Leadership and Awareness 

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Sequence 51

40-Leadership and Awareness:

Bill Gates started Microsoft with his partner, Paul Allen. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were great examples of masterminds. Together, they built and led one of the most influential companies in the world.

Unlike me, Bill Gates and Paul Allen made good decisions when they were young:

  • They studied on their own to learn and master computers,
  • They knew their values,
  • They set clear goals,
  • They worked on writing software code in a short time. 

They wrote the computer code that would launch Microsoft in less than a week. As they succeeded, investors from all over the world invested resources to help Microsoft grow.

Bill and Paul’s early preparations put them on a path to success. When an opportunity of a lifetime opened, they were ready. We all can make choices today that will allow us to take advantage of opportunities later. We need to sow our seeds. 

We see many examples showing us how people succeed. The only question becomes whether we want to learn from them. By studying their patterns, I learned a great deal. I wrote the Straight-A Guide’s principles to convey what I learned to others. 

As a case study, let’s consider more about the story behind the founders of Microsoft. 


They committed to success with 100% effort. Bill Gates studied independently, learning as much as he could. When he saw an opportunity to start his company, he went all in. He quit Harvard and moved to New Mexico to work with his first client. Gates did not allow anything to get in the way of his success.


They had a vision, wanting every office and every home to use personal computers. They wrote the codes that would drive computers and taught others how to use the code to write programs. It was all part of a grand vision to build Microsoft.


They took incremental action steps, first writing the code. Then they got the client, generating resources to hire staff to help them find more clients. Then they repeated the process. Then they found investors that would provide resources to accelerate success.


They set clear goals. Each goal had a timeframe to complete. A timeline let them know how much progress they needed to make each day. By meeting timelines, they earned the trust of their partners. 

We see these kinds of examples all around us. We should follow the clues. The Straight-A Guide shows us how to follow a pattern of success. Define success and commit to it, then make decisions to deliver success. Those who follow this pattern know that their choices rather than chance led to success.

Hence, we see the first prong of Awareness.

But there’s a second prong. Others become aware of people that put themselves on pathways to success. Everyone wants to be a part of success. 

Being Aware in Prison and Life:

I didn’t get this concept of awareness as an adolescent. My lack of awareness had a bad outcome. I chose friends poorly, and I made terrible decisions that locked me in conflict with authorities. Then I went to prison for multiple decades. While inside, from the masterminds I studied, I learned that I could step onto a path to success regardless of where I was. Or I could stay unaware and follow the path that derails success and leads to further demise. I had to choose and pursue success regardless of my environment.

What are you choosing?

To follow patterns of success, we may need to change how we think. We need a new mindset. To change how we think, we should start by thinking of our teachers. Learn to think like people who succeed. They leave clues that show how they became successful. Reject patterns of failure that we see so frequently in jails and prisons.

The example of Bill Gates and Paul Allen shows how we can reap big rewards if we prepare early. They studied science and math. When they began, neither Bill Gates nor Paul Allen knew they would start a valuable company. They applied themselves, and they learned. As a result, they were ready to seize the day when others could not. They were “aware” of opportunities. Later, others became aware of their success and joined them.

People in prison could follow the same steps. In the Straight-A Guide, we list those steps as follows:

  • Values: Identify values to define success.
  • Goals: Set clear goals showing how you commit to your values.
  • Attitude: Show that you have the right attitude with 100% effort.
  • Aspiration: See the success that you’re going to become.
  • Action: Take small action steps each day.
  • Accountability. Use clear timelines to measure your progress.
  • Awareness. Stay aware of opportunities to seize, and more people will become aware of you.

People who follow the principled steps of the Straight-A Guide are more aware. They know a lot of negative energy exists in prison, but their mindfulness helps them triumph over that energy. They choose friends carefully, knowing they can control their behavior but cannot control others’ behavior. Accordingly, they make choices that will lessen their exposure to problems. They are aware of the power of each choice they make. The choices they make today put them on a path to success tomorrow. Every choice matters. 


What steps are you taking to influence how people may become advocates for you and open opportunities for your success?

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