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Two people stand in front of you. Both are "builders" with equal skill, ability and experience. They look the same, they walk the same and they talk the same. At first, you think they might be the same person, but you come to find out that one is known as the Wise Builder and the other is known as the Foolish Builder.

When you take an even closer look, you see that both "builders" are actually different versions of you. Both are the same person with the same past and the same abilities, but each makes vastly different decisions in the way that he constructs aspects of your life.

The word ‘foundation’ is defined in the dictionary as “the basis or groundwork of anything.” Every important aspect of your life rests on a foundation, one that you build on daily and continually refine. Your career, your relationships, your training—all rest on these foundations that you’ve built as either the Wise Builder or the Foolish Builder. Sometimes, in the moment of construction, it’s hard for us to even tell which identity we’ve taken on. Sometimes we do know, but we figure that the end result will be the same, so does it really matter who’s doing the building?

I spent the majority of my life working in trades, doing concrete leveling and brick work. As most of you probably know, there are some very good tradesmen and contractors but even more bad ones. Our prices for jobs weren’t always the cheapest, but we prided ourselves on doing quality work and building everything with integrity. Sometimes potential customers opted for a cheaper contractor with less of a reputation for quality in hopes of saving a few bucks (or even try to do the job themselves). In some cases, the finished product was immediately recognizable as a mess, but other times, the job initially looked OK, leading the customer to say to himself, “See, cutting a few corners wasn’t a big deal.” But in almost every case, as time wore on and the weather and environment tested the work, the poor construction would rear its ugly head.


Switching back to our vision of the Wise Builder and the Foolish Builder, how many times have we faced the challenge of laying a foundation for a training cycle, a meet, a project at work or a career opportunity and have chosen to cut corners and go with the Foolish Builder? While the Wise Builder seems like the obvious choice, we were tempted by the Foolish Builder’s promises that it would be “easy,” “it wouldn’t cost us as much” and “it wouldn’t take as long.” Maybe at first it even seemed like we had made the right choice because the initial results were promising. But just like with real life construction, as time and the storms of life wore on the foundation, it crumbled and left us in a worst place than when we started. No one is perfect, and we’ve all had moments when we looked back regretfully at choosing to be the Foolish Builder.

There is a brief analogy in the Bible regarding another Wise Builder and a Foolish Builder. The meaning of the analogy goes beyond what we’re discussing in this article to a deeper matter of faith, but even if you don’t believe in the spiritual implications of the Bible, it still provides applicable truth to the foundations in your own life:

The Wise and Foolish Builders

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” — Matthew 7:24-27

As soon as you finish reading this article, you’ll return to a life that requires you to build in order to move forward. You may not choose all the tools you get, and you certainly don't choose the weather that will come to test your construction, but you do get to choose which “builder” you will be. The training sessions, the job responsibilities, the relationships, the work—they're all right in front of you. You know what the Wise Builder in you is capable of, but the Foolish Builder in the mirror is reminding you how much easier it could be, how much less it could cost you, how much less time it could take if you’d just let him do the work instead. The storms of life are coming. Which builder will you be today?

Joe's Training Log