Drawing inspiration from a prison inmate for a disciplined lifestyle

Gary Halbert is one of the most famous and cherished copywriters in the world. Gary is also dead. And his famous letters to his son Bond which Gary wrote during is time in prison are available on the internet for free here.


How did a convict inspire me for a better lifestyle?

Many of you who have been following me for some time know that I am a great fan of military discipline and leadership philosophy as put forth my Jocko Willink

So how come I am now referencing to the materials of a pal who was stuck in prison during some part in his life?

Well, if you are reading this blog it means that you either want to improve your life or make a lot of money – or both. In which case, you should maybe concern yourself with copywriting. 

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the skill of composing words that make people open up their wallets and hand you over their money in exchange for an idea (fundraising), a product (Apple Watch) or a service (accounting). So if you know how to write copy, you can then sell a lot of stuff to a lot of people – which, if you are into making money – is a great thing. Now, for many readers this may sound disgusting. The idea of purely manipulating people so they spend money with you may sound devilish. But here is the thing: we are all sold on many things already. We are sold on our diet. Our leisure activities. How we treat our spouse, how we interact with our children, our neighbour. Those are all things we once were sold on.

So selling is natural. It happens naturally, all the time. 

So what does the inmate teach us?

In many of his letters to his son Bond, Gary talks about how important it is to work out – lifting weights -, be mindful of your diet, and study.

So it is in this sense that Gary points out to his son: If I can do all these things under the harsh conditions I am in – a.k.a. prison life – there is no reason why you would not be able to follow these guidelines.

Three pathways that will build your self-esteem

Looking at the advice from Gary Halbert to his son Bond, I conclude with my own thoughts on the three pathways to building your self-esteem, even when you are in prison:

  1. Work out. Train your body. Go jogging, swimming, join a gym and lift weights, start Jiu Jitsu. It will take your mind off things. And when you look in the mirror and you see improvements, you will feel proud.
  2. Change and improve your diet. More than 10 years ago I started on this journey by preparing oat meals in the morning, something called “porridge” from Chinese medicine. I have since realised how damaging sugar is to your body. So avoid refined sugar as much as you can. Instead, focus maybe on a smart fat and protein-intense diet with carbs mostly provided by legumes, vegetables and a few fruits.
  3. Study. Train your mind. Work on your emotions. Learn how to interact more positively with your environment. Try to become a great listener. And set yourself small attainable goals outside of the career/business arena and slowly build self-esteem and positive, re-enforcing experiences. That in itself will perpetuate your drive for becoming a better you. And that is a worthwhile path to stay on.