Attitude is Everything

It has now been 14 days since I surrendered. I have come in contact with people from all walks of life. I have been fortunate to have met a few other inmates, that I have identified with, as they too have families with young children. Their advice has been invaluable, providing tips on how to overcome this challenge as a family.

With the short time I have been here, I have realized that everyone here is sizing me up. Some people choose to evaluate by race, while others judge by backgrounds, or even by the type of crimes they committed that resulted in incarceration. But there is one common thread that every single person looks for when evaluating me, and that is my attitude.

In my past life, I lived by the mantra that attitude was everything. And I still believe that is still the case. I was always told my positive attitude was contagious. That may be one of the few things I actually did right. Even if there are hundreds of people here making judgments about me based on my attitude, it is no different than on the outside. In fact, each of you probably come in contact with at least 100 new people each day that have the opportunity to assess your attitude.

There is no question, that my emotions fluctuate, being isolated from my family. But for me, I know that this is my new reality for a little while. I have the choice to be a victim of the situation, or I can take control of my own destiny. For me, I choose being in control, and I know the single most important trait in acheiving that goal is my attitude. Despite the emotions and hurdles here, my positive attitude has stayed constant since the day I arrived.

Yesterday was an eye opening day for me. A good friend here told me more details about his story. He has already served 3 years of his 10 year sentence. He said “Neal, in the 3 years I have been here, I have never seen a person with a more positive attitude come through here.” Separately that day, another inmate pulled me aside in the hallway and said, “Bud, if you keep up that super positive attitude of yours, these years are going to fly by for you and your family.” And lastly, I shared with my closest friend here, some of the things I plan to achieve while here, to further my goal to atone with society and redeem myself to my family. He said at the end of the conversation, “Most of the people here, live their life with the glass half empty and without hope. The remaining few are more positive with the glass half full. But Neal, for you, the glass is overflowing.”

Overflowing is the perfect word. It is a reflection of my attitude. My attitude will single handedly determine my success here. It is my attitude that will help endure this journey, all me to evolve into the man I want to be, and assure that I will reach my goal of emerging from this place as a contributor to society.


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