Seven Habits of Highly Successful Prisoners–Article Three

By · Monday, February 9th, 2009

Prisoners Should Put First Things First

Once prisoners understand how to begin with the end in mind, they can advance to the next stage of a successful adjustment pattern through prison. That strategy requires prisoners to put first things first. It means developing a timeline from which they can measure their progress.

For example, if a prisoner who was scheduled to serve a five-year sentence knew how he wanted to emerge, then he could work backwards to develop a clear understanding of where he needed to be at various stages of his timeline. By knowing where he planned to be at five years, the prisoner could identify the growth he would need to embody at the four-year mark, at the three-year mark, at the two-year mark, and at the one-year mark. With such clearly defined goals, he could measure his progress quarterly, monthly, and daily.

This strategy for prison adjustment does not differ from any other strategy for success. When a child begins his educational journey, the course follows a specific structure. First are the primary years, when the basics of reading, spelling, grammar, and math are learned. Next, the child advances through secondary school, followed by high school. The overall goal would be to earn a high school diploma, though students mark their progress by completing the requirements of each school year; report cards evaluate their performance during each quarter and semester to mark their progress.

Prisoners who know how they want to emerge will not struggle to pass through one season to the next. Instead, they use every day to grow with deliberate purpose. The will not abdicate their commitment to succeed to any outside force. Instead, they create their own niche and measure their progress day by day.

Those constant efforts empower the individual who is committed to success. By charting his own course, the successful prisoner is invigorated by each step he takes toward advancement. Successful prisoners who embrace proactive adjustment patterns, who begin with the end in mind, who put first things first, live meaningful lives in spite of the fickle and seemingly obstructive policies implemented by administrators. Rather than yielding to the pressures of confinement, the purpose-driven prisoner evaluates every step and makes continuous progress toward the goals he identified with specific clarity.

Instead of meandering through lengthy prison terms, successful prisoners know that each step will lead them closer to their goals. They don’t wait for months to pass. Successful prisoners know what they have to complete, and that knowledge infuses them with passion and enthusiasm. It empowers them to power through every circumstance.

Administrators ought to implement prison reforms that would motivate prisoners to embrace adjustment patters to help them emerge successfully.

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