Troy’s Times – August 1st, 2006

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Welcome to Troy’s free monthly electronic newsletter, developed for people interested in overcoming adversity, adapting to change and pushing oneself to realize their full potential.

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“It is not important How we come to the events in our lives, but how we Deal with those events”- Troy
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This week’s article:

Public Image of an Inmate

“A man is not finished when he is defeated; he’s finished when he quits.”
Richard Milhous Nixon

For those of you who have been following these string of articles you know I was now cruising along, things were good. I was making my mom and dad proud. I was making my brother and sister proud. I was making my son proud. And I was making my scholarship committee VERY happy. I was two classes away from completing my second degree and already making plans to start on my Masters when a new warden came to FCI Florence. He immediately took a dislike to me. He didn’t like the fact that I was allowed extra computer time, he didn’t like the fact that I was allowed extra library time, and he in particular did not like the fact that I was allowed to receive videotapes via the mail so that I could take my courses by correspondence. He told me that it was all coming to an end immediately.

I understood that the warden was new and had no way of knowing how hard I had worked to accomplish the things that I had, so I turned to the association that was funding my schooling to plead my case for me. I figured that they had better ground to stand on, not being convicted felons themselves, and they happened to be very well connected in the political arena.

Over the next several weeks over two-dozen senators and congressmen called and wrote the new warden demanding to know why I was not being allowed to complete my second degree. Needless to say he didn’t appreciate those calls. In retrospect, I’m sure that he felt like his authority was being challenged in his own prison by a convicted felon. He was not used to answering to anyone and now he had his back up against the wall. So he trumped up charges on me, put me under investigation and threw me in the hole as a risk to the institution’s security. All it took was his signature on a couple of forms. All he had to do was make one false accusation and suddenly I was facing up to 90 days in the hole without any justification. To the hole I went.


I’ve dedicated my life, this article, my books, to inspiring people to ask more of themselves and more of the world. I have asked you to claim your past, hope as a child, embrace change, steel your determination and believe in yourself. These are the steps along the path to becoming the person you want to be. I would be doing you a great disservice, however, if I did not take a few moments to warn you about the obstacles that you may still have ahead. Unfortunately, they often pop up when you least expect them.
By the time the new warden had come to FCI Florence, I thought I had been through the toughest part of the challenge. I was cruising. I had become a different person altogether. I was clean. I was a positive role model for my son and fellow inmates. I had regained my self worth and dignity. I was doing something special.

I think that might be where I was going wrong in the warden’s eye.
I’m sure that there was a fear of the special privileges. If I had special privileges, everyone would want them. Actually that was already the case. I was commonly approached by inmates who were asking if I could help them do what I was doing. Sure some of them were in it for the con (and I could spot them a million miles away), but others truly wanted to better themselves. They did want to have the same opportunity to gain the privileges that I had. Of course, this begs the question, why not give them? I’ve already touched on the statistics of the educated ex-con. What if, at this point, the warden had taken advantage of my work to hold me up as a model to the other prisoners? What if he used me to encourage the other prisoners to better themselves? Might he have been considered a leader? A role model to wardens across the country for having the foresight to see that education can help rehabilitate criminals? We’ll never know. He took the easy path and flexed his muscles rather than using his brain.

In Australia they have this saying. If the guy down the street starts acting above his station or gets too big for his britches, they’ll say, “ole so and so is being a tall poppy.” Basically what they mean is that if someone sticks their head up above the crowd, they are just begging to get cut down. I think that is what the warden thought of me. In his eyes, I was the same addict and bank robber that my file told him I was and he wanted to remind me of it. Bank robbers don’t get extra computer time or special privileges, they get hard time. Drug addicts don’t get video courses and college degrees, they get all of the punishment that the system can dish out. And, prosecuted felons do not, I repeat, do not question wardens about how they will run their prison either directly or through a bunch of fancy suits on the outside. I was a tall poppy and he was going to mow me down.

People will try to sabotage you. Do not let them. It generally has nothing to do with what you are actually trying to accomplish with your own life, but rather, what it represents to the person who is trying to take your power away. For the warden it was a way to assert his authority in the prison. For others, sabotaging your successes can be a way to make them feel better about their own failures.

A friend once told me about an Oprah Winfrey show that she saw when Oprah first lost all of her weight. Here Oprah had finally accomplished this goal that she had set for herself and what did she get in return? Bags of mail from people who said that they wouldn’t watch her show any more. She had changed. She was no longer like them. These people did not hold her up as a role model, a winner of a tough battle. They lashed out in bitterness in an attempt to make their own failures her fault. She had risen above her place and they were going to try to make her feel like less of a person. It was because she had a personal chef. It was because she had a personal trainer. It was because she had money. She was not better than them. She should not get to be happy about her success. She hadn’t earned it. She was just rich. They took it as a personal affront that she had succeeded where they were failing when, in reality, her weight loss had nothing to do with them. They just used it as justification to stay miserable in their own weight issues rather than do anything about it. “I could do it to if I could afford a personal chef and a personal trainer.”

There may be those who will lash out at you for bettering yourself as well. They may try to sabotage your success, try to make you feel like a traitor, or attempt to take you down a peg. On the bright side, such criticism probably won’t come in quantities like Oprah had to deal with, however, a single rejection can carry just as much weight and more if it comes from a friend or loved one.

From a friend or relative, someone you trust, someone who is supposed to treat you with love, being denounced as a “tall poppy” simply for reaching for a dream can be absolutely devastating. If, rather than lashing out, they use your relationship to try to sabotage you, it can be downright heart breaking.

I have been in drug rehabilitation three times in my life. All three were before I went to prison and all three times I failed to be rehabilitated. A couple of times I bought into the program and thought, “This is it. I’m really going to try to do it this time.” Each time, I would walk out of rehab clear-headed, a new man. And, each time, all of my wonderful drug addicted friends would throw me a great big congratulatory party filled with enough drugs to kill me dozens of times over. My friends. My “friends.”

When I was younger, I was out with a group of my “friends” trespassing at a local reservoir because we were high on LSD and decided that we wanted to go swimming. My friend, Paul, was decked out in his usual cutoffs and favorite Aerosmith belt buckle, life of the party as usual. Just for the fun of it, he decided that he was going to climb an electrical tower. When he reached the top, he extended his arm out and deliberately touched the transformer. In an instant, a bolt of electricity shot through his arm and came out three gaping exit wounds that were instantly cauterized by the lightening. The electricity stopped his heart and he fell 60 feet to the ground in front of all of us. He lay there on the ground in front of us, eyes rolled up in his head, flopping like a fish on the ground.

Most of us ditched the scene. We called the paramedics and sent them over to see if they could help Paul but none of us stuck around to go with him to the hospital.

One of the group, a guy named Jack, absolutely lost it and ran off into the woods. He ran around for four hours before finding his way to the police to tell them what had happened. By the time that they investigated, Paul had been taken to the hospital and the scene had been cleaned up. For quite a few hours, Jack didn’t know if he had actually seen his friend nearly fried to death or if he had hallucinated the whole thing.

In the end, Paul only survived because when he hit the ground after falling 60 feet, the impact restarted his heart.

At the time, that wasn’t enough to stop a single one of us from using drugs. Instead, we tried to sneak some pot into to the hospital for him so that he could take a few hits while he recovered from his near death experience.

In 2004, I did a speaking engagement in Colorado and tried to look up some of my old friends. Two were dead, three were in prison, others had been lost in the wind. Out of the entire group, only three of us had turned our lives around – the three who had ditched the group and the drugs.
My point is this, if your friends are not helping you to succeed, they are helping you to fail. They are not your friends.

So right about now, you may be saying, “Troy, what are you doing? I was so excited, I was so motivated, and you’re telling me that the world is against me.”

My reply is that, if I didn’t tell you these things, I’d be selling you a bill of goods. I’ve told you about the steps that you can take to become the person you want to be. Let’s just consider this chapter a sturdy pair of walking boots to protect against sprained ankles.

Hopefully, you have surrounded yourself with people who want the best for you. If so, you’ve just gained some added strength in your fight. If not, here’s a chance to do some weeding of your own. There are people who are going to see your head rising above the others in the poppy field and not like it. If they are your “friends,” be prepared to leave them behind. They are not your friends.
If they are strangers who, for whatever reason, have decided to try to derail you from your dreams, don’t let them; that is not their right.

Steel yourself, stick to your path and march forward with determination. This is the point where some people will want to give up and lay down lest they be cut down. Me? I took one of my books with me to the hole.


Read a letter from a recent client – Click hear to read!

I am approached hundreds of times a year either immediately following one of my keynote speeches or through my website by p^rents, aunts, uncles, brother and sisters who are concerned about a young person in their lives who is either using drugs or is about to enter that age where drugs will become accessible.

I often had a hopeless feeling knowing that all I could offer were words of encouragement and support and the sharing of my own downfall….that was until I became partners with a company called DrugTALK.

DrugTALK is a v1rtual life coach dedicated to helping families, parents and young people overcome the threat and dangers of drugs through the privacy of their home. They do this by delivering the insight, tools and activities needed for parents to protect their children by putting vital protection principles into practice, often without parents even realizing it.

Their programs and tools are based on decades of research and supported by a dynamic team of communication experts, family intervention specialists, treatment professionals, narcotics intelligence officers, life coaches, parents and—most importantly—teens who have faced the world of drugs first-hand.

The CEO of DrugTALK happened to attend one of my speaking engagements and after talking I skeptically took one of his Drug Reference Guides and a DVD. Having lived through the hell of drug abuse I had my whole adult life been conv1nced that nothing short of expensive in-patient treatment centers could break the hold that drugs have on our young people. After thoroughly studying what DrugTalk has to offer I was blown away- I can honestly say that h^d these tools been available to me during my teenage years that I most likely would have avoided the hell I put myself and family through.

I have agreed to partner with DrugTalk and encourage anyone who knows of an individual that is either us1ng drugs or is reaching that critical age where drugs c^n be a lure to visit their site at www.drugtalk.orgPlease also pass this on to anyone who may benefit from this unique program.

One of the stipulations I made in agreeing to partner with DrugTALK was that they needed to make what they offer afford^ble to anyone- drug use does not discriminate by class and it is important to me that these tools are available to anyone…therefore if you enter the promotional code TEG123 when ordering you will receive a 10% discount. This d1scount is only offered to those who I refer to DrugTALK.

Thanks as always for your time and let us as a community and nation finally make a dent in this plague that effects us all.



Featured product for this issue! MY FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK-

” From Desper^tion to Dedication: Lessons You Can Bank On”…Click here to order
Other Products:

  • E-Book– From Desperation to Dedication: Lessons You Can Bank On
  • Paperback– From Desperation to Dedicat1on: Lessons You Can Bank On
  • VHS Tape– Troy Live!
  • VHS Tape– From Hole to Whole: The Keys to Liber^tion
  • CD– From Desperation to Dedication: The Success of an Educated Ex-Con
  • Audio Tape– From Hole to Whole: The Keys to Liberation
  • Book- Serving Time, Serving Others– A book in which I am a contributing author


Download a free chapter of my book, The Preface is available here – Click to begin!

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About the Author- Troy Evans is a professional speaker and author who resides in Phoenix, AZ with his wife Pam and his dog Archibald. Troy travels the country delivering keynote presentations, and since his release from prison has taken the corporate and association pl^tforms by storm. Overcoming adversity, adapting to change and pushing yourself to realize your full potential- other speaker’s talk about these issues, Troy has walked them.
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