Journal Entry 

 Show Your Commitment 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

In this newsletter, I offer suggestions to help you begin building a better life. Regardless of how much time you have behind you or ahead of you, you can always work to sow seeds for your next opportunity.

When I was sentenced to 45 years in prison at the age of 23, I had no idea what lay ahead. I had never been incarcerated before and had spent a year in solitary confinement due to my charges. Convicted of operating a continuing criminal enterprise, I faced the harsh realities of the War on Drugs. Despite having no allegations of violence against me, I was kept in SHU.

It was during this time that books became my lifeline. They transformed my mindset, shifting my focus from my problems to the steps I could take to prepare for future opportunities.

Life is full of opportunities, but they often pass us by if we are not prepared. While serving my sentence, people ridiculed me for focusing on the outside world. They believed that the best way to serve time was to forget about the world outside and concentrate solely on life inside.

That mindset might suffice for those content with a life of poverty and further legal troubles. All across America, we see homeless camps filled with people who once served time in prison.

If you want to succeed, I recommend that you start preparing to build a better future. Work on developing skills every day, and the marketplace will find you more valuable.

In the books I’ve sent to each of you, I share a ten-part strategy that I followed in prison and continue to follow today:

Step 1. Define Success: Understand what success means to you.

Step 2. Set Clear Goals: Align your goals with your definition of success.

Step 3. Adopt the Right Attitude: Always work to prepare for the future.

Step 4. Aspire for more: Strive to build something better than what exists today.

Step 5. Take Incremental Steps: Make small, consistent progress.

Step 6. Create Accountability Metrics: Measure your progress and stay on course.

Step 7. Stay Aware of Opportunities: Be vigilant and let others know about your efforts.

Step 8. Be Authentic: Stay true to yourself.

Step 9. Celebrate Small Wins: Recognize and appreciate your incremental achievements.

Step 10. Live in Gratitude: Be thankful for the blessings you receive.

These steps helped me recalibrate and rebuild my life, and I continue to use them today. I would never ask anyone to do anything that didn’t work for me as I prepared for success in prison.

Many people in society are willing to support this mission of helping the incarcerated prepare for success, but they want to see results. Excuses don’t matter. The only thing the matters is the result. You must show your commitment to excellence, and that you’re self-directed to work, regardless of what obstacles the system presents.

If you want to build an exceptional life, you must work hard to create an exceptional record. If you do your part, I will do mine and strive to raise more resources to help those who show they are willing to help themselves.

How can you demonstrate your commitment?

Use the strategy I’ve outlined and document your journey. Start by writing about how you’re using your time in prison to prepare for success upon release.

Today’s Question:

How do the educational credentials you’ve earned influence your prospects for success upon release?

Steps to Build Your Profile:

1. Send an invite to [email protected]

2. Once accepted, send an email with the following information:

   – Your name

   – Your number

   – Your location

   – Your sentence length

3. Respond to any questions presented in the newsletter by sending your answers to the email above.

By taking these steps, you can start memorializing your journey and demonstrating your commitment to a better future.

Keep striving for greatness. Your efforts today will pave the way for your success tomorrow.

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