Journal Entry: Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Journal Entry

The Power of Resilience: From Adversity to Triumph

After a jury convicted me of all counts, I remember sitting in a solitary cell of the Pierce County Jail, wondering what would come next. I hated being in prison. I’d already been confined in a Special Housing Unit for about a year. With the conviction, I faced a life sentence. I wondered what would come.

In my book, Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-year Sentence, I wrote about all the challenges along the journey. Thankfully, leaders helped me carve out a pathway that would help me restore confidence. Anyone who chooses can learn the step-by-step approach by enrolling in our self-directed course: Preparing for Success after Prison. It has the sentry code PSAP, and your reentry affairs coordinator should be able to help you find it. Or reach out to Prison Professors to get your personal workbook.

That course shows that in the tapestry of human history, stories of resilience have been woven with threads of determination, courage, and unwavering spirit. From the echoing chambers of prison cells to the towering heights of corporate success, the journey of overcoming adversity remains a testament to the indomitable human spirit. It’s not the challenges we face, but how we rise above them, that defines our legacy.

The Phoenix Principle

Much like the mythical Phoenix that rises from its ashes, every individual has the innate power to transform challenges into opportunities. This principle is not just about recovery; it’s about rebirth, rejuvenation, and redefining oneself in the face of adversity.

Icons of Resilience

  1. Frida Kahlo: Despite enduring physical pain and emotional turmoil throughout her life, Frida channeled her experiences into art, creating masterpieces that resonate with passion and pain. Her paintings are a vivid testament to her resilience and her ability to transform suffering into creativity.
  2. Stephen Hawking: Diagnosed with a debilitating motor neuron disease, Hawking defied all odds to become one of the most influential physicists of our time. His groundbreaking work in cosmology, paired with his determination to communicate complex scientific concepts to the masses, showcases the power of the human spirit.
  3. Maya Angelou: From the hardships of a traumatic childhood, Angelou rose to become a beacon of hope, using her voice to inspire through literature, poetry, and activism. Her life story reminds us that no matter how dark the night, dawn will always break.

The Straight A Guide in Action

The Straight A Guide, a framework that has been a beacon for many navigating the tumultuous waters of adversity, mirrors the journeys of these icons. It’s a testament to the fact that the principles of success are universal:

  • Attitude: Embrace challenges with a positive mindset.
  • Aspiration: Dream big, setting clear and achievable goals.
  • Action: Take proactive steps towards your aspirations.
  • Accountability: Own your journey, celebrating successes and learning from setbacks.
  • Awareness: Stay informed and be receptive to change.
  • Authenticity: Be true to yourself, valuing your unique experiences and perspectives.
  • Achievement: Celebrate every milestone, no matter how small.
  • Appreciation: Value the journey, cherishing every experience and lesson along the way.

Your Path to Resilience

Every individual has a unique story, filled with challenges and triumphs. Embracing the Straight A Guide’s principles can be the compass that guides you through the maze of adversity to the pinnacle of success. Remember, resilience is not just about weathering the storm; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

I invite you to reflect on your journey, drawing inspiration from the icons of resilience and the principles of the Straight A Guide. Together, let’s redefine the narrative of adversity, transforming challenges into stepping stones towards a brighter, more triumphant future.

And if you’d like to participate in this personal-development program, send an invite to If your prison doesn’t offer the courses, we’ll do our best to find resources for you. No one should work harder than you to prepare for success.

Michael Santos,
Founder of Prison Professors Talent