Craig Payton/ Class 3: Accountability

by Craig Payton

97. Describe your thoughts on whether accountability logs would help, hinder, or provide indifferent to your opportunities for success upon release.

I definitely agree that keeping steady track of your progress in all areas is tremendously valuable.  I can say that I have never before tracked my efforts in such a way.  It serves to keep on focused on goals and values.  As you work on achieving goals you connect daily to the values from which the goals have sprung and realize that by maintaining this level of integrity you have already realized a degree of success as a person.  As this process helps me to better accomplish goals and see new goals and aspiration it cannot help but make me a better and more productive person who takes on challenges and stays focus on achieving those goals he sets before him.  Although I agree with the goal setting and personal accountability, I cannot personally see the benefit of submitting a daily blog about what progress I have made.  I have opted for a periodic update of my progress.  I blogged my first update after 60 days into the new year (2012).

98. In what ways will probation officers respond to efforts you’ve made at documenting your values, goals, and commitment to preparing for a law-abiding life upon release?

I have no idea how the particular officer in my case may or may not respond to my activities and documentations of same.  I would hope that any person would be able to discern that I am making a concerted effort towards self-improvement while incarcerated and that I am focused on succeeding upon my release from prison.  Holding up my values and living by them should demonstrate that I am not all the type of person who would seek to break the law again.  With a shorter sentence, it is certainly difficult to make the case that what I did was a youthful folly which I have grown out of, but I will carry on with the Straight A Guide process to do the best I can to document efforts above and beyond the average prisoner to show my sincerity in my goal to rejoin the mainstream of society.  

99. Elaborate on ways that full transparency with regard to your prison adjustment through accountability logs can influence potential employers or support networks.

The idea of accountability logs is to track what you are accomplishing.  I understand that accountability logs have already proven effective to provide incentive and impetus towards achieving my goals and also enabling me to each for new goals and aspirations.  As for how this may affect those within my support network or prospective employers I am a bit dubious.  What is most important is to demonstrate that you are making progress and achieving the best you can while incarcerated.  I am a bit skeptical honestly of the values of showing someone my fitness goals and logs or some of the other daily goals I am tracking.  These are not something I publish on the Straight A Guide therefore they are not as tangible.  This is why I have been doing 100 day challenge reports to update anyone interested in what I am up to.  Therefore, I see the accountability logs as much more personally important than they may be to a prospective employer or others in my actual or potential support network.  More important is my ability to communicate my thoughts, my process and my accomplishments over the time I have remaining in incarceration.

100. Describe the role accountability logs played in their success:

Accountability logs are useful across all sectors of the pursuit of excellence in any field.  The definition of accountability logs can be applied broadly to define any record keeping that allows you to see where you have been and where you are going, whether you are making progress or not and also can lead to course corrections which would not have been possible without the insight provided by keeping track of the data in question.  There is no doubt that good record keeping is essential to survive in our modern world.  Just keeping basic tax records in an orderly fashion will make once life much less stressful early each year.  Beyond that, keeping excellent records of different aspects of one’s life will reveal more information about progress or lack thereof and by its very nature calls for and creates discipline.  How can you live within your means when you aren’t exactly clear on what you earn or what you spend, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.  It is difficult to plan for your future if you do not have a firm grasp upon the nature of your present conditions.

101. How do universities evaluate which students to admit?

Universities evaluate potential students based upon their records.  Their course work, their GPA and also test records such as SAT.

102. What information do creditors consider when deliberating on whether to extend loans?

Creditors take into consideration many factors.  Besides the obvious factor of current employment and household income, lenders take not of overall financial status, outstanding debt, total credit available and other factors.  These together form ones credit score and upon the basis of this score and the amount of loan sought they will determine how able the individual has shown he will be to pay back the loan.  This is obviously a good example of being held accountable according to past performance and present and future potential to have the same or better results.

103. What governs investment decisions that people make?

Individuals make investment decisions primarily upon the judgment that they will be able to realize anticipated or better than anticipated ROI (return on investment).  They make these decisions based upon the terms of the investment and their knowledge of the investment and the likelihood of the investment to perform as represented.  The performance expectations are based upon real data gathered about the opportunity, the marketplace, past performance and projected forecasts of performance.

104. How do your responses to the above questions support or refute the value of accountability logs?

The above answers do support the value of accountability logs very well.  There are many documents generated in our society that could be labeled as accountability logs, even the record of your checking account is an accountability log of sorts.  I am convinced of a certain degree of value to maintain an accountability log.  This is why I have been maintaining my own

logs since Jan 1, 2012 (April 7the 2012 as of this writing).  It has been helpful to keep track of the pursuit of my goals.  It has led to course correction, likely much sooner than would otherwise have been the case.  However, given the relatively short amount of time I will spend in prison compared to Mr. Santos, I have some difficulty in visualizing how a daily posting of my log will advance my opportunities.  I have elected to a quarterly update (or perhaps more frequently) to sum up my progress instead of the daily log M. Santos posts.  I do keep daily logs but I prefer to save my internet minutes (5 cents per minute) for the Straight A Guide, intermittent blogs and non-fiction book report/reviews.

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