Jan 05, 2016 The magic and necessity of bringing people outside of their comfort zones
Does the butterfly fear leaving its cocoon or exhilarate over the chance to fly? If only humans would exhilarate over the opportunities outside their cocoons/comfort zones. However, when faced with the unknown and the dangerous, many revert into their cocoons, which can run from being insufficiently communicative with people they do not know nor trust to engaging in such rotten but familiar habits as lying.
On the last day of the 1995 Trial Lawyers College , some people shared their concerns about going back out into the “real world” after one month in the isolated western Wyoming mountains opening their hearts and souls and proceeding outside the box to become much better lawyers for our clients, at a time when the TLC was so very raw and new in only its second season. I shared that what we had learned and become was going to be of little use by staying only with birds of a feather rather than getting back out into the world to put into practice our better selves.
And still, returning to the beautiful TLC ranch is an extra draw for its alums to keep attending TLC programs, rather than simply meeting in an antiseptic hotel conference room, in addition to connecting with each other in familiar ways that fraternity members will connect who have never met each other before.
When I practice taijiquan sparring, I know that my opponents are going to practice limits so that we are learning and advancing rather than injuring each other. However, if a practitioner of another fighting form challenges me, I am out of that taijiquan fraternity cocoon and in for a much more real battle, for better or worse.
I need to understand my own cocooning tendencies before I can motivate my clients to get out of their cocoons by convincing them that the way trials are conducted on television is not necessarily the only nor best way to try cases, and to convince them to fully open to me so that I may fully present their best selves.
By my understanding my own cocooning tendencies, I can better understand why police and civilian witnesses who have become comfortable lying repeatedly over the years will do so out of perceived expediency, habit and comfort, and then I can better coax them away from lying.
By my understanding my own cocooning tendencies, I can better package any of my novel or unusual courtroom approaches in a way that the judge will be more open to considering, and less likely to go ballistic through concerns or fear that the judge will be perceived to himself or others as not having full control of the courtroom, time management, and administrative efficiency.
And of course, I want to draw the jurors out of their cocoons, so that they bare their very selves and souls to each other as they struggle and work collectively towards what they see as the right decisionmaking in the case, with my wanting them to know that their opening themselves up to each other is deeply appreciated by the defense.
As always, persuading others to our argument or cause starts with our working on ourselves first, including getting out of my cocoon if I want others out of theirs, showing my real self, warts and all. This also means giving others assurance that I will not ridicule them for getting out of their cocoon nor otherwise make them unnecessarily feel uncomfortable for doing so. Otherwise, I can expect them not only to withdraw back into their cocoons, but instead to create and withdraw into an airtight tortoise shell.
Cocoons begone, and let the magic begin.