Accepting the Facts of Daily Life in Prison
Greg Lindberg explains the consequences of attitude while incarcerated
Before Greg Lindberg became incarcerated at Federal Prison Camp Montgomery in Alabama in 2020, he built Global Growth, a worldwide company with 7500 employees. Facing a seven-year sentence for bribery, he resolved to live life there as if he would have to serve the entire sentence.
He would eventually have his sentence unanimously overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but not before spending almost two years at FPC Montgomery.
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Upon his release, he wrote and published 633 Days Inside: Lessons on Life & Leadership, a book about his time there. This has been followed by a series of YouTube videos that highlight his most important prison lessons. One entitled “Daily Life” opens with this quote: Prison teaches you to value the small things. A simple sandwich can bring enormous joy in prison.
One thing Lindberg quickly realized was that the old, much touted idea that all prisoners consider themselves to be innocent wasn’t particularly true. What was true was what they all thought about most.
“Every prisoner thinks about one thing all day long,” he recalls. “When am I gonna get out? They dream about it, they fantasize about it. Of course, you want to get out. You want to get out every second of every day. The biggest mistake that prisoners make is thinking they're gonna get out tomorrow or thinking they're gonna get out next week, or thinking they're gonna get out early. Those are mind games that will absolutely destroy you. The only mindset that works in prison is… I'm gonna be here for my full sentence. Get used to it, get over it, get adjusted. Unless you have that mindset, you're going to destroy yourself.”
Lindberg didn’t just reason this out logically. A fellow prisoner who approached prison life far differently drove home the point in a drastic way.
“One of my fellow inmates, he got in with hope, as we all do, on a 78-month sentence. And I told him, ‘You need to get used to this prison concept.’ He got so hyped up with hope that he thought he was gonna get out. And he started filing all kinds of complaints with the Bureau of Prisons. He started having his lawyer call regional headquarters. You know what the Bureau of Prisons did? They shipped his ass to a higher-level institution and they deprived him of every single thing he had at FPC Montgomery and taught him a lesson. You don't rattle your cage.”
Listen to the story of that prisoner here:
Determined to master his new experience, Lindberg took things one day at a time. He experienced fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of many things. Knowing he didn’t have a choice, he pushed the fears aside and found that, after about a week, he started to enjoy the relative peace of his new environment, much different than hectic corporate life, and it became very relaxing.
“At 10:00am on October 28, 2020 I hit the reset button…. It was a forced top down you will reset yourself and you had to obey…. I went from being incredibly connected to the world, an email every minute, a phone call, you know, blah, blah, blah, to having no email access. And, you know, like, very, very limited phone calls. You know, being in prison was like being a monk…. They live a very simple life, and prison was a very simple life.”
Lindberg learned that at FPC Montgomery he could buy tennis shoes at the commissary but they cost $90, and he only received $90 a week to spend there. He needed some of that money to buy other things, like food. Luckily, one of his fellow inmates gave him a ratty pair of tennis shoes that actually fit well. Then he got a pair of shorts. “Man, now I'm living,” Lindberg recalls with a chuckle. It was the first of many eye-opening life adjustments, and now he is sharing the full story in his new book and on his videos, to continue helping others who get caught up in the justice system without knowing what to expect.
Here he explains the adjustments more fully:
Now in his new home, Lindberg lives a somewhat monk-like existence, sleeping on a military cot each night as a constant reminder of what he learned in prison. With his 633 Project, he is on a mission to help the incarcerated fare better in life, and to keep others from running afoul of a justice system needing reform.
The ebook of 633 Days Inside: Lessons on Life & Leadership can be found on Amazon, GooglePlay, Apple Books and many other major outlets. The paperback is available at Barnes & Noble and, via IngramSpark, around the world. Through his website www.greglindberg.com, he is making digital copies available to any currently incarcerated inmate or their family member. Even more to the point, his company, Global Growth, has a stated policy of not turning away potential employees because of a criminal conviction.
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