In sorting through my files to organize and to decide what goes to recycle I’ve selected some things I’ve saved over the years to share with you. I’ve spent a lot of years reading material in the area of advertising, sales and human psychology. Industry has spent millions studying marketing, advertising and decision making with much of it available to us as trial lawyers. We are in the profession of persuasion for others and the material can be helpful. Here are a few examples to think about.
In 1985 Kay Porter and Judy Foster wrote a book The mental Athlete: Inner Training for Peak Performance (Wm C. Brown Publishers). They interviewed champions and applied their background in human behavior development to reach conclusions. They include some of the following:
- Champions believe totally in themselves and in their talents
- Their concentration and focus during competition is absolute
- They employ the techniques of visualization for weeks before an event
- They analyze loses carefully to refine technique, improve strategy and boost performance levels
- They put defeat behind them quickly and look forward to new challenges
- Even when losing, they never see themselves as losers
- They always have goals
Brian Tracy was a well known writer and speaker on motivation and success. One of his presentations was about the techniques of self-made millionaires. His points included these:
- Dream big dreams
- Set clear goals
- Do one thing at a time
- Be honest with yourself and others
- Be persistent
In 1991 a magazine interviewed a number of elderly people and asked them for advice about life. One man, William Van Hooser, replied “Life’s a dance. Take it one step at a time and keep listening for the music.”
Helen Collier led a training firm in New York about how to communicate and how to reach goals. Here are some of her ideas:
- Have a definite purpose . You need a clear cut plan for achieving your objectives
- Believe in yourself.
- Go the extra mile.
- Speak clearly. You’ll be more convincing if you do.
- Look the part. Dress and have the demeanor of a self confident person
- Be enthusiastic
For many years Tom Lambert was the editor and heart of the American Trial Lawyers Association. His columns Tom on Tort were always inspirational. In one column he wrote about the role of the plaintiff’s trial lawyer:
“You cannot choose your battlefield. The Gods do that for you. But you can plant a standard where a standard never flew”
Here are some quotes I have always liked:
- “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile, hoping that it will eat him last.” Winston Churchill
- “He was like the cock who thought the sun had risen to hear himself crow.” unknown
- “If you want a friend in Washington, go buy a dog.” Harry Truman
- “if an ocean liner could think and feel, it would never leave its dock. It would be afraid of the thousands of huge waves it would encounter. It would fear all of the dangers at once – even though it had to meet them only one wave at a time.” Unknown
- “You never know how a horse will pull until you hook him to a heavy load” Paul “Bear” Bryant
Lee Ann Womack has sung some songs with truly wonderful lyrics. Here are some from the song Something Worth Leaving Behind:
“I’ll probably never hold a brush that paints a masterpiece. Probably never find a pen that writes a symphony. But if I will love then I will find that I have touched another life and that something, something worth leaving behind.”
And Jimmy Buffet has many songs with lyrics worth studying. Here’s one from Cowboy in the Jungle:
“Roll with the punches, Play all his hunches. make the best of whatever came his way. What he lacked in ambition, he made up with intuition. Plowing straight ahead come what may.”
I read Roger Rosenblatt’s advise daily as reminder of the wisdom of these things he wrote:
- Nobody is thinking about you. They are too busy thinking about themselves
- Ignore your enemy or kill him. The idea is not to care – not pretend but to really not care.
- After the age of 30 it is unseemly to blame your parents for one’s life.
- A swine is always a swine. Yes, there may be a bad person who changes once in a great while, but on the whole accept the fact a swine will always act like a swine
- Envy no one – ever
- Live in the past, but do’t remember too much.
- To thine own self be true (unless you need to change)
A golf pro was interviewed about golfing. His advice included the following:
- You can only play one hole at a time. Keep your mind on that hole. don’t worry about the shot you just missed or the next one.
Lastly, there was a study of what motivated the average juror which was done some time ago, but it seems to me the principles haven’t changed. I have employed these thoughts in every jury argument I have made. Here is the list of powerful motivators for most people:
- Everyone wants to feel like they did the right thing under the circumstances.
- Everyone wants to achieve things they can be proud about.
- Everyone wants to belong to a group that achieved something extraordinary
- Everyone wants respect and recognition for what they have achieved.
So, that’s enough for this writing. Maybe there is something here that you find helpful or inspiring. I hope so.