Mar 02, 2016 Each complaint is a lost opportunity at victory
Recently, an otherwise likable — I did not say capable — trial lawyer who probably gets his blood pressure up too high too often on much ado about nothing, recently kept ranting that someone had taken one of his articles of clothing from the law library. He ranted and raved. He implored the law librarian about his predicament. Ten minutes later, he returned to the law library with his tail between his legs that he had found his property in the courtroom, where it had been all along.
We have much available to complain about in life, if we wish, from a possible president Trump to prunes to prune juice to prune whip to Muzak and to tyrants worse than would be a president Trump. In fact, after Trump did so well in the Super Tuesday March 1 primaries, I had to stop from beating myself up about whether I should have voted against him in the Republican primary rather than voting in the Democratic primary; and about whether I should have deviated from my usual practice of not contributing to political candidates’ campaigns, not that my having done either thing differently, by itself without joint effort, would have changed a thing.
Instead, I must remain clear-headed about how to prevent Trump from winning the primary, for instance convincing the also-scary Rubio and Cruz to draw straws about who will remain in the race, with the bowing-out candidate urging voters to choose the one who drew the long straw. Simultaneously, I need to keep thinking how to have the least worst of the candidates Bernie Sanders or the scary Hillary Clinton beat the GOP nominee.
Both flowers and feces will always be in abundance in the world. It is overly simplistic merely to say that feces can help flowers grow, but folly to wish or expect all feces to leave the earth, unless all animals leave along with the feces.
Every morning we wake up is filled with awesome opportunity and sometimes magic. If I ever am at risk of overlooking that, all I need to do is to look at my wife and son, or to re-watch “A Good Day” with Brother David Steindl-Rast.
What to do once we encounter an opportunity? Seize and exploit it at the right time. For instance, the late great taijiquan master Cheng Man Ch’ing was said to be like a ghost when trying to push him in martial arts sparring, but with the energy to throw his opponents as if channeling powerful energy from the ground through his feet and legs and then into his arms. One day, one of his students actually felt him enough during sparring that it would have been possible to have pushed Professor Cheng. However, the student let himself get distracted by his surprise, perhaps even stunned, and the professor won.
Professor Cheng knew that this student could have pushed him at that moment — whether or not the professor was trying to teach a lesson or had actually for a moment been bested by his student — and asked the student why he had not done so.
Consequently, do not let the persona of the opponent or your history with the opponent interfere with seizing the moment with them, whether the opponent be friend or seeming foe. Moreover, because we all are connected, any competition is more about reaching the best possible harmony for our client or cause, rather than about the contenders.
Recently, for instance, two prosecutors who are not known for being particularly flexible in settlement negotiations approached me as if a more flexible person had temporarily invaded their bodies. This was not the moment for me to wonder what was making them see the light, if only for a moment, although it certainly made sense for me to explore whether any previously unknown weaknesses existed in their case. This was the moment to seize the moment.
This was not the time for me to wonder whether the prosecutors had turned over a new leaf, for how long or why. This simply was an opportunity that necessitated taking advantage of the turned leaf.
We have many crossroads moments in our daily and long-term lives. What might first look like a heap of sh*t at a crossroads might turn out instead to be a delicious yet ugly chocolate sculpture. What might at first seem to be a colleague with a vicious tone of voice might turn out to be someone nursing a hemorrhoid or carbuncle. What might at first sound like damaging words might turn out to be a mis-statement, incorrect word choice by a speaker of English as a second language, or missed words from a low talker.
People are drawn to those who look to seize opportunities rather than to complain, complain, complain. And people find a way to stay away from those who merely complain, because repeated complaining can be a downer, can come across as self centered, and can make the listener wonder when the listener will become the subject of the speaker’s complaints.
Each complaint is a lost opportunity at victory.