At the 2017 International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London, the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, awfully placed third.
This was the Jamaican athlete’s first major defeat at a major championship final in many years. When asked what he thought may have been the reason for this defeat, he cringed, “A bad start.”
The beginning of a thing is very important because it becomes its foundation. Foundations are very critical because the success or failure of that thing depends on it. Every builder, for instance, takes the pain to invest so much in the right foundation because their edifice will come tumbling down in a few years if that foundation is bad.
A bad start is expensive. When a thing is not started well, it soon ends on a bad note. Many careers have ended because of a bad start of corruption. Many relationships have had to end because they had a wrong start— cheating. Some people never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams because of a bad start in high school— drug abuse.
How we start a thing may not necessarily be how we may finish it, however, it is likely to be how that thing will be finished. Many drug addicts today have messed up their lives because of a poor start in the days of their youth. People whose addictions took them to the grave generally had a bad start. They tried it once, twice and then… it became a habit they killed themselves with.
People who start well may as well end well. When they keep the pace at which they started a thing, they will soon reach their destination. A good start is a great advantage. A bad one, on the other hand, is a great disadvantage. Like a race, if you miss the opportunity to start right, you miss the opportunity to end right.
Everyone should be careful about foundations they intentionally or unintentionally build. In our families, we build foundations. In our churches, we do same. Every relationship, just like a company, has a foundation. In every human setting, there is a foundation. Don’t start what you don’t want to end with. If it is not good for the end, it is not good for the beginning.
A foundation is built by how we start a thing. How we begin a relationship becomes its foundation. It will be a herculean task trying to later change how a company is run because of how it was started. The clear-cut difference between flourishing churches and those that are not has got a lot to do with their foundation— how it all started. Any institution built on greed and selfishness soon goes down its grave.
When courtship, for instance, was built on a foundation of lust and incessant cheating, marriage grows from bad to worse. It is always one episode of infidelity or another. You can’t build a three-storey edifice on a foundation that was meant for a single room. That mansion will collapse. Such is a marriage built on the wrong foundation.
One should be utterly careful about how a relationship starts. It is a red flag if it starts with slaps because it will end in blows. If it starts with verbal abuse, it will end in physical abuse. A bad start prophesies a bad end!
Every marriage that withstands the storms of life can be traced to its foundation. How any institution starts predicts how it will end. If a marriage is built on a foundation of love, that is how it will end. If a family was started with devotions and time dedicated to bonding together, nothing can separate them. If you are starting a family, be intentional about the foundation.
Foundations become a culture. They become habits that can hardly be done away with. When companies are built on the right foundation, generations come and go but that institution keeps thriving because of its corporate culture. When a firm is built on a foundation of mutual respect between employers and employees, there is always progress and innovation because every soul feels important to the bigger picture of that firm.
Companies that have outlived their founders were built on a solid foundation of people. Every move of such companies put the people first; both staff and clients. Every habit formed within such companies had its mission at heart. Long after the visionary has died, the vision continues to live because there was a good foundation intentionally built.
When companies end, first ask how they started. When churches can’t live after a few storms, ask of the foundations on which they were built. No storm can tear down a house built on a rocky foundation.
Babies are not born to run. They first crawl, toddle, try to walk and then, run. Even planes don’t take off by flying. They first run and then, fly. This is life teaching us about how to start a thing; the greatness of little beginnings. When we begin with the right foundation, storms become a part of us. We appreciate failure and live beyond them.
We fall while trying to crawl. We topple over in our bid to run. We only pick ourselves up and try again. If we began life by running, every fall may have been so damning to us. However, because we begin life crawling, we get to understand that it is okay to fall.
Whatever you start, have the end in mind. Every action and inaction will become a culture. It will be a habit you may never be able to change. In your relationships, build the right foundation. In your career, start right. In all your intentions, be intentional about building an end you want to see by how you start!
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. Connect with him via firstname.lastname@example.org.