tight.
You need someone to say “no, John wouldn’t do that. That’s not like him.”
If I was locked in a foreign prison on false charges, I can count on one hand the amount of people who would come and bail me out – no questions asked. That’s pretty good odds. Can you say the same?
You say you have so many friends. But when the clouds overhead start swirling, people start to file out one by one. When health issues , financial issues, etc. happens…funny who sticks around. You only know who your true friends are when they’ve been tested.
Your family is also a major asset to you as well. They’re not “exciting” as friends, but they love you and they will have your back (in most cases). Reciprocate the good vibes.
The foundation is further strengthened when you have outside help.
7. Embrace Yourself
It starts with you.
You are both the creator and the soil from which the plants of compensation spring forth. Your build yourself up or tear yourself down. Your choice.
Take yourself for what you are – good and bad. Accept your faults. Learn from your mistakes. Let them inform you, not define you.
“Self-acceptance” sounds too “self-helpy” but it’s true.
On airplanes they say, “put your gas mask on before you put it on a child”. That’s because you’re no good to that little guy if you’re dead. You can only help others when you help yourself.
This is the most crucial piece of the foundation. Without this, the other pieces aren’t as strong. Self-acceptance is the ultimate key to any lasting happiness.Let your mistakes inform you, not define you. Click To Tweet
Putting it all together
So now we have seven crucial pieces of building a rock solid foundation.
We know that things change. Prepare for it.
We know that adversity helps strengthen whatever foundation you have.
We know that responsibility puts us at the helm of our lives as the master and commander.
We know that repetition makes this all even possible in the first place.
We know that when other people throw shade at you, it builds you up…and brings them down.
We know that true friends help us when we need a boost. Same with family.
We know that self-acceptance makes us aware to why we need to build a foundation in the first place.
All of these are put in the mixing truck. The truck then pours them out. This is then allowed to harden.
The unrelenting heat of life, the rays of the sun start to make that foundation harden into an unbreakable slab of will and fortitude, something that people recognize and pay homage to.
How do I know all this? Because I’ve already walked it. I have strengthened my foundation over the years and I’ve seen that these are things which contributed to it.
I have also compromised my foundation in moments of weakness. But I’ve always remained true to who I was and what I believed in. My foundation only grows stronger as time goes on and on and more storms come my way.
I am definitely not rock solid but I’m getting there. I’m much more solid than I was a year ago at this time, that’s for damn sure and that’s what it should be. I can’t wait to see what these two hands start building once it does become rock solid.
It’s exciting…but it’s not easy. Everyone wants to be “rock solid” but not everyone knows the pains that go into making that happen. That’s what I want for you – for everyone. I wish all of us could live a life full of great things happening to them.
But since you’re reading this, I’ll give you three questions to ponder a bit.
- What do you stand for?
- How will you implement one of these pieces into your life today? What will you embrace?
- Who will you share this with? Who needs to see this?