Henry Lewis/ Class 5: Self-Improvement Training

by Henry Lewis

126. When you assess your environment, what opportunities for self-improvement can you create or seize?

Right now I’m seizing every opportunity to educate myself.  The choice is mine.  I’m reading books on the subjects I will be into once I’m out o fhere.  I’m building my support network and plan for a better life.

127. What is your interpretation on the value of self-imposed structure of free time?

It is very important.  We must be able to account for our time in here.  It’s like your time is your money in prison.  You can invest it for the future and benefit from it or you can spend it and wasting it on doing things that are pleasurable for the moment.  Things that fuel good initially always have some type of ill effect on us in the end.  I’m willing to buckle down and do the things that are not always gratifying but I know in the end there will be some benefit.  Everything I’ve done from my previous attitude and ways of thinking landed me in prison, aka my best thinking.  Now it’s time to invest in myself and rectify myself.

128. What relationship do your daily activities have to the vision you have for your life upon release?

My life is structured and I know what I will be doing at certain intervals during the day.  I’m never just sitting around like “there’s nothing to do”.  I always have something on my plate.

129. Imagine that you were to replicate your activities or use of time yesterday every day or your sentence. If you did, what level of preparation would have to triumph over the obstacles that await you upon your return to society?

There will be obstacles along the path to success but I understand principle of being a successful individual.  It doesn’t just happen, it is intentional and deliberate.  Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

130. What activities within the prison environment can you pursue that will enhance your strengths?

By working on my weaknesses because we are only as strong as our weakest link.  But the things that I am strong in I can put them into use and build upon my strengths.

131. What activities within the prison environment would you categorize as a weakness?

Watching T.V.  and play table top games all day.  Reading fancy magazines, and urban books not even thinking about your future.  Having an attitude that you’re ok and all you need to do is get out.  I hear people talk so much but their actions aren’t up to par with their mouths.  People that handle business never talk about it, they just do it.

132. What activities within the prison environment would you perceive as offering opportunities?

Educating oneself, job fairs, acquiring job skills and training.

133. What activities within the prison environment do you perceive as threatening your prospects for success upon release?

Alcohol and or drug abuse.  Any continuation of bad habits.

134. To what extent do the activities you pursue inside the prison environment contribute to your strengths and opportunities?

I only participate in activities that will encourage and further my plans and ideas for the future.

135. What steps do you deliberately take to minimize your exposure to weaknesses and threats?

I stay away from all negativity, speech, actions.  Anything that I used to do as far as pleasing the body, medication I refrain from.  I even stay away from the people that are involved with these things.  It’s all about making better decisions and learning from past mistakes.

136. Using the SWOT-assessment technique, how would you assess your decision-making process prior to imprisonment?

It was terrible.  I didn’t live with a purpose.  I was out there doing whatever I wanted to do.  I was all about myself, completely selfish.  I thought I had everything figured out.  But now I understand life and life’s laws.  My best thinking got me here, now my new way of thinking will keep me out of here.  I had to come here to get what I got.  I would have never learned these things in the streets.

137. In what ways can the SWAT-assessment technique guide your decisions as you prepare for success upon release?

When you know better you should do better, make better decisions.  I have a duty and responsibility to conduct myself totally different in light of the knowledge I’ve acquired.  I have boundaries and I can’t just do anything anymore.  Now I’m thinking things all the way through to the end.

138. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant one: low-risk/high-reward?

Education, preparation and planning with a definite purpose.

139. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant two: high-reward/high-risk?

Nothing really.

140. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant three: low-risk/low-reward?

Wasting time, watching T.V. all day, idle talk.

141. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant four: high-risk/low-reward?

Foolishness, like using and abusing drugs.

142. To what extent do your consider risk-reward analysis when assessing activities, interactions, or time allocation in prison?

Now that I am learning to see things in their proper perspective, I must honestly asses my activities and interactions, thinking things through all the way to the end.  When an individual is assessing their decisions soundly, they make all of their decisions with their ending in mind.  From this point further, all of my decisions are being made based upon where I see myself tomorrow and the next day and on and on.  The right decisions must be made each day.  I know I don’t want to end up in prison again, so my decisions will be based on this.  My interactions will be with individuals who are truly showing that they have earned their status in life.

 143 What type of self-improvement programs would enhance an individual’s prospects for success upon release?

A program that deals with the renewing or changing of the mind and changing habits that are detrimental to success.  We are reflections of our minds and how we see the world.

144. What thoughts have you given to the type of employment you want to pursue upon release?

Much thought.  I will initially work for someone but ultimately I aspire to become my own boss with my own business.

145. Define the qualifications necessary for the type of job you want to pursue?

A person should have a desire to work hard, which I have.  They should also understand the theory of how electricity/electronics work.  A person should be able to work well in groups or as an individual.  Another skill I posses.  A winner’s attitude which I definitely have.

146. How do your self-improvement programs prepare you for the type of job you want to pursue?

Once I’ve mastered self, there aren’t any obstacles that I cannot overcome.  They teach me the laws and principles of success.  They provide discipline and a understanding of life and how I relates myself to the world and how I relate to people.  They provide a foundation, a solid foundation that I can build upon.

147. What types of self-improvement programs can you pursue independently that will enhance your prospects as a candidate for employment upon release?

I read about people who have experienced and who still lead successful lives.  I see that all of these people possess the same characteristics and principles although they may be expressed in different words.

148. In what ways do academic credentials influence an individual’s candidacy for employment?

You will be paid for what you know and credentials verify that you know what you know.

149. How do prospective employers gauge the value of academic credentials?

They like to see credentials.  I think they provide an employer with a certain sense of security and trust in an individual.

150. What types of self-improvement steps trump academic credentials?

Intangibles, such as having a positive attitude.  Being a hard worker, honesty, dependability and good communication skills.

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