“We run not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves … the more restricted our society and work become the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” Sir Roger Bannister, the first to break the 4-minute mile.
He shared with us an old tale of the Buddha. The Buddha was asked by a group of Brahmans how they could see lord Brahma, and if the Buddha could show them the way. The Buddha asked them if they had ever seen the lord Brahma, and they said no, because you only see lord Brahma when you die. Then the Buddha asked them if their teachers had ever seen lord Brahma, and they responded no, once again. So the Buddha said, instead of trying to see lord Brahma in the physical, meet him in the heart.
So what can litigators teach you about LIFE?
They’ve helped me learn the following lessons:
- Make clear agreements you are able to fulfill. No fantasies here. Only results count.
- Do your own discovery. Discovery is the right to find out everything you and others know about a situation. No attachment, interpretation, or spin, just the facts as they were written or recorded. It’s too late after the fact to say that you didn’t mean what you wrote, agreed to, or emailed! If it’s not in writing, it’s he said, she said. (Oh, have I learned this the hard way!)
- Answer questions truthfully, but don’t embellish, assume, or add. This is harder than it sounds, since you may want to explain or give your reasons for what you do and don’t do. You may assume you know what the other person is thinking, you don’t. You find out by asking.
- Listen non-defensively and don’t react to what’s being said. Anger or frustration can cause you to blurt the don’ts in lesson #2. Keep cool and focused.
- Say you don’t know, when you don’t. Don’t make anything up or guess. This is a freeing practice. You may become mindful of how much you guess rather than know!
- Realize that once you initiate action, it has a life of its own. Be clear on your intention so that your vision of what’s possible organizes the actions you take.
- Understand what’s at risk when you speak, whether it’s a demand, request, or giving information. Your words matter in building a relationship of trust and make a difference in the outcome.
- Know when to push.
- Know when to stop.
- Acknowledge that everyone thinks they’re right.
In situations that are adversarial, meaning there are two opposing sides, you don’t have to be hostile. None of the lessons above have hostility at the core. All have truth and interest at the core. And yet when we talk about legal situations we call them battles. Intense yes, battles not necessarily.
1. The Impulsive Syndrome
2. The Make Others Wrong Syndrome
(Click here for a refresher! MAKE IT A CONSCIOUS DAY)
Over the last few weeks, I’ve become more aware of a third syndrome called “The Reactive Mind”, also known as doing the same thing over and over again!
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you find yourself learning the same lesson multiple times? You become conscious, and then it seems like you go back to sleep. If you have ever asked yourself, “Didn’t I already learn this lesson?” then you may be suffering from this 3rd Syndrome.