Building is hard – Maintenance is back-breaking
Imagine being on the beach and building a sand castle. You are spending hours focusing on every little detail of your construction and then finally it is finished. You are in front of your creation; admiring your work, doubting if it was you who built it. During your admiration, a bird flies by and drops a rock on the left side of the castle. You start cursing at the damn bird and running to the site to see the extent of the damage. You get some sand, mix it with water and repair the destruction. Slowly you start realizing that building and maintenance are two different things.
While doing that, a kid walks by and thinks it is funny to poke at the castle with a stick it found somewhere on the beach. You cannot go there immediately because you are still repairing the previous vandalization. You are angrily screaming at the kid – it should take its stick and go find its mum. After you are finished at the first construction site you go to the next one. Luckily you can only find a couple of small holes that are easy to fix.
If you want to keep this sandcastle alive for a long time, that is going to be your job; keeping a close eye on it every day and preserving what is in your power to preserve.
Building and maintaining Relationships
The same principle applies to relationships. Relationships start with a common interest; similar personalities finding each other and having great chemistry at the beginning. It is easy to find somebody with whom we can spend many hours with, without having a problem, because we have not become acquainted with all their characteristics yet. This is the phase of building the sandcastle.
When a type of relationship has been established, problems will start to arise. Misunderstandings, due to the still unknown to us other. Different people have different habits, manners, and patterns. Those habits, manners, and patterns may not align with the aesthetic compass of the person we started a relationship with, may it be friendly or romantically. This will lead to friction of the two aesthetic compasses and eventually to a battle. The battle of the aesthetic compasses will leave behind damages, just like the ones that needed fixing on the sandcastle.
Maintenance of the Relationship
If we judge the relationship worthy of our efforts, we will try to find a way to maintain it. The maintenance, of course, needs both parties to be equally determined, otherwise, it will most probably ultimately fall apart. While the kid was poking the sandcastle with the stick, you could have asked it to fix the damage together instead of doing it alone. It could result in the kid starting to appreciate the sandcastle and take care of it itself. Making all parties part of the problem solving process makes maintenance easier and long-lived.
Many people feel that their relationships are secure and will last for a long time without adequate maintenance. Because of that, they start neglecting them, not giving them enough attention. That is a big mistake and leads to the slow but sure demise of the relationship. Starting, or building, a relationship is relatively easy – maintaining it is hard.
Maintaining in general life
Maintaining a sort of status is necessary in every aspect of life. Career, health, fitness, we already talked about relationships.
All of those fields need our day to day attention, otherwise their development and success will stagnate or they will stop existing if we neglect them entirely.
Setbacks will most probably occur and that is fine. Nothing works perfectly for the entirety of its existence. That is why we should be attentive and ready to take care of those setbacks.
In fitness, an accident can be a dramatic setback. There are many examples of professional athletes who got injured and stayed out of games for the whole season. Some injuries can be fixed more easily and the athlete stays out for just some weeks. Nevertheless, even at the smallest discomfort in a body part they stop what they are doing, in football they ask the coach for a substitution, and they immediately do scans to find out what the cause for the discomfort is.
Those scans are lifesaving. If a footballer ignores his or her physical discomfort, they will not go and let their body be scanned to find out the cause of the injury. In the long run the injury will be worse than it would have been if the problem had been dealt with earlier.
Reaction to Discomforts – Essential Step to Maintenance
That is how we should react to all discomforts in life before it is too late for the problem to be solved and a damaged to be repaired. Maintenance means non-procrastination, non-accumulation of problems. What needs fixing should be fixed immediately. Some problems cannot be fixed immediately. Nevertheless, the recognition and analysis of the problem is something that can be done right at the first sign of discomfort.
If you build the sandcastle and let people walk by and vandalize and damage it, like the little boy with the stick, and you think, “Well I will just fix it later”… you will arrive at a point, later, when you will not be able to maintain the sandcastle. It will be destroyed entirely and you will need to build it up from the start. On the other hand, if through daily maintenance you fix what needs to be fixed immediately, you will have that beautiful sandcastle every day to admire and be proud of. If that is not the goal then why build it at all?