Enabling Reinvention

The Realm of Execution

By Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – The Prison Scholar Fund

The realm of execution is the situation where knowledge,  preparation, and strength of will are executed through definitive actions and generate results. It is very important that as people prepare for careers or business entry they keep there eye on the ball. The realm of execution is that ball. Forward thinking means that you’re not only developing competencies, you’re actively contemplating their execution and maybe even getting involved through internships, volunteer work, or mock execution. Many people are great in school, get excellent grades, and then go to apply what they’ve learned in the real world and for some reason their results are subpar. The reason for this is a lack of focus on the realm of execution and a concurrent lack of energy directed at succeeding once you’re there. Putting a name on it that stands out gives you a mental mechanism to think about it more often, and act in accordance with the need for your actual definitive actions to generate the type of superior results that equals success.

One of the key factors in the realm of execution that individuals must learn to deal with is the pressure of their actions having real results. In some instances anxiety gets to them and that makes things even harder. In order to prepare for the realm of execution you must actually focus on it and not just getting good grades. Another key factor that hurts once in the realm of execution is cheating to earn credentials because in the realm of execution empty credentials and un-earned grades are sniffed out rather quickly by knowledgeable professionals. That means if you’ve cheated your to straight A’s and it affords you a job, career, or even an advanced hobby opportunity that the further up the chain you move while cheating and not allowing yourself to learn, the more it will affect your chances of superior execution in events and situations when it really counts because you may not even understand the material that you were supposed to learn in preparation for the future which is always now in the realm of execution.

Your preparation for your goals must be ongoing, constantly advancing, and continuously improving. In the manufacturing industry many people often ask why the Japanese are such great forces. One of the reasons is because an American statistician, W. Edwards Deming, created a system called continuous improvement. It’s a major factor for quality control (I am a certified quality control inspector among other things) and it is amazing how America didn’t listen to Deming until the 1980s when the Japanese made huge strides in manufacturing utilizing continuous improvement. You don’t have to use his exact system, which I have actually utilized at various times, but you must strive to continuously improve. Getting better and taking in every advantage you can in the discipline(s) you aspire to excel in is a must if you’re aiming for high achievement in the realm of execution when the actions are live and the results actually count. Referring to it as the realm of execution is a must if you want to put a constant reminder in your mind of what you are striving to achieve, what your education  and/or training should mean to you, and what you want to execute to amazement when the time comes. Observe the realm of execution as a tangible part of your life because one day it will be. As you contemplate it with excitement and vigor prepare for it the same way.

Remember: in the realm of execution superior preparation drives superior results. Prepare wisely. Execute brilliantly.

The Inspiration Circle

by Robert Wood, Social Media Adviser – Prison Scholar Fund

The inspiration circle is your circle of special people that along with knowledge, skill, and your own self motivation, create a synergistic brand of inspiration which helps motivate and propel you to realize your dreams. The circle can include your wife, your husband, your kids, friends, other family, or co-workers. It could even be someone you don’t know personally know whose words and actions inspire you. All that matters is that they are people close enough to you in inspirational influence to be  difference makers for you. Inspiration and motivation come from many places. At critical times exceptional people will provide those elements for you with just an amazing smile. I have someone very special who does that for me. These are the people included in your inspiration circle. Of course there are other elements along with great people which can serve as inspiration.

Inspiration can come from beauty. The beauty of people as well as the beauty of nature and other things. It’s very important to surround ourselves with the things we can merely look at and be inspired -that special smile from that special someone can definitely be one of those things- In addition to that we should read, watch, and listen to inspiring material frequently. It is so important to be motivated to succeed and inspired to endure the hard work and difficulties that your endeavor(s) of choice may Intel. Creating a human inspiration circle with defined purpose and keeping it free of negativity allows you to discuss extraordinary matters with exceptionally inspiring and motivational people. That will keep your drive for success in your chosen goals in tact.

Even when those closest to you are not the ones providing inspiration you need you can acquire it. Everyone may not be on board with some of things you aspire to and that means you must form a new inspiration circle as you pursue issues where you current one doesn’t cover it. That doesn’t mean giving up those friends or associate due to deficient support. That simply means finding others who are like minded and allowing them to provide additional motivation in these particular instances. With your significant other and/or your closest friends if you are not being provided inspiration in 80% or more of your endeavors you may want to re-think your situation or re-evaluate those relationships. With family you must just accept it and press on with your other circle(s) of inspiration.

No matter what you do, surround yourself with motivated people, people who inspire you, and those who support you. Create your own special circle of inspiration for important ventures and don’t allow anyone to rain on your parade. Give yourself permission to be inspired, and then find others who will concurrently inspire you. Definitive actions accomplish and create great things. Inspired definitive actions accomplish and create amazing things. Be inspired.

Getting It Done

by Robert Wood, Senior Social Media Advisor – Prison Scholar Fund

A huge part of being successful in any endeavor is having a get it done attitude. Many dreams are thought up, talked about, and even small inconsistent actions are taken in pursuit of them. In most cases those halfhearted efforts come up fruitless. We all know people who have great ideas they talk about, maybe even for years, and never act upon them. In the instances when they see someone else do what they only talked about they say, “Wow, somebody stole idea.” I say, “Whoa, somebody else had the same idea, plus a get it done attitude”. In order to get it done, whatever it may be, you must possess or gain the necessary knowledge and skills, and then prioritize, plan, and pursue consistently. The key to getting things done is acting as quickly and concisely as possible on the small things and breaking the big things down into “bite sized” increments. In order to do this properly you must first prioritize your approach.

In any endeavor it’s important to understand the priority level you will ascribe to each objective necessary to meet your overarching goal. In order to do this it’s best to break a big goal (macro goal) into smaller goals (micro goals) and prioritize from there. In addition to keeping you overwhelmed it allows you tackle priorities that lead to incremental successes and actually motivate you. Winning is excellent motivation. With your goals and objectives prioritized you can now begin to formulate an effective plan.

In the planning phase of your endeavor you must factor in room for contingencies. You must also make your plan realistic enough that you can follow it without being overwhelmed. Anything that will come up which you can do in 15 minutes or less; plan on taking care of it as you go, but do be sure to factor it into the overall plan as needed. Your plan must be written out for maximum effectiveness and be flexible enough to adjust or adapt as needed and keep moving forward. Begin your plan by envisioning success and thinking backward to what it will take the accomplish. Next take all the big steps in the plan and break them down into smaller chunks needed to accomplish the bigger steps. Once a cohesive plan is in place remember it can be adjusted as needed for any appropriate reason. Now you’re ready for the good part – action.

At this point you are past lights and camera (as they say in the movie business) it’s time for action. You’ve planned, you’re ready, and now with your getting it done attitude you begin the execution of your plan. In taking action you should always give yourself the reward of consulting your plan and take pride in its accomplishment. Do easy thing quickly and move with purpose. The fact that you’ve broken your plan into bite sized chunks allows you to continue moving closer to your goal by continuous intelligent action in pursuit of it. The can do attitude you have is a result of excellent planning. If for some reason the plan isn’t working review it, re-do it, and set back to it. To make that plainer: do not give up; review your plan, make the necessary adjustments, and get right back in action. This is a getting it done attitude.

Now you understand what it takes to get things done. Dream big and make it actually happen. Prioritize, plan and pursue. When the plan isn’t working review it, re-do it, and get back to it. That’s a get it done attitude. That’s what it takes to get things done.

Please take the initiative to donate to the Prison Scholar Fund today and help those incarcerated scholars looking to change their lives get it done. Your support is appreciated.

Social Media Diligence

By Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – The Prison Scholar Fund

In today’s world, the availability of information and the rate at which it is disseminated, especially via social media, make it imperative that we are increasingly cautious about our sources of information. We must be certain to qualify important information though due diligence as necessary. For academic institutions or trade schools you can simply check their credentials online to be certain they are properly accredited. However, in checking the credibility of social media posts we must understand the motivation and credibility of those posts. I recommend a three pronged approach which includes the following factors: Purpose, motivation (including ulterior motives), and qualification(s). Since the information you’re checking out should serve a purpose for you as well as the individual(s) or organization posting I’ll begin there.

The purpose of any information is generally to inform, persuade, entertain, or a hybrid among those. The purpose of social media posts is important because it helps create context for that information. You can usually look at the mission statement of an organization to find out what their purpose is and how their postings relate to it. You can also view some of their other articles or posts to see the type of material they usually put forth and if includes a common theme which supports, or runs counter to, their mission statement or stated purpose. Looking at industry or trade  gives you a much clearer picture of the purpose an individual or organization has. Purpose is really important in evaluation of information because beyond the greater ostensible purpose, secondary purpose may drive biases. Truthful information which promotes a purpose is fine, but just like at some used car lots you must beware of omitted information which might be important and/or information which is given out of context or even falsified. Biases may motivate the information being posted and that can easily lead to inaccurate or gravely distorted information being put into circulation.

By understating the person(s) or organization providing the information you can better understand their motive(s) for providing it. It also becomes easier for you to spot potentials for biases or ulterior motives. A good example of this is that if you watch Fox News you can expect a conservative bias. Conversely, if you watch MSNBC you can expect liberal/progressive bias. Their motives are to report the news. Their secondary, or ulterior motives are to promote conservative ideology (Fox News) and liberal/progressive (MSNBC). If you’re watching sports and a player is speaking about the game they will usually lean towards their own team. Some things you can look at for signals of possible bias include sponsors, business affiliations, social circles, religious beliefs and political beliefs or affiliations. What you and to do is understand how those thing relate to the subject matter being posted about. Having a bias doesn’t necessarily mean that a person or organization will post inaccurate information. It only means that you may want to look deeper into the information before considering it credible. With all of the due diligence in regards to purpose or bias you must also be sure the person(s) or organization providing the information or opinion is qualified to do so.

Unfortunately, in some instances, you may find out that there are people or even organizations giving advice they are not qualified to give. Even the opinions of some individuals may be based on unsubstantiated bodies of knowledge. It’s very important to make sure our sources of information at least meet a minimum threshold of qualification to be genuine sources of valid information. In order to do that, you start by looking at the individual or entity online. If they have credentials listed, check the origin of those credentials to be certain they are genuine, then check to be certain the accrediting body is qualified to do so. For business, you can also check the Better Business Bureau and/or the local Chamber of Commerce. Look at the Facebook page and other social media to see who individuals are plugged into and take any biases that may be indicated by that information into consideration. Although this level of diligence is not necessary in every case, when it is, due diligence must be applied. It can make a huge difference. Especially in cases which the information may be used for important decision making or worldview shaping.

Because accurate information is so important, qualifying sources by checking their purposes, motivations, and qualifications is imperative. In this age of hyper-availability of information, especially via social media, we can’t afford  to grant credibility without accountability. Many important factors shape our worldviews. Humankind has the unique opportunity to actually shape our world to a greater extent than any other species on Earth. That means seeing the world accurately via a well informed worldview is critically important. As social media and modern technology continue to make information increasingly pervasive, the need for due diligence in utilizing that information increases. Knowledge and information are major drivers of human progress. Accuracy and due diligence are their guardians.

Robert Wood, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter @prisonscholars under the hashtag #RLW_PSF. He can be reached via any of our social media outlets or emailed at the following address: rlw@prisonscholars.org.

If you’d like to hear more from PSF, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, where Robert is a valued contributor. Just submit your name and email address. If you’d like to get involved with the PSF in a volunteer capacity, please email us volunteer@prisonscholars.org.

Opportunity Permission

by Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – The Prison Scholar Fund

Opportunity permission is giving yourself permission to seek, explore, and capitalize on new opportunities with a success mindset. This is a very important thing. Many people allow themselves to fail or not even try at times because the people they feel are important to them are not buying in. In these instances you run the risk of missing out on many important difference-making opportunities by tying “permission” to seek, explore, and engage new opportunities to the thoughts and approval of others. No matter how close they are to you, you must be the driving force behind you own success, even if that means going it alone, and know that it definitely means making your own success related decisions. It’s one thing if someone is trying to talk you out of something illegal or unethical, and quite another when you refuse to move on an opportunity that’s interesting, appealing, and/or valuable to you just because certain people won’t buy in or put their full support behind you. In that case you are seeking unnecessary opportunity permission, especially since you have the final word on how you approach opportunity. At times you must go it alone with the vision you have created and make things happen through thorough research, meticulous planning, and invigorated pursuit of the opportunities important to you. In these instances it is important that you feel free to grant yourself the permission necessary to move forward at every viable point and pursue success in your venture(s) of choice.

How is that done?

The answer to this is very simple. It begins with opportunity preparation. As you think of the things you would like to do or achieve you must also analyze the preparation necessary to succeed in those endeavors. As you prepare you must take the time to expand your vision and search for opportunity in the places where you have the greatest chances of immediate success even as you elevate your related skill set. You must put the full strength of your will behind your quest for opportunity awareness and go one step further by engaging in well focused opportunity creation activities. This means actively seeking through volunteer work, and the opportunity for internships or just to help others in general, the chance to exercise the competencies you are developing as you develop them. It may even mean mocking execution to sharpen your tools for when the actions are live.  It also means involving yourself in activities you are passionate about so that the passion of your craft shines through as genuine and infectious which will lead others to offer or refer opportunities to you. In the long run however, as you prepare for opportunity it must be driven intrinsically (from within yourself) and your self motivation must be unshakeable in order to avoid the mistake of letting others dictate the opportunities you will seek, create, or engage in the pursuit of.

During the pursuit of opportunity do not begrudge your doubters or detractors. Allow their doubt and negativity serve only as fuel for your fervent motivation and burning desire to succeed. I don’t mean succeed to prove them wrong. I mean succeed to prove to yourself that your permission is the one and only permission necessary for opportunity pursuit and it is valid. Even in temporary failure (because failure is only temporary if you’re motivated and determined) if you learn and are not deterred from your goal(s) you will find this to be true. While capitalizing on new opportunities you must first earn from your actions, and then grant yourself, the right to succeed. Remember permission to succeed is not given by someone else. It is self granted by have a success mindset and taking constant and consistent actions conducive to success. When giving yourself permission to succeed your definitive actions will speak much louder than anyone’s words. The right to success is granted to you by you. Capitalize on important opportunities, do it passionately with a success mindset, and let’s win.

Robert Wood, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter @prisonscholars under the hashtag #RLW_PSF. He can be reached via any of our social media outlets or emailed at the following address: rlw@prisonscholars.org.

If you’d like to hear more from PSF, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, where Robert is a valued contributor. Just submit your name and email address. If you’d like to get involved with the PSF in a volunteer capacity, please email us volunteer@prisonscholars.org.

Wired To Win

by Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – Prison Scholar Fund

Innately, human beings thrive to succeed at everything we do. Unlike animals, mere survival is not enough for us and competitiveness is a part of our psyche whether it’s collective or individual success which we’re pursuing. In collectivist societies, like China, everything is aimed at the good of society as a whole. In individualist societies, like the U.S., we compete more often on the individual level. However, in both cases human beings are wired to win. In some situations we must define winning more clearly so that we understand what a win actually entails. This is the subject I will discuss now. In order to be wired to win you need a definitive goal, knowledge of the things necessary to realize that goal, and the will to press on despite obstacles, setbacks, and rejections. You were born wired to win. If for some reason that wiring has been compromised don’t worry; you can re-wire yourself and start winning now.

In the process of re-wiring yourself to win you must first look at your most important goals, put them in the form of a mission statement, and clearly define them. A good example of this would be someone saying they want to become a dynamic business person. In that situation they must look at the goals attached to accomplishing this master goal and begin to quantify and create timelines for those accomplishments. A good example of that for a business person would be as follows: making your supporting goals things such as earning a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration, or an MBA within the next five years, and getting a job that allows you to learn more about business within the next six months or getting involved in network marketing within the next ninety days so you can learn about business hands on. Even in this example someone who is truly wired to win may aspire to all three goals because winning is an undertaking which takes effort, will, and dedication. Once you create your goals and begin to actively pursue them, you must do so with rigor and constantly engage in self-talk (where you discuss mentally or even verbally in the mirror with yourself what you are doing and why). This is a great opportunity for re-wiring the positive choices necessary to succeed. At this time positive affirmations should be plentiful and any mistakes should be evaluated and reconciled.

If for some reason you have been told that winning isn’t important please can that notion. Winning is very important and it’s important to allow yourself to define what winning is. Remember, you can win by trying if that is the way you define winning, but someone who is now wired to win will not allow them self to define anything less than a best effort to constitute a win. In the process of best efforts admittedly, you will have some failures and losses along the way, you must at some point define winning as actual victory and rigorously pursue it. In this case the strength of your will and your hunger for success will be two very important elements. Your goal must be pursued relentlessly and any impediments or setbacks must serve only as opportunities to learn and strengthen your will to win. Remember, you can win in increments. That is to say you can win by successfully accomplishing incremental goals which are tied to your master goal(s). This is how you start winning right now. The totality of your incremental goals should have the aggregate effect of accomplishing your master goal and that will be the big win you have now re-wired yourself for. You were born to win. That is a part of the human DNA. Please re-wire yourself and let’s win. After all, you are innately wired to win.

Robert Wood, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter, @prisonscholars, account under the hashtag #RLW_PSF. He can be reached via any of our social media outlets or emailed at the following address: rlw@prisonscholars.org.

If you’d like to hear more from Robert, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, where he is a valued contributor. Just submit your name and email address. If you’d like to get involved with the PSF in a volunteer capacity, please email us volunteer@prisonscholars.org.

The Answer to the Recidivism Problem

by Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – Prison Scholar Fund

Recidivism is the act of returning to incarceration for the perpetuation of criminal acts. Those acts are usually done in pursuit of monetary gain or due to an abundance of time and negative energy which in many instances leads to negative thoughts and actions that cross into the realm of criminal activity.

Is there way to avoid recidivism?

The short simple answer is no. However, as is the case with cancer or other treatable illnesses this is a societal ill which can be effectively controlled with the proper treatment. The correct prescription in this case is education, opportunity, and the motivation of becoming a viable and contributory part of a society which believes you can change and offers you the chance to do so. Only by embracing the chance to educate America’s incarcerated population and put them in a situation to gain job and/or career skills which lead to the opportunity to participate fully in society  can America expect to see the recidivism rates decrease on a national basis.

Education is the first test. The fact that they gravitate towards it tells you those individuals want to learn and are willing to make the effort to do so. As a society we have a prima facie moral obligation to constantly upgrade humankind and that includes the incarcerated population. Recidivism reduction is crime reduction. Recidivism reduction is broken family reduction. Recidivism reduction is poverty reduction. Recidivism reduction is the reduction of multiple societal ills all at once and it’s a great goal which includes honoring many other great goals at the same time.

At this point in time America has an opportunity to decrease these overbearing societal ills through the education and training of America’s incarcerated population. As legislation is debated to address these urgent issues it is imperative that we not let the inaction represented by debate in lieu of action become our own inaction. Please assist in the reduction of recidivism through involvement, via funding or volunteer services, to educate America’s incarcerated population. To get involved and find out what you can do to help, visit us at prisonscholars.org.

Thank you.

Robert Wood, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter @prisonscholars under the hashtag #RLW_PSF. He can be reached via any of our social media outlets or emailed at the following address: rlw@prisonscholars.org.

If you’d like to hear more from PSF, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, where Robert is a valued contributor. Just submit your name and email address. If you’d like to get involved with the PSF in a volunteer capacity, please email us volunteer@prisonscholars.org.

Community, Criminal Justice, and Corrections Education

By Johnathan Bolden, Social Media Advisor – Prison Scholar Fund

It is common for incarcerated individuals to view corrections education with suspicion, or even to remain hostile to its positive influences. For some of us, school has been a source of negativity, where detentions and suspensions replaced common sense and counseling, and law enforcement became an ever increasing presence on campus. Overcrowded classrooms and overworked teachers only exacerbated a situation stressed for relief and resources. Given such circumstances, one doesn’t need to stretch reason to understand why some who find themselves behind bars are reluctant to embrace education as a pathway to positive change.

This sentiment underscores the “school to prison pipeline” thesis that informs many criminological studies of today. Policies and practices that criminalize and overpolice schoolchildren, who in many cases come from disadvantaged households and communities, only leads to these same children filling our prisons as young adults. These policies and practices drive a reinforcing cycle in which part of the solution (education) to the problem (crime, recidivism, social ills, etc.) is viewed as a problem by those with criminal inclinations, by those who need education the most.

Not surprisingly, calling on the criminal justice system to address issues traditionally handled by family and teachers has had disastrous consequences for our communities.

But every challenge presents within it the opportunity to overcome it. And in terms of reducing recidivism and improving community safety (and morale), corrections education has been shown to meet that challenge.

As an incarcerated individual, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of education, particularly postsecondary education, within the corrections environment. Corrections education bridges that gulf between the mainstream and the margins of our society. It decreases the alienation and distrust that the incarcerated hold towards society’s authority and institutions by introducing them to the world of ideas and possibilities. There is no other substitute for the positive indoctrination in the socially-accepted beliefs and values of our society that education fosters.

Personally, attaining my AA degree was a bittersweet experience. Up until that point in my life, I was a failure by the most forgiving of standards, and it took me coming to prison to accomplish something meaningful. It wasn’t that postsecondary education deposited within me historical facts, developed my math skills, and (poof!) I was then changed for the better. No, it was a difficult process of self-discovery that ultimately made me feel connected to society as I understood my place and purpose in it.

To this point, personal accountability and personal responsibility are values that can only be instilled through either demonstration or education. And while myself and others, who have made similar changes, model the benefits of corrections education through mentorship, the reality is the corrections environment is a breeding ground of criminality. We need strong, well-adapted corrections education programs to empower, encourage, and inspire incarcerated individuals to become more than the sum of their bad choices, more than the product of their troubled circumstances.

As a society, when we discuss community safety and criminal justice, it is a discussion of our morals and values. Thus, our corrections institutions should correct and our criminal justice system should produce justice. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a profound thinker and writer of Russian literature, believed that the “degree of civilization within a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” I would hope that here in the United States we could do better and see the promise of our ideals reflected in those individuals who leave prison.

Note from the author: This post isn’t meant to discredit or malign Washington State’s educational system or its criminal justice system. Social dynamics are complex, and therefore require an equally sophisticated approach to understanding them. Part of this approach involves honest and open discussions about the issues that concern us all.

Johnathan Bolden, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter @prisonscholars under the hashtag #JKB_PSF.

If you’d like to hear more from PSF, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, where Johnathan is a valued contributor. Just submit your name and email address. If you’d like to get involved with the PSF in a volunteer capacity, please email us volunteer@prisonscholars.org.

Preparation for Success

By Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – Prison Scholar Fund

The essence of a viable plan for success upon reentering society is the clear articulation of your strategic intent not only within your mind, but in writing as well, an understanding of what needs to be done to realize the execution of your plan, and the will to execute that plan to completion regardless of the obstacles and distractions that you most certainly will face with the passing of time. The earlier within the available timeframe that you make these decisions, the more time you have to gain the knowledge and capabilities necessary for superior execution of your success strategy. An increase in, or introduction to, knowledge related to your strategic intent is a must. The three things I would like to briefly address regarding the execution of your strategic plan for success are knowledge, execution, and strength of will.

Knowledge will definitely be a factor in any endeavor you choose to undertake, and it is imperative to your success that you obtain the appropriate knowledge to accomplish the things necessary to fulfill your goals. The best place to begin looking is at school programs, whether they are G.E.D., high school equivalency, or college programs. The quicker you get started with your course of study the quicker you can incorporate it into your overall program and begin gaining the knowledge to succeed in your endeavors. Regardless of where you begin, please keep in mind that it’s not how you start but how you finish and that through planning, executing, and adapting as needed you will surprise many people. You may even be one of those surprised by your own accomplishments. It is also an excellent idea to read books and magazines related to your planned endeavors to get deeper knowledge and stay abreast of the cutting edges of technology in the areas of your interest. Cutting edge knowledge is always an advantage.

Once you begin learning the things you need to know to succeed, you will need to execute them as often as possible. In the event you can’t do this in real time please review mentally as often as possible and mock execution of your endeavor and related competencies in as close to real fashion as possible. This will keep you involved in your craft and give you a definitive edge when the execution is real. Also be sure to constantly scan the world, via news and/or newspapers and magazines for changes in technology or regulations related to your craft. As a job seeker or a business person, familiarity with the latest breakthroughs will be an excellent competitive competency and it’s one you should have if at all possible. Even if only through mock execution, familiarity with the newest technology puts you at a very formidable advantage.

What may be the most important element involved in creating and executing a viable success strategy is building a competitive competency called will, which allows you to go further, endure tougher situations, and accomplish more even under very stringent conditions. You must stick to your plan once you undertake it, amend it if conditions require, but never quit. Make up your mind that failure is not an option and the pursuit of your goals will be relentless and only interrupted when it is absolutely critical to do so and then re-engaged immediately upon resolving the critical situation. This is what it takes to create and execute a winning strategy for success, and it is also what it takes to succeed.

Robert Wood, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter @prisonscholars under the hashtag #RLW_PSF. He can be reached via any of our social media outlets or emailed at the following address: rlw@prisonscholars.org.

If you’d like to hear more from PSF, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, where Robert is a valued contributor. Just submit your name and email address. If you’d like to get involved with the PSF in a volunteer capacity, please email us volunteer@prisonscholars.org.

Motivation and Purpose

by Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – Prison Scholar Fund

Motivation is often illusive. In many instances there are reasons that people allow themselves to be discouraged, disappointed, or otherwise distracted from their primary goals. In these instances the motivation to stay focused, keep your eye on the ball, and press on is not strong enough to sustain you in the face of distractions. We must find things that motivates us which are within our own control. We must also keep the reasons for our motivations tied to our well defined purpose(s) and the goals which must be met to accomplish them if we are to succeed and utilize motivation as a competitive driving force in our lives.

In my own life I understand both the need for motivation and the disastrous effects a lack of it can have. Besides purpose, there is nothing more motivating than a winning persona empowered by a winning attitude. This can be cultivated through incremental wins in the learning and goal achievement processes. As you gain and understand new and challenging knowledge and begin to meet incremental goal targets, you begin to understand very clearly that you are a winner with many capabilities and abilities which can be defined as the traits of a winner. Logic tells you these winning traits are found in winners and in the process of developing winning traits you’re developing yourself into a winner. That is a great way to stay motivated to succeed.

In my own life I was at one time sentenced to 25 years and decided to change my life. This was a situation which would require great focus and the constant renewal of self motivation as years and then over decade of incarceration attempted to break my will. I actually watched it break the wills of many other individuals. Having a great purpose – changing my life and helping others – and knowing that I’m a winner allowed me to push on persevere, and continue to strive to better myself. Everyday as I watch the news I see people endure war, grave injury, massive deaths of the people closest to them, and natural disaster. At these times I remind myself how lucky I am and my self motivation and sense of purpose are renewed. For different people there will be different motivational factors and for winners, or winners in training, there will be self motivational factors which you can look to introspectively that will renew the passionate pursuit of your goals, and thus, ultimately of your purpose. Real purpose creates real motivation.

Find your purpose, pursue it passionately, stay motivated, and win.

Robert Wood, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter, @prisonscholars, account under the hashtag #RLW_PSF. He can be reached via any of our social media outlets or emailed at the following address: rlw@prisonscholars.org.

If you’d like to hear more from Robert, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, where he is a valued contributor. Just submit your name and email address. If you’d like to get involved with the PSF in a volunteer capacity, please email us volunteer@prisonscholars.org.