A Simple Exercise Learned in Prison

Craig Stanland
3 min readFeb 16, 2022
Aim for the inside of the circle

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius

Our Time, Energy, and Attention are the most valuable resources we have.

They are non-renewable, and we need to treat them as such.

Anxiety. Restlessness. Frustration.

These eat away at our mental bandwidth, taking away our Time, Energy, and Attention.

Imagine breaking this cycle.

Establishing what is in our control and what is out of our control does just that.

It unwinds anxiety, restlessness, and frustration.

I learned 1st hand what was in my control and what was out of my Control in Federal Prison.

The loss of Freedom, humanity, my identity. Life as I knew it was all gone.

I fought against it initially, playing the victim to my circumstances, wishing I was anywhere but prison.

I was in quicksand. The harder I fought, the further under I went.

Fighting my circumstances lead me deeper and deeper into the depths of shame and guilt.

I was consumed and suffocating, to the point of planning how I would kill myself.



Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.