“What is GOGI?” I get that question a lot from friends, family and people I meet as I work to grow our GOGI community ‘outside the wall’. I found that an explanation of the benefits of GOGI for the ‘free’ community was needed since GOGI was created ‘inside the wall’ by prisoners for prisoners. The ‘rehabilitative’ benefits of the 12 Tools of GOGI are well explained and documented. What the ‘free’ community needs to hear about are the ‘preventative’ benefits of GOGI. The ‘healing’ benefits of GOGI. The ‘free’ community needs to hear that they may not actually be as ‘free’ as they think they are. Out here, folks might be ‘physically’ free, but are they really ‘mentally’ free?  9 times out of 10, the answer is ‘no’ …. and they don’t even know it. I didn’t know it!

Below is an expanded explanation to the question ‘What is GOGI’, as it applies to our communities ‘outside the wall’. I took bits and pieces from the GOGI website and books and added morsels relative to what we face out here. Here’s what I came up with so far. Let me know what you think! 🙂

Getting Out by Going In (GOGI) is so may wonderful things! It’s a Positive, Productive and Powerful cultural movement backed by a non-profit organization. Cultures emerge from an unmet need within a community. Communities today are in desperate need of positive decision-making. Sharing the 12 Tools For Positive Decision-Making, GOGI empowers to find the answers to the problems within our community …. all starting with ourselves. How? This is accomplished by going inside ourselves for the answers to our own problems, thus becoming the solution. This, in turn, motivates us to reach out and be of service to our community, helping others become the solution to their own problems, which results in a community of people who are the SOLUTION instead of the problem.

GOGI started off as a self-help program within the prison system, but quickly became a culture and way of life. Prisoners were asked to name the most effective self-help tools/techniques they learned to help them take control of their thinking and change the way they acted or reacted to situations, resulting in them leading more positive lives, free of addiction, anxiety, gang affiliations, violence, social issues, etc. The 12 Tools of GOGI are the result.

These 12 Tools are evidence-based cognitive therapy techniques that help us become the boss of our brain, realizing we are in full control over what we think, how we feel, how we act and how we react to negative situations. No matter what is going on around us, no matter what position we may be put in, with family, at work, in social situations or relationships, no one can make us feel, think, act or react in a negative way unless we allow it. This realization that we are in control gives us a mental freedom that most of us didn’t know we could have.

Many of us live in mental prisons created by things that have happened in our past –  bad relationships, tragedies, our upbringing, or negative self-talk. The 12 Tools of GOGI help us get out of these mental prisons by going into ourselves and finding the solutions by creating new ways of thinking, which are evidenced by new positive habits that override old negative habits.

I liken it to beavers who dam up a stream and create a new pathway for the water to flow. With the GOGI tools, we create a wedge (or dam) that stops old habitual negative thinking and creates a new positive way of thinking that becomes a new positive habit.


It’s amazing how realizing we have control over what we think and how we act and react to ANY situation, can change our lives!

And it all started with prisoners who were trying to take control of their own actions while inside a horrible and ugly place where they had no control whatsoever. These men and women were told where to live, what to wear, when to speak, when to sleep, what to eat, when to shower, etc. All while faced with very violent social situations on a daily basis. By picking the 12 best self-help tools/techniques and putting them together, these men and women realized they could have mental freedom and control, no matter where they were or what the situation; which resulted in them no longer viewing themselves as victims, but instead as the SOLUTION. This new viewpoint resulted in a positive change, not only for them but for those who dealt with them.

If the 12 Tools of GOGI can change the atmosphere of violent prison yards and create a community of problem solvers who seek to be of service to others on their prison yards, imagine the wonders it can do for our communities out here in the ‘free’ world. Think about it –

  • By teaching our children the first 3 Tools of GOGI, we set them on a path of problem solving, confidence and positive-decision making that will follow them throughout their lives.
  • By equipping our children with the ability to be the solution to their own problems, they can avoid becoming ‘at risk youth’, avoid going into juvenile detention centers which typically leads to prison.

Learning the 12 Tools for Positive Decision-Making addresses the core cultural beliefs and behaviors that exist today, which is the underlying problem of crime in most situations.

  • The GOGI Way of Life is the solution to the ‘victim’ mentality.
  • The GOGI Way of Life is the solution to the ‘I can’t do it’ mentality.
  • The GOGI Way of Life is the solution to low self-esteem, anxiety, addiction, depression, racism ….. and the list goes on.

GOGI is tried and true. The GOGI Tools for Positive Decision-Making were developed under the worst conditions and thrived under these conditions, creating a new solution-based culture that united the most violent people from all walks of life and races, to become Positive, Productive and Powerful leaders in their communities. GOGI can and WILL do the same for our community….. YOUR community.

In closing, let me leave you with this beautiful quote:

“The culture of GOGI is unstoppable now that it is reaching beyond the prison walls as a pathway of prevention. At GOGI we celebrate the positive within every living being and we will not stop until everyone has the opportunity to learn The GOGI For Positive Decision Making.” – GOGI’s Founder and Lead Volunteer, Coach Mara Leigh Taylor

GOGI 4 Life!!

GOGI Por Vida!!