How to Succeed 

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Sequence 34

23-How to Succeed

A great management guru, Peter Drucker, is famous for advising companies on becoming more successful. He spoke about the importance of measuring incremental success. We could improve our performance by measuring each tiny step we took.

I took that message to heart. By reading from leaders like Peter Drucker, I learned to set clear metrics to define what it meant to commit. Like everyone else, I needed to measure progress if I wanted to work toward success.

  • How could I measure a commitment “to educate myself?”
  • How could I measure a commitment “to contribute to society?”
  • How could I measure whether I worked “to build a support network?”

Finding Your “Why” with Questions:

To answer those questions, I thought about my avatars. What would they expect? Then, I set a time limit. Since prison would be a big part of my life, I set a time horizon focused on the first ten years. I could measure ten years. What could I accomplish during the first ten years? What would make a favorable impression on my avatars?

  • In ten years, I committed to earning an undergraduate degree. My avatars would see me as an educated man if I had a degree.
  • In ten years, I committed to publishing something. My avatars would consider a “published author” as someone who contributed to society.
  • In ten years, I would persuade ten people to have a vested interest in my success. Those ten people would become my support network. If I built a support network, avatars would find it easier to believe in me. 

Guides through the Maze of Confinement:

Values and goals became my guide through prison. By adhering to them, I could overcome struggles and achieve high levels of success. 

If you set values and live by those values, you’re on the path. If you set goals that you can measure—with timelines—you advance prospects for success. 

Use the Straight-A Guide to achieve new performance levels, starting with the right attitude.

An individual must have the right attitude to overcome. The right attitude leads to higher levels of success. Individuals may differ in how they define the right attitude. That’s okay. We bring more clarity when we define the right attitude with a 100% commitment to success, as defined by our values and goals.

Is success the same for everybody? No. Success isn’t the same for everyone because people set different values. 

  • Some people place the accumulation of wealth or financial security at the apex of their value system. 
  • Some people hold their commitment to family as their highest value. 
  • Some people value their faith in God as their highest value or contribution to society. 

When we set our values, we take a step toward defining success. Our goals show our commitment to success.

Once we define success and show our commitment to goals, we can demonstrate that we have the right attitude. We can keep everything we say, do, and think in harmony with our values and goals. That’s when we have the right attitude. That’s when we follow the path of masterminds.

When you determine what you want, you have made the most critical decision of your life. You have to know what you want to attain it.

—Douglas Lurton

Determine what you want! Use values and goals. Then, advance your prospects for success with the right attitude. Make a 100% commitment by making decisions consistent with your values and goals. I learned the importance of this strategy from these true masterminds:

  • Frederick Douglass
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Viktor Frankl
  • Martin Luther King
  • Steve Jobs
  • Bill Gates
  • Jack Welch

I had the right attitude long before I left prison. While inside, I made a 100% commitment to my definition of success. Does that mean I was a model inmate? Not at all. It means that I made decisions that were consistent with my values and goals. 

I made decisions that would influence my avatars. That 100% commitment defined my pursuit of excellence. My attitude guided my choices seven days a week. I explain when people ask what I mean by seven days a week.

I mean seven days a week!

When people ask whether I obsessed over those goals on weekends or holidays, I tell them I had the right attitude seven days a week. If weekends and holidays fell within a seven-day week, I adhered to the strategy.

I am not in prison anymore. But I still follow the strategy of having the right attitude. I make a 100% commitment to success because I know what I want to achieve. That strategy powered me through prison. I am convinced that it opens opportunities for me in society.

A conscientious, values-based, goal-oriented adjustment through prison allowed me to seize control of my adjustment. My attitude may not have influenced an earlier release date, but it certainly influenced how I passed each day. By making a 100% commitment to my values and goals, I put myself on a path to receive support from “avatars.” The strategy made all the difference during my journey through prison. More importantly, the process empowered me to return to society precisely as I anticipated—with my dignity intact and opportunities for a life of fulfillment. 

By adhering to the principles of this Preparing for Success After Prison Course, participants advance prospects for a better outcome. But it all begins with attitude.


How would you measure a 100% commitment to success? 

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