One of the interesting things I’ve noticed about sacrifice and compromise is where one draws the line in the moment of fight or flight. Obviously, the ‘line’ is all based on context. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that jazz.
It’s easy to say – I stand for this, I believe in that and no matter what happens, this is where I draw the line.
Then the circumstances change, you’re faced with the hard decision to re-draw the line and it’s amazing what people will really do.
Some people turn to crime, some people turn to addiction, some people scale back and swallow their pride – some return, most never do – and then some people keep the pedal to the metal and slam into the wall.
When people talk about ‘fundamentals’, what they’re referring to is the core requirements of something. The foundational building blocks to a theory, belief structure or system. It suggests that with strong fundamentals that people will strip away the glossy exterior but the trusty, reliable skeleton below will remain steadfast.
However more often than not, it actually happens the other way around. People would prefer to keep the image at the cost of the skeleton until one day it all just turns to jelly. But jelly is yummy and the world still turns despite jelly businesses, jelly buildings, jelly relationships and jelly decisions.
So what if turns out that one man’s fundamentals are just another man’s considerations?
Fundamentals are typically the unsexiest and rawest form of being. It’s the minimalist life; keeping only what’s necessary.
It’s also what you see on the street of any country when you see homeless people just breathing and eating. They’re just existing on living the life of a skeleton and to most of the modern world, they think they’re already doomed. Right or wrong, it still exists.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have people living a life of decadence with more stuff in their life than they can poke a stick at. To them, that’s their fundamental skeletal life but to rest of the world, they see fundamentals plus many layers of gloss. Right or wrong, it still exists.
Maybe it just turns out that not every rich person is a lonely crook and most poor people aren’t happy. Uh-oh, that breaks some fundamental beliefs about the evil of money.
I suppose what’s been challenging for me my whole professional life is drawing the line in the sand to state what I will and won’t stand for as a quality of life and how that benchmarks again my fundamental values.
What I consider cheap, someone else thinks is expensive. What I think is easy, someone else thinks is hard. And both of those have their vice-verses. So when people refer to ‘getting back to basics’, it makes you wonder – who and what is ‘basics’ and where do you draw the line?
I agree that you need to have strong bones in order to support strong muscles. If you don’t take care of the bones, you break easily.
On the other hand, if you compromise and continue to strip away the muscle in order to preserve the bones, you can’t do much being weak.
When you’re faced with the notion of digging deeper, and it’s coming down to the wire of your fundamentals, you’re faced with some really personal choices that will make you feel very alone.
It’s easy for others to cast judgement and offer opinions of what you should do based on what works for them and their own standards.
It’s been hard for me to defend my fundamentals at the best of times when it would be so easy to just compromise them ever so slightly to create an easier path. But that’s kind of like becoming an exotic dancer ‘for just a month or two’ to clear the bills. Sure in essence it might do the trick – and to others it’s not a second thought – but to you, you just sold yourself.
Fundamentals as a concept are important but it’s our own fundamentals – the ones we review alone in bed at night – that are the ones you need to consult.
Whatever you decide, it’s you that has to wake up everyday and deal with the consequences of your choices – both good and bad. Being true to yourself is more easily said than done but it’s that notable difference only you can feel in your heart.