Henry Lewis/ Class 4: Life Management Skills

by Henry Lewis

105. How would you define your life management skills?

I’m in the process of reconstructing my life.  I’m unlearning bad habits and implementing positive life building strategies.

106. What types of decisions influence how you will emerge from prison?

Every decision I make each day will determine my success for tomorrow.  I’ve developed a new attitude and disposition.

107. In what ways does your daily schedule determine your potential for success upon release?

If you’re not doing something that’s beneficial for the future, upon release, then we must ask ourselves “what are we really preparing for”.

108. How do personal relationships influence our prospects for success?

Sometimes people value what others think or feel, more so than their own thoughts and values.  Some are bad and some are good.  I won’t compromise who I am or what I believe in for anything or anyone.

109. How can we cultivate and nurture personal relationships that may prove helpful through our prison journey and beyond?

By maintaining an open line of communication and dealing with their issues that directly affect our lives.  We must encourage one another and do what we can to help others.  Relationships must be nurtured and maintained.  We get out of relationships whatever we put into them.

110. In what ways did Michael’s decisions at the beginning of his term lead to the opportunities that opened for him through the decades he served?

He began his sentence with a vision of who he wanted to become and he knew what he wanted to accomplish.  His attitude is what lifted him above a lot of obstacles.

111. In what ways have the decisions you made from the day of your arrest influenced your life today?

I realized that I must change my life for the better.  I chose to embrace the change and work each day of myself, whether it be spiritually, mentally, emotionally or physically.  I said that I would look at the positive of this situation and not the negative.  The cup is half full, that’s my philosophy.

112. How would you compare and contrast the initial adjustment decisions of two prisoners who offered their profiles?

I’d contrast and compare Walt Jones with Severin Stone.  Mr Stone clearly understood how a bad attitude could expose him to decisions that led to a spiraling downward path and Mr. Jones’ attitude dictated his actions during his initial adjustments to prison.  They both realized the important and impact of having a positive attitude.

113. In what ways does your prison adjustment compare or contrast with the individuals profiled?

My adjustment was similar.  I’ve always had a bad attitude.  Attitude problem and as a consequence I’ve made numerous errors in life but I’ve learned to be more humble and conscious of the decisions that I make, always keeping the end result in mind.  I understand that I have the power in any and all situations and I can respond positively or negatively.  Nevertheless, I always have a choice.  I’ve learned to lose that bad attitude and I’ve adopted a positive attitude.  As a result, all aspects of my life have changed for the better.  I don’t encounter the problems I used to have when I had the bad attitude.  Change is great.

114. In what ways does your prison adjustment compare or contrast with the type of career trajectory That Greg Reyes or some of the other successful businessmen described?

I understand that success is deliberate and intentional.  It won’t happen by accident nor does luck have anything to do with it.  I understand laws and principles of being a success and I can honestly say that I no longer posses that something for nothing mentality.  I’ve purged my mind from self-defeat and I have no doubt that I can achieve all things I desire as long as I am willing to work hard and honestly for them.

115. What steps can you take in the time that spans between now and your release date to prepare for a law-abiding, fulfilling life?

I can continue to work on my character, attitude and work ethic.  I can increase my circle of influence, the things that are within my power to control.  Build my support network and maintain a disciplined mind set and commitment to success.

116. In what ways are your interactions with others in prison and beyond purposeful?

My interactions with others further my plans for my future.  I talk with guys to gain from their knowledge and experience.  I’m continuously seeking to learn new methods and means of being successful.  We don’t waste time dealing with frivolous issues.  We’re all looking forward to and preparing for our lives beyond prison.

117. How do your interactions with others relate to the individual you aspire to become?

I look to find the good in all people.  By me being here, there’s not many if any people I would emulate.  I learn from everybody who I encounter.  I know who I am but more importantly I know who I’m not.  I surround myself with positivity.

118. What types of activities, interests, and discussions motivate or inspire your closest acquaintances?

Discussions that are relevant to the real world such as politics, economics, markets and ways of investing money.  Anything that doesn’t lead back to prison is the topic.  Some of my closest acquaintances like to read self-help and inspirational/motivational books, magazines and are involved with the MGS Foundation.

119. In what ways will the relationships you cultivate help or hinder your aspirations?

Because of the individual I’ve evolved into, they can only help my aspirations.  I understand that I always have a choice in all matters.  I am my biggest enemy.  If relationships are lifting me to new heights then they’re probably strengthening my growth and development.

120. If Red had a stable job with opportunities for growth, what do you suppose would have tempted him to revert to crime?

Instant gratification, also not being firmly grounded in what he was doing.  Maybe Red couldn’t see himself really getting ahead by having an honest, hard-working life.  I hated to read that part of his story but it is what it is.  He definitely shouldn’t have been fooling around with his old associates or anybody that was willing to risk their freedom for some quick money.  The risks outweigh the rewards.  I’ll never risk my freedom for money again.  It just doesn’t make sense.  There are too many ways to make money but I also understand that people cannot act except in accordance with their knowledge.

121. In what ways could a prisoner manage his life to persuade prospective employers that he lives by different values from men like Red?

All we can do is do what’s right at all times and lead by example.  We can let our actions speak for us.  A person that talks all the time seldom does anything else.  Actions speak louder than words!

122. How does an individual’s diction influence perceptions?

A man must be articulate in his speech.  It reveals the depth or lack of an individual’s vocabulary.  We get once to make a first impression.  If a person has a dirty mouth, it’s a negative stigma attached to them.

123. How does an individual’s personal grooming and presentation influence opportunities?

Again, first impressions happen once.  You can win or lose on that alone.  This can greatly influence individuals opportunities.  We always have a choice in all matters and if a person can’t keep themselves groomed and presentable it is highly unlikely that they will hinder themselves before they’re even given a chance.

124. With regard to the attitude attribute of the Straight-A Guide, what does it mean to make a 100 percent commitment?

It means to be committed when things are good as well as when things aren’t so good.  But it begins with the attitude.  Attitude leads to a peaceful or destructive state of mind.  Again, self is an enemy of us all as we must learn to defeat self.  To be defeated by self is most shameful.

125. How would you assess your acquaintances with regard to the attitude attribute of the Straight-A Guide?

I think I attract positivity because I display a positive attitude and positive energy.  It’s as if I re-pull negativity in all ways, thoughts, actions, speaking.

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