In the world in which we live, the foundation upon which something rests determines its sustainability and longevity. The quality of this foundation determines all of the factors that go into the successful utilization of whatever is built on it. A weak foundation means that whatever rests above is merely temporary. A solid foundation ensures something much more permanent. The question becomes: How do we know if our foundation is solid?
In this article, I am going to answer that question by addressing different types of foundations as they relate to the “4 Quadrants” of life. These quadrants are:
I am sure many of you already heard of these quadrants and are wondering how I can add anything to your knowledge base. All I ask is that you keep an open mind. For those of you not familiar with these quadrants, you are in for a real treat!
A physical foundation can be many, many different things. A concrete slab of a house. Earth. A steady, sustainable job. Education. A properly maintained vehicle.
For this article, I am going to focus on the material aspect from a business standpoint. When my husband and I started Gould Design, Inc., we started with the foundation of his skill set and my own. We built a business that was based on the eternal principles of honesty, integrity, open-mindedness, quality and willingness to adapt and innovate. This foundation was very secure because it was unwavering. It had built into itself the necessary tools to dictate its direction. The results have been more than I ever imagined.
Since his retirement from the company, I have been able to maintain this solid foundation just as we implemented it over a decade ago. Why? Because the foundation was unshakeable. It was built the same way it was intended and was quality checked by our peers. There have been times where I have wanted to expand revenue and get into other areas of the construction industry, but have decided not to after some experimentation. I simply was not willing to compromise the foundational principles that I built this company on. Sure the expansion would have been nice, but at what cost? If even one of the founding principles was compromised, the cost was simply too great a price to pay.
When most folks think of the mental foundation, they think of education. As you can see from the above, I disagree. Education is a physical foundation. What then is a mental foundation?
Simply put, it is optimism. In each and every event in my life, I challenge myself to look for the good in it, no matter how dark, dreary or inconvenient it may be. A successful mental foundation requires me to look for the good. After all, as Earl Nightingale said back in the 50’s “We become what we think about.” Click here to listen to this incredible, perspective shifting recording and here to read a previous article written in detail on this topic.
The fact of the matter is, whether you realize it or not, your positive thoughts radiate energy and influence your health. The people around you sense this energy. Think about it. Have you ever been near someone you did not know that made you feel uncomfortable, even though they were well groomed? Chances are that individual was a pessimist and was radiating negative energy through their thoughts. Do yourself a favor and radiate positive energy. You family, coworkers and everyone you meet will thank you for it. Besides, they deserve that from you, and, more importantly, you deserve it for yourself.
The emotional quadrant is quite complex. It begins at birth, and, in the early years of our lives, is controlled by our family. As we mature, we begin to take control of this area of our lives long before we even realize what is happening. As adults, this quadrant controls us and how others see us in life. How do we get a solid emotional foundation?
If you are married or have children, you already know the answer. If you are not, the answer is simple, yet very complicated: True Love. You see there are all kinds of love. Some people love things, some feelings, some even live thrills or attention. None of these are “true” love. In order for something to be true, it has to be built on honesty and self-sacrifice. It will not always be how you think it should be, nor will it always be pleasant. In fact, you are going to find yourself bonding closest with the person you truly love in the worst of times, not the best.
A solid emotional foundation begins and ends with you bring to the relationship, not what you take from it. So many people today marry for the wrong reasons, and the divorce rate is now hovering around 50%. Sad but true. If a new couple would take the time to get beyond the main issues of money, property or prestige that they would “get” from their prospective spouse, they could have a chance at a solid foundation. My husband and I are complete opposites in just about everything you can think of. This is an excellent foundation for our relationship because we always have to compromise and consider the other person’s point of view. We have to agree to disagree. We have to communicate. What a gift this is, as our love continues to grow ever so much deeper each and every day. It is such a blessing as our 4 children get to watch us live in this sturdy emotional foundation.
I know, I know. You are thinking religion, right? Wrong! Religion is about rituals that foster spirituality. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting it at all. We practice our religion each and every day in our home. The fact of the matter is, religion is not spirituality. How many “religious” people do you know that aren’t spiritual? On the same token, how many “spiritual” people do you know that aren’t religious?
What then is a spiritual foundation? Such an easy answer to say, but difficult to understand, and, oftentimes, to carry out. A spiritual foundation is doing G-d’s will as He would have me do. It is making the world a better place than it was before I entered it. This could be as simple as holding open a door for an elderly person or letting someone “in”, in traffic. It could be making donations to the needy or volunteering at your local soup kitchen. There are so many different ways to feed the spiritual side our ourselves. And in so doing, we reduce the time we spend thinking of ourselves, thus leading to true happiness and contentment in life.
When my spiritual foundation is solid, I naturally feed the other 3 quadrants and improve them. I naturally live a principle-centered life and try to help others as often as I can. The spiritual side of life is the one that contains all the gifts that I read about in religious literature, which teaches us that humility is the greatest characteristic a human being can possess. Humility naturally generates gratitude. And gratitude enables me to so many things that I do not have the strength to do. After all, there is only one thing I can truly take with me when I leave this world: my good deeds.
So, dear reader, how solid is your foundation?
In reading this article, I hope I have opened your eyes to just one thing that may help you assess your current foundations. If we are building foundations on things like referenced in the picture above, the sooner we recognize this, the better. After all, our spouses, children, co-workers and fellow inhabitants of the earth are counting on us. I look forward to reading your comments below and learning about your own personal foundations.
Naida Gould – Owner
Gould Design, Inc.