William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli were vocal political adversaries in Great Britain. From 1874-1880, Disraeli was Prime Minister. He replaced Gladstone in 1874; and then Gladstone replaced him in 1880. So, the parallels of their lives were studied as was their personalities.
One lady had the opportunity to dine with both of them during a week leading up to election in 1867. When the reporter asked her to give her opinion of the two statesmen, she replied, “When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.”
I subscribe to a blog written by lawyer Don Keenan. He recently wrote about a trial that he had, when he was a “puppy lawyer”. It was a case involving some complex medicine and records. Keenan said that the defense lawyer was able to do his cross examination of the doctors without notes. He would even reference specific pages of “colloaborative studies”. The jury seemed mesmerized by the defense lawyer’s knowledge and delivery.
At the end of the case, the jury came back with a significant verdict for Keenan’s client. When the jury was dismissed, Keenan said that he had some expectation that they would come over to his table and congratulate him, just like he had seen in the movies.
Instead, the jury went right over to the defense lawyer and asked what they described as the question on all of their minds, “Tell us, you are a doctor as well as a lawyer, aren’t you?” Then, they continued to tell that defense lawyer just how impressed they were with him.
Finally, one of the jurors came over to Keenan. They told him that while they were impressed with the other lawyer that they really couldn’t understand much about what he was talking about. It made Keenan realize what was really important in the Courtroom.
Both of these stories are good reminders. Among other lessons, life really isn’t about trying to impress others with your own knowledge and skills; a real skill is to focus on what others want.
For pic o’ day I went cartoon. It makes me laugh. It seems like it really could happen: