Mastermind 

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Sequence: 17

6-Mastermind Lessons

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a mastermind as “A person who supplies the directing or creative intelligence for a project.”

Where would you turn if you’re looking for a “mastermind”? 

I suppose your answer would depend on your current situation. 

If you’re a young man who aspires to become a professional athlete, you might consider someone who has proven himself in the athletic arena. 

  • If you’re looking to create wealth, you may search for someone who has succeeded in building businesses and creating a sustainable enterprise that generates cash flow and monthly profits.
  • If you’re struggling, you may want to learn from someone who has endured similar challenges—but emerged more potent than ever. 

Perhaps that person recovered from an illness. Maybe the person overcame an abusive relationship. The person may have gone through a lengthy prison term. Yet rather than allowing the prison term to define his life, he responded to the sentence in ways that allowed him to grow. Perhaps he learned lessons that would translate into new opportunities in prison and upon release.

When searching for guidance from an expert, we may want to follow a multi-step process:

  • Step 1: Assess the status of our life at a given stage,
  • Step 2: Assess the merits or the qualifications of the person from whom we want to learn, and
  • Step 3: Create a plan that will help us make incremental progress,
  • Step 4: Put priorities in place,
  • Step 5: Built tools, tactics, and resources that will advance our progress,
  • Step 6: Craft an accountability tool to keep us on track, and
  • Step 7: Execute our multi-step process every day.

I learned those lessons at the start of my journey, when Officer Wilson began bringing a series of books that I could read. I was in the Special Housing Unit, facing a life sentence. Since those leaders had gone through challenges much larger than I would face, I knew that I could learn from them. 

From their lessons, I learned that I would need to introspect—getting real with the predicament I had put myself in

Who am I?

As described in the earlier sections, I made terrible decisions as a young man. I didn’t listen to my parents, teachers, or guidance counselors. After finishing high school with mediocre grades, I got into trouble with the law. The friends I chose were also violating the law. 

  • I began selling drugs when I was 20.
  • Authorities arrested me when I was 23. 
  • Prosecutors charged me with violating drug laws. 
  • Despite knowing that I was guilty, I refused to accept responsibility. 
  • After a lengthy trial, a jury convicted me. 

While languishing in solitary confinement, I read books that helped question the decisions that put me my predicament. I considered the authors of those books to be masterminds. Had I learned from their valuable lessons earlier, I would have made different decisions. I would have paid more attention to guidance counselors or mentors in school, I likely would have made better decisions. Masterminds could have helped me avoid problems with the criminal justice system.

Fortunately, it’s never too early and it’s never too late to begin making better decisions.

Masterminds taught lessons that helped me through prison. Those lessons made all the difference in my life. Through this self-directed course, I’d like to share what I learned. Truthfully, I can sum up those lessons in one sentence:

  • The decisions we make today directly influence our prospects for success tomorrow.

Questions:

In what ways does the system bear responsibility for our success upon release? 

In what ways we bear responsibility for our success upon release? 

There isn’t any correct answer or wrong answer to such questions. Yet if we mediate on such questions, we can develop better critical thinking. We can develop responses to help guide us to better decisions. Our deliberateness can lead to better discretion when choosing friends and how we spend our time.

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