Julius Lige/ Class 5: Self-Improvement Training
by Julius Lige
126. When you assess your environment, what opportunities for self-improvement can you create or seize?
My environment offers many opportunities for self improvement. I’m doing time in a federal prison camp, there’re individuals from all professional backgrounds confined at this prison camp. Opportunities come to those who have the network skills to capitalize on unlimited amounts of valuable information circulating throughout the camp.
127. What is your interpretation on the value of self-imposed structure of free time?
Individuals who utilize free time to build on their skills, character and health create structure for themselves, which is valuable when pursuing opportunities. It’s important to use your free time to build your brand, the impact it will have on your life will be priceless.
128. What relationship do your daily activities have to the vision you have for your life upon release?
My daily activities has a direct connection to the vision I have for my life upon release. Through my daily studies, and research on career opportunities, I establish the connection with the vision I have for my future. Also my daily fitness activities provide good health and a nice physique which relate to the longevity I envision for my life. My daily connection with G-d through prayer and scripture provide a spiritual foundation on which I plan to expand upon release.
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?
If I were to replicate my activities from yesterday, I would begin with my 5am wakeup, in which I prepare for my 6am prayer and work out. By 7:15am I’m done with the workout, I then eat breakfast while watching a half hour of CNN news. After speaking with my wife on the phone at 8am, I spend 45 minutes answering questions out of the SAG workbook. At 9:15am, I’m back on the yard doing a cardio workout. After lunch, I do some research and take notes for my future business plans. I then watch an hour of NFL live on ESPN, followed by reading a few chapters out of Donald Trump’s book, THINK BIG.
130. What activities within the prison environment can you pursue that will enhance your strengths?
All the activities I pursue daily while in prison will enhance my strength. My experiences through the years have strengthened me, learning from different individuals I’ve met over the years. Also while utilizing the resources within the prison environment, I have increased my knowledge through education, developing communication skills and advancing my physical fitness.
131. What activities within the prison environment would you categorize as a weakness?
I would categorize excessive television viewing, table games and hanging with crowds as a weakness. An individual must utilize his time wisely, creating a daily program that will help build his skills.
132. What activities within the prison environment would you perceive as offering opportunities?
I would view the education programs they offer here as an offered opportunity. Although education programs are limited to a junior college level, they still allow you to remain active in building your skills through college courses. Also, this environment allows you to focus on fitness conditioning, which improves the body, allowing you to improve your self presentation and good health.
133. What activities within the prison environment do you perceive as threatening your prospects for success upon release?
There are many activities within a prison environment that I perceive to threaten my success. I choose not to allow myself to fall victim to the temptations of hustling, drug/alcohol use, and excessive playing of table games. As a prisoner who is focused on success, I must not have any involvement in negative activities.
134. To what extent do the activities you pursue inside the prison environment contribute to your strengths and opportunities?
The activities I pursue in the prison environment contribute to my strengths and opportunities in many ways. My daily activities play a key role in preparing me for the many challenges I will face upon my release. My skill development will open new opportunities, creating personal growth as I begin a new chapter in my life.
135. What steps do you deliberately take to minimize your exposure to weaknesses and threats?
My daily activities require me to focus on my goals. Therefore my exposure to weakness and threats are minimized due to the time I spend working towards creating opportunities upon release.
136. Using the SWOT-assessment technique, how would you assess your decision-making process prior to imprisonment?
Prior to my imprisonment, I would assess my decision making as being reckless. I was living my life without positive values, compromising family to earn money hustling. With money and my social life being top priority, it caused me to make decisions based upon short term success and not life long longevity.
137. In what ways can the SWAT-assessment technique guide your decisions as you prepare for success upon release?
The SWAT technique keeps an individual focused, emphasizing on preparation for the challenges that await him upon release. An individual must not allow the prison environment to influence his decision making. He must utilize positive resources in the prison environment that create opportunities.
138. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant one: low-risk/high-reward?
Activities that fall into quadrant one: low risk/high rewards, include exercise, reading, participation in educational programs and networking. It’s important that a prisoner includes activities that enhance their skillset into their daily schedule.
139. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant two: high-reward/high-risk?
Individuals who choose o engage in activities such as hustling, fall into quadrant two. Some prisoners are so removed from society with limited family support, they choose to generate resources by hustling, which is high risk/high reward.
140. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant three: low-risk/low-reward?
Any activities an individual participates in that does not improve their lives, falls into quadrant four. Individuals must balance their recreation time, with the necessary time needed to focus on building skills.
141. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant four: high-risk/low-reward?
High risk/low reward refers to individuals who view institution property as their personal possessions. Controlling televisions, table seating and table games – those are the activities that fall into quadrant three.
142. To what extent do your consider risk-reward analysis when assessing activities, interactions, or time allocation in prison?
Whether or not I’m in prison or at home with my family, I understand the importance of utilizing my time wisely. Therefore, I have high consideration of risk-reward analysis when assessing activities, and time allocation in prison.
143 What type of self-improvement programs would enhance an individual’s prospects for success upon release?
Education programs, such as college courses, vocational classes, business study groups are all self improving which can enhance an individual’s prospects for success upon release.
144. What thoughts have you given to the type of employment you want to pursue upon release?
Although my ultimate goal is to establish a business, I understand initially while living in transitional housing I must pursue some sort of employment. Fitness training and local truck driving are two considerable thoughts I have given to the type of employment I want to pursue upon release.
145. Define the qualifications necessary for the type of job you want to pursue?
The qualifications that are necessary for fitness training begin wih completing the personal training certification course. Also you must develop a skillset that will allow you to apply the fitness knowledge to a training session. Local truck driving begins with completing the 8 week CDL truck driving course. Truck driving is a felony-friendly industry, therefore the opportunities for those being released from prison are promising.
146. How do your self-improvement programs prepare you for the type of job you want to pursue?
My daily activities prepare me for the type of job I want to pursue mainly because of the time and effort I invest in self-improvement programs. I’m required to be disciplined, determined and accountable – values that I will apply towards my job upon release.
147. What types of self-improvement programs can you pursue independently that will enhance your prospects as a candidate for employment upon release?
I consider the college courses offered here at the camp to be a great self-improvement program. Earning academic credentials will enhance employment opportunities. Also an individual must be clear on what industry he’s going to pursue, find a program or study group in which he can expand his on his knowledge of that particular industry.
148. In what ways do academic credentials influence an individual’s candidacy for employment?
Academic credentials play a key role for individuals seeking employment. Opportunities are offered to those with higher levels of education, making it difficult for those with a lower level of education. Today’s job market is very competitive. Employers evaluate prospective employees based on their skills and academic credentials.
149. How do prospective employers gauge the value of academic credentials?
From my personal experience in the job market, employers gauge the value of academic credentials based upon the position they’re seeking to fill. Service and labor positions usually are gauged by experience. Corporate office and medical positions place a high value on academic credentials.
150. What types of self-improvement steps trump academic credentials?
Academic credentials are a very important step towards self-improvement, but an individual must first focus on improvement in areas such as discipline, honesty, and integrity, knowing that choosing to live a value based life enhances their chances for success.