Journal Entry 

 Breaking Free 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Breaking Free: The Mindset for Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Goals

Life’s journey is riddled with obstacles. While climbing my way out from a 45-year prison term, I learned to see those obstacles not as barriers but as the very stepping stones to my goals. The mindset I’ve nurtured to approach these challenges has been the key to my liberation—the difference between being grounded and taking flight. Leaders like Frederick Douglas or Socrates or Nelson Mandela taught me how to think differently. To break free from the shackles of limitation, I’ve developed a mindset that is a testament to the resilience of our human spirit and our capacity for transformation.

My own story serves as a living example of this truth. From the confines of a prison cell, I dared to envision a future brimming with potential. I refused to see myself as a prisoner of circumstance but as a pioneer of my destiny, an entrepreneur, a mentor, and an advocate for systemic change.

 The Foundation of Freedom

I’ve learned that freedom begins in the mind. It’s about shifting focus from the deficits in our lives to the abundance we can create. I’ve embraced the belief that my circumstances were merely a chapter in my life, not the conclusion of my story.

What will your story become?

In what ways will you take your journey of overcoming challenges in prison to build a life of meaning, relevance, and dignity?

 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles

  1. Visionary Thinking: I’ve always envisioned my life not as it was, but as it could be. Crafting a clear and compelling vision has been essential in pulling me forward.
  2.  Adaptive Learning: I’ve treated every experience as a lesson. My willingness to adapt and learn, especially from challenges, has been crucial.
  3. Resolute Action: I’ve taken consistent actions towards my goals, guided by purpose and persistence, even when the path was unclear.
  4. Positive Networking: I’ve surrounded myself with individuals who uplift and support my ambitions. The right community has been a catalyst for my success.
  5. Reflective Resilience: I’ve made it a habit to reflect on my progress, celebrate my wins, and learn from setbacks. Building resilience has been about perseverance and the willingness to keep moving forward.

If you participate in our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, you’ll develop your own strategies. Or you’ll learn from leaders, just as I did.

 The Task: Mapping Your Breakthrough

This week, I encourage you to take a moment to map out your own breakthrough. Identify an obstacle you’re facing and apply these strategies to craft a plan for overcoming it. Ask yourself: What is one action I can take today that brings me closer to my goal?

I invite you to share your plan with me at [email protected]. Let me be a part of your support network, cheering you on as you break free from the chains of limitation and soar towards your aspirations.

 Join the Movement

As you embark on this path, remember that you’re not alone. Your story is part of a collective narrative of triumph and transformation. By sharing your journey, you inspire others to break free and rise. Together, we can turn obstacles into opportunities and goals into achievements.

I look forward to hearing your stories of breaking free and achieving your goals. Your mindset is the key; unlock your potential and let your journey be a beacon for others.


Michael Santos

Founder, Prison Professors Talent

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