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Remaining Calm

Sometimes I read Paul Luvera’s blog to lawyers. He is now retired but still takes the time to share wisdom from his days of law practice.

One of his blogs gave tips on dealing with difficult lawyers on the other side of a case. He and attorney Gerry Spence have provide practical advice on that topic. In Paul’s recent blog on the topic, he references Gerry Spence’s thoughts on remaining calm in the face of adversity.

I think that the tips on dealing with difficult lawyers is also applicable to dealing with difficult people generally. It’s also a reminder of being in control of self.  Here are his quick thoughts:

  1. The most important rule is to have calmness in the face of whatever happens. When we are angry and out of control we don’t function right.  Plus we give up our power to the other person by reacting to their cue.  Gerry Spence once described it to me as “watchful waiting.”  Like the matador of calmly watching the charging bull.
  2. Respond only to ”attacks” that legally require a response.  Otherwise,  just respond verbally, if at all, with something like “That’s interesting” and walk away.
  3. Document everything. Phone calls, conversations & every other kind of communication or exchange should  be documented.  However, document with the idea a judge will read it. No anger. No profanity. All very professional and the less said the better.

     Keeping under control…Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons. (Anonymous)

And for pic o’ day… more reason to remain calm!


Setting Low Goals

I feel like I just need to post a happy pic o’ to get started. Just need it.


Which kinda leads me to my real topic.

If you ever drive through the parking of the Richmond Westin Hotel on Broad Street, this is what you will find:



It’s a basketball goal up against the curb. I round the corner for breakfast and see it. It’s an 8 foot goal. It probably serves to allow motel guests to dunk a basketball… and feel real tall. It certainly doesn’t increase your basketball skills.

It seems to me that the goal should be higher. Like Michelangelo said long ago, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark”.

Yes, I’m probably thinking too deeply in the morning. Perhaps I should just ask myself, “where’s the basketball?”.

I didn’t  want to mention April 15 Tax Day,  in yesterday’s blog. Instead, for pic o’ day, today we celebrate April 16.


Thinking Chocolate

In Jim Valvano’s speech that he gave at the ESPY awards in 1993, he told the funny story of giving his first coaching speech to the freshman team at Rutgers University. So, he wanted to really motivate these kids to go out and play a great first game of basketball.

He researched great coach speeches and settled on one that had been given years earlier by Hall-of-Fame football coach Vince Lombardi, who had given his speech as coach of the Green Bay Packers.

So, Valvano looked at his Rutgers freshman players and started into his speech. He really wanted to fire them up!

Gentlemen, we will be successful this year if you can focus on three things, and three things only.  Your family, your religion… and the Green Bay Packers“.

I still get a kick out of that story, whenever I see Jim Valvano’s speech. I always imagine the look on the faces of the entire Rutgers team.  So, let me segue into what some might add to that list of things of importance.

Specifically, it’s also the things that California Representative Nancy Pelosi says that keeps her going and also provides great gifts. That item… chocolate. I guess she would say to focus on “Your family, your religion… and chocolate”. Here’s what the NY Times tells us:

She doesn’t “eat chocolate once per day, but constantly,” Ms. Pelosi said, “It’s an ongoing thing.”

“If there were one food I would have in life, it would be very dark chocolate ice cream,” she said. “If it were not invented, I would have had to invent it.”

Ms. Pelosi, a Democrat, has loved chocolate since her childhood in the Little Italy neighborhood of Baltimore, where she enjoyed parfaits at the corner store and, of course, gelato.

According to the article, Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream is her  favorite. She also keeps plenty of Ghirardelli chocolate squares on hand.

She also tells the reporter, that she keeps chocolates “In the desk, in the purse, readily available at hand,” she said of her stash. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

She also believes in chocolate diplomacy. Speaker John Boehner of Ohio “has given me plenty of delicious chocolate from his district,” she said; noting that she’s a fan of Graeter’s chocolates in Cincinnati.

What does she give Boehner in return? “I’ve sent him a number of things.”

I suspect that Boehner would say that she has given him, “A hard time”.

And for pic o’ day, I thought this was a funny elf on a shelf:

elf on shelf

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