Self-improvement month: Foundation

Self-Improvement month

Building a strong foundation

(taken from my book The All New, and Improved, You)

“The loftier the building, the deeper the foundation must be.”

Thomas a Kempis

I call upon my background as a Civil Engineer, with construction experience, to help you form a strong, deep foundation.  Everyone knows that a house can be built from the best, most expensive materials, but if it is set upon a weak foundation, it will fail.

To build a strong foundation, we must first dig the footers.  We might encounter rock, and have to make adjustments, or we might find weak areas that we must over-excavate and replace with more suitable material.  This is like the FAITH we must have in our lives.  Regardless of your religious belief, there are times that we need to call upon a higher power than ourselves.  Admit your individual weakness, and seek that power.

“Faith is to believe what we do not see;

and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.“

St. Augustine.

Once the footers have been dug, it’s time to pour the footing.  The combination of the proper rebar and the correct concrete mix will ensure a strong foundation.  The cement, stone, sand and water forms a cohesive bond together, and the rebar is used to make it even stronger. In our life’s foundation, we must draw upon our FAMILY and FRIENDS to give us this strong footing.  A good marriage with close family and friends will give us the support groups we need.   Work hard on relationships, always putting more into them than you expect to get out of them.  Send cards, emails, texts.  Phone.  Remember birthday, special events.  Be quick to forgive.  LOVE your family and friends.

“Our relatives are ours by chance,

but we can choose our friends.”

Jacques Delille

After we have dug the footers, and poured the footing, we then have a choice of how much space to have between our house and our footers.  How much space we have determines how much we can utilize the space.  If we only have a crawl space, then we will only have room to run the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.  Just the basics.  But if we build a foundation wall 8 feet high, we will have space for all of our utilities, plus room we can use for other things, such as recreation, hobbies, sports, etc.  How we live our lives is based upon whether we have a strong FINANCIAL foundation.  Will you live your life only from pay check to pay check, or will you be building wealth.  Will you let consumer credit card debt erode your paycheck, or will you make sure at least 10% of that paycheck goes into wealth accumulation, including a good retirement plan.  Do you have a budget, and do you only spend what you have.  Remember, if you have a $10,000 credit card debt, charging 18.5%, and you pay the minimum of $175/month, it will take you 11.5 years to pay it off, and it will have cost you $24, 150.  Probably the item you charged, didn’t last nearly as long as the time it took to pay it off.

“If a person gets his attitude toward money straight,

It will help straighten out almost every other area of his life.”

Billy Graham

I challenge you this week to find five ways you can improve your life in each of the following areas.  Email me at  and tell me how you’ve improved your life this month.


Family and Friends


Email me  and tell me how you’ve improved your life this month.

My book, “The All New, and Improved, You” has many more self improvement ideas.

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About Jerry Haynes

OK, where do I start. I was born…., no that line has already been taken.Call me…, oops so has that one. Well, I won’t attempt to spout musical prose, and just be myself. I grew up in the small cotton mill town of Fries, VA. My parents were hardworking members of the middle class. They never earned more than a little over minimum wage, but I can never remember lacking for anything. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, I started to VA Tech. After two years of partying (1st), going to movies (2nd), and studying, well, much further down the list, VA Tech decided I need a two year break to get my priorities straight. With a number 8 in the draft lottery, I knew that even if the Hokies didn’t want me, Uncle Sam did. I joined the US Navy. I got my priorities straight. I’m proud to be a Viet Nam veteran, but feel guilty I never got deployed. I graduated from Tech in 1977 with a BS in Civil Engineering. For the next 35 years I would work in both the private and public sectors. My first job took me to Tazewell County, Virginia where I soon joined the Jaycees. This ignited my passion for individual development. This passion still burns today.

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