Blog Article 

 5—Define Tactics 

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Michael Santos

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When we’re pursuing a pathway to succeed, we need a strategy. That strategy becomes our game plan. We use tactics to convert our high-level goals into reality. The tactics guide us clearly on what we must do every day to move closer to the success we’ve defined. Regardless of our challenges, the tactics at the beginning of our plan will evolve as we progress. Every day we should pursue tactics that align with our strategy.

Deliberate reading would become a tactic to grow stronger. The library included books from different genres. There were stacks of westerns by Louis L’Amour, romance novels by Danielle Steel, thrillers by James Patterson, and horror books by Stephen King. 

Fictional books can entertain us, and we can learn lessons from the stories. Since I defined success as being able to emerge from prison strong, with my dignity intact, I wanted to read books that would teach me how to grow and become stronger. 

While waiting to transfer to prison, I grew stronger by reading the story about Socrates. I could identify with Socrates because of his imprisonment. I wanted to find and read books that would teach me the tactics other people in prison use to improve their lives.

On one of the bookshelves in the library, I found The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley

More than 20 years had passed since the book came out, but I did not know anything about Malcolm X. I heard that while serving time in prison, Malcolm transformed his life. I read his book hoping to find clues on how he used time in prison to grow.

When I read books, I frequently encountered words I needed help understanding. Sometimes I could decipher the meaning in context. Other times, I skipped over words out of laziness. 

Malcolm’s biography taught me his strategy when he came across words he did not understand. He wrote down the words. Then he looked up the words in the dictionary. This tactic helped him to become a better communicator.

That book inspired me to work toward building my vocabulary. Since I aspired to become a better communicator, I thought of words as tools. Like a carpenter needs tools to become a more efficient builder, a communicator needs a more robust vocabulary to become more persuasive. 

Learning more words would become a tactic I could use to create more opportunities. I had to learn how to define words and how to use those words in sentences. I believed the tactic would be invaluable, helping me become a better communicator. Regardless of where administrators held me or what access I had to classrooms, I could use this strategy I learned from Malcolm to improve my prospects for success upon release.

  • What tactics have you created to help you overcome your challenges?
  • If you added 500 words to your vocabulary, how would that tactic influence your prospect for success?
  • What steps could you take to add 500 words to your vocabulary?
  • What influence does language have on your ability to open opportunities?
  • What tactics could you pursue to make you a more persuasive communicator?

Word of the day: genre / Define genre:

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