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Getting Comfortable with
Discomfort:
Practical Tools for Keeping Your Head
While Navigating a Changing World
This Ever Happen To You?
• Something is going to happen
• That Happening is going to be awful
• That Something is Going to Be My Fault
• (Repeat)
• Distress is Not Wanting What We Presume
is Going to Happen
Tools We Picked Up in Law School
• Taught That the Law (and You) Were Unique
– “Law School is Different”
– “The Law is a Jealous Mistress”
• How to seek (and present) information
• How to work on your own
• How to avoid risk and crave certainty
• How to think criticially (skepticism, pessimism)
• How to compete (Get a job)
• How to Follow the Rules
– what does the law say?
– bound by precedent
– Bound by the BlueBook and the Manual on Style
What Tools Are You Using Now?
• All of the Above
• Seeking Compensation
• Seeking Clients
• Seeking Advancement
• Craving affirmation (from clients,
decisionmakers, higher-ups)
• Living in a zero-sum world- Seeking to
Avoid Blame
How Are Those Tools When
Things Don’t Go As “Planned”?
• Ever thought your way out of a painful
emotional situation?
• How Do Those Tools Work in Your
Personal Life?
• How Do Those Tools Work When the Pace
of Change Picks Up?
And The New Tools?
• “The Real Problem of humanity is the following:
we have paleolithic emotions, medieval
institutions, and god-like technology.” – E.O.
Wilson
• An Information God and a Dopamine Dispenser
• Saps your attention, and momentarily assuages all
that discomfort.
• And often you don't even notice.
Responses to Distress
• The need to try and control it
• Strike back, numb out, bliss out
• Things get stuck in that endless cycle
What is Missing?
• The Capability to Manage Emotion
• What to Think
• Space to Consider What is Happening and How to
Respond Rather Than React
• Cooperation/Collaboration/Communication
• Context/Awareness
• A Reminder from Time to Time that Things Are
Relatively Easy
Sidebar: Quit Whining, Pringle
• Rules and Structure necessary
• The Impassive, Professional, “Stoic” Ideal
• There are more things, Lucilius, that
frighten us than injure us, and we suffer
more in imagination than in reality.
-Seneca
Summing This Up
• Most of us live mindlessly all of the time-
– we don't perceive everything that is important.
– Our brains and emotions don’t always make sense of the world
• "Everyone who drives slower than I do is an idiot. Anyone
who drives faster than I do is a maniac." - George Carlin
• Using the Tools We Have means we don't see the whole
picture and miss what is right in front of us
• Not there and not there to know we are not there
Another Way of Putting It
We are “problem solvers”, but often
• unaware of the problem (especially when the problem is
us)
• Unaware of any clue how to solve it;
• But absolutely certain that we do know or unwilling to
admit otherwise.
One Tool to Help- Mindfulness
• the ability to seek out, create, and actively
notice new things
• Actively notice new things -->puts you in
the present -->makes you aware of context--
• Without judging
– letting go of the illusion that we are in control
– Beginner's mind and the ability to listen or
evaluate without preconceived notions
More on Mindfulness
• Never attribute to malice what can
adequately be explained by stupidity. -
Hanlon's Razor
• Get aware of what you pay attention to
• Whatever you are doing can be done in
many different ways
• Turn rampaging thoughts into next actions.
Business and Mindfulness
• Mindlessness is the application of
yesterday's business solutions to today's
problems
• Mindfulness is attunement to today's
demands to avoid tomorrow's problems
• If you want to change it, you have to see it
for what it really is.
Why Do Lawyers Resist Change?
It is very difficult to change the wheels on a moving
car. – Richard Susskind
Hesitancy and Fear
• “Drive out fear. No one can put in his
best performance unless he feels secure.”
– W. Edwards Deming
• Pause and Plan, Don’t React
Strange Sort of Impatience
Change Your Mind
• Put some space between stimulus and
reaction
• Get quiet
• Get outside
• Find the flow
Adopt a Growth Mind-Set
A Plug For Work-Life
Integration
• Treat yourself, at work or play, the same
way
• "You must have work-life balance"
– this is mindless because we make this binary
distinction mindfully but then use it mindlessly
– you don't stop being human at work, and you
don't stop being organized or task-oriented at
home
Paradox: You Have to Ignore Technology
to Plan How to Use It
• Technology is a Distraction
• Lawyers Require Sustained Attention-
– Minimize Your Beeps and Notifications (and
your Interruptions and Meetings)
– Guard Your Attention Jealously
• It’s Not What You Read, It’s What You Ignore
The Checklist Manifesto
• Why Use Your Head as a Storage Device?
• Document a Process Well One Time, Never Have to Document it
Again
• Benefits:
– Delegates
– Reduces Mistakes
– Promotes and standardizes best practices
– Stays with the organization
– Encourages revision and improvement (Productivity)
– Capable of application in other areas (Innovation)
– Rewards input and collaboration
• Accepting coaching and criticism
Create Space in Your Day
(Energy)
• Exercise
• Leisure Time – Flow
• Reducing Distractions
• Rest and Recovery
Create Some Space in Your Life
– Hack It
• Amazon
• Dollar Shave Club
• Blue Apron
• NatureBox
• Boxed
Build The Profession and
Contribute To It
• Be Generous of Your Time and Your Knowledge-
Without Expecting Anything in Return
• If You Are Taking Care of Yourself, You Will
Take Care of Others
• Build Empathy
• Get Out and Play -
http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com/2015/05/i
n-celebration-of-play.html
Conclusion
"I didn't come down here to change your mind
about anything, but to ease my own mind
about everything." - Todd Snider
Questions?
Jack Pringle
Adams and Reese LLP
(803) 343-1270
jack.pringle@arlaw.com
@jjpringlesc
http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com
1501 Main Street, 5th Floor
Columbia, SC 29201
www.adamsandreese.com
Resources
• The Resilient Lawyer http://theanxiouslawyer.com/rl-23-jack-pringle/
• Farnham Street https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/
• One You Feed With Michael Taft http://www.oneyoufeed.net/michael-
taft/
• Tim Ferris with Brene Brown
http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/08/28/brene-brown-on-
vulnerability-and-home-run-ted-talks/
• On Being With Ellen Langer http://www.onbeing.org/program/ellen-
langer-science-of-mindlessness-and-mindfulness/6332
• You Are Not So Smart http://youarenotsosmart.libsyn.com/062-naive-
realism-lee-ross-0
More Resources
• City Yoga http://cityyogasc.com/site/
• 10 (Ok 11) Books for Getting
Better http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/10-okay-11-
good-books-for-getting-better.html
• 5 Must-Reads for Graduates (and everyone
else) http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/five-must-reads-
for-graduates-and.html
More Resources
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande
http://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/dp/0312430000
Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better,
by Clive Thompson
http://www.amazon.com/Smarter-Than-You-Think-Technology/dp/1594204454
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D
http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Success-Carol-
Dweck/dp/0345472322
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant
http://www.amazon.com/Give-Take-Helping-Others-Success/dp/0143124986
Resources - Tools
Basecamp https://basecamp.com/
Camtasia http://www.camtasiastudiosoftware.com/
Evernote www.evernote.com
Freedom www.macfreedom.com
LeechBlock http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html
Mindmeister www.mindmeister.com
Ommwriter www.ommwriter.com
TheForm Tool www.theformtool.com
WikiSpaces www.wikispaces.com
Resources- Websites
ABA Law Technology Resource
Center http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources.html
Attorney at Work http://www.attorneyatwork.com/
Clio http://www.goclio.com/
Law Office Guru http://legalofficeguru.com/
Law Practice Matters http://www.lawpracticematters.com/
Lawyerist http://lawyerist.com/
Legal Ease http://legalease.blogs.com/
Legal Productivity http://www.legalproductivity.com/
MyCase http://www.mycase.com/blog/
MyShingle http://myshingle.com/
Paperless Chase http://www.paperlesschase.com/
SC Bar PMAP http://www.scbar.org/MemberResources/PracticeManagementPMAP.aspx
Technolawyer http://www.technolawyer.com/

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Getting Comfortable With Discomfort: Practical Tools for Keeping Your Head While Navigating a Changing World

  • 1. Getting Comfortable with Discomfort: Practical Tools for Keeping Your Head While Navigating a Changing World
  • 2. This Ever Happen To You? • Something is going to happen • That Happening is going to be awful • That Something is Going to Be My Fault • (Repeat) • Distress is Not Wanting What We Presume is Going to Happen
  • 3. Tools We Picked Up in Law School • Taught That the Law (and You) Were Unique – “Law School is Different” – “The Law is a Jealous Mistress” • How to seek (and present) information • How to work on your own • How to avoid risk and crave certainty • How to think criticially (skepticism, pessimism) • How to compete (Get a job) • How to Follow the Rules – what does the law say? – bound by precedent – Bound by the BlueBook and the Manual on Style
  • 4. What Tools Are You Using Now? • All of the Above • Seeking Compensation • Seeking Clients • Seeking Advancement • Craving affirmation (from clients, decisionmakers, higher-ups) • Living in a zero-sum world- Seeking to Avoid Blame
  • 5. How Are Those Tools When Things Don’t Go As “Planned”? • Ever thought your way out of a painful emotional situation? • How Do Those Tools Work in Your Personal Life? • How Do Those Tools Work When the Pace of Change Picks Up?
  • 6. And The New Tools? • “The Real Problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology.” – E.O. Wilson • An Information God and a Dopamine Dispenser • Saps your attention, and momentarily assuages all that discomfort. • And often you don't even notice.
  • 7. Responses to Distress • The need to try and control it • Strike back, numb out, bliss out • Things get stuck in that endless cycle
  • 8. What is Missing? • The Capability to Manage Emotion • What to Think • Space to Consider What is Happening and How to Respond Rather Than React • Cooperation/Collaboration/Communication • Context/Awareness • A Reminder from Time to Time that Things Are Relatively Easy
  • 9. Sidebar: Quit Whining, Pringle • Rules and Structure necessary • The Impassive, Professional, “Stoic” Ideal • There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality. -Seneca
  • 10. Summing This Up • Most of us live mindlessly all of the time- – we don't perceive everything that is important. – Our brains and emotions don’t always make sense of the world • "Everyone who drives slower than I do is an idiot. Anyone who drives faster than I do is a maniac." - George Carlin • Using the Tools We Have means we don't see the whole picture and miss what is right in front of us • Not there and not there to know we are not there
  • 11. Another Way of Putting It We are “problem solvers”, but often • unaware of the problem (especially when the problem is us) • Unaware of any clue how to solve it; • But absolutely certain that we do know or unwilling to admit otherwise.
  • 12. One Tool to Help- Mindfulness • the ability to seek out, create, and actively notice new things • Actively notice new things -->puts you in the present -->makes you aware of context-- • Without judging – letting go of the illusion that we are in control – Beginner's mind and the ability to listen or evaluate without preconceived notions
  • 13. More on Mindfulness • Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity. - Hanlon's Razor • Get aware of what you pay attention to • Whatever you are doing can be done in many different ways • Turn rampaging thoughts into next actions.
  • 14. Business and Mindfulness • Mindlessness is the application of yesterday's business solutions to today's problems • Mindfulness is attunement to today's demands to avoid tomorrow's problems • If you want to change it, you have to see it for what it really is.
  • 15. Why Do Lawyers Resist Change? It is very difficult to change the wheels on a moving car. – Richard Susskind
  • 16. Hesitancy and Fear • “Drive out fear. No one can put in his best performance unless he feels secure.” – W. Edwards Deming • Pause and Plan, Don’t React
  • 17. Strange Sort of Impatience
  • 18. Change Your Mind • Put some space between stimulus and reaction • Get quiet • Get outside • Find the flow
  • 19. Adopt a Growth Mind-Set
  • 20. A Plug For Work-Life Integration • Treat yourself, at work or play, the same way • "You must have work-life balance" – this is mindless because we make this binary distinction mindfully but then use it mindlessly – you don't stop being human at work, and you don't stop being organized or task-oriented at home
  • 21. Paradox: You Have to Ignore Technology to Plan How to Use It • Technology is a Distraction • Lawyers Require Sustained Attention- – Minimize Your Beeps and Notifications (and your Interruptions and Meetings) – Guard Your Attention Jealously • It’s Not What You Read, It’s What You Ignore
  • 22. The Checklist Manifesto • Why Use Your Head as a Storage Device? • Document a Process Well One Time, Never Have to Document it Again • Benefits: – Delegates – Reduces Mistakes – Promotes and standardizes best practices – Stays with the organization – Encourages revision and improvement (Productivity) – Capable of application in other areas (Innovation) – Rewards input and collaboration • Accepting coaching and criticism
  • 23.
  • 24. Create Space in Your Day (Energy) • Exercise • Leisure Time – Flow • Reducing Distractions • Rest and Recovery
  • 25. Create Some Space in Your Life – Hack It • Amazon • Dollar Shave Club • Blue Apron • NatureBox • Boxed
  • 26. Build The Profession and Contribute To It • Be Generous of Your Time and Your Knowledge- Without Expecting Anything in Return • If You Are Taking Care of Yourself, You Will Take Care of Others • Build Empathy • Get Out and Play - http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com/2015/05/i n-celebration-of-play.html
  • 27. Conclusion "I didn't come down here to change your mind about anything, but to ease my own mind about everything." - Todd Snider
  • 28. Questions? Jack Pringle Adams and Reese LLP (803) 343-1270 jack.pringle@arlaw.com @jjpringlesc http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com 1501 Main Street, 5th Floor Columbia, SC 29201 www.adamsandreese.com
  • 29. Resources • The Resilient Lawyer http://theanxiouslawyer.com/rl-23-jack-pringle/ • Farnham Street https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/ • One You Feed With Michael Taft http://www.oneyoufeed.net/michael- taft/ • Tim Ferris with Brene Brown http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/08/28/brene-brown-on- vulnerability-and-home-run-ted-talks/ • On Being With Ellen Langer http://www.onbeing.org/program/ellen- langer-science-of-mindlessness-and-mindfulness/6332 • You Are Not So Smart http://youarenotsosmart.libsyn.com/062-naive- realism-lee-ross-0
  • 30. More Resources • City Yoga http://cityyogasc.com/site/ • 10 (Ok 11) Books for Getting Better http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/10-okay-11- good-books-for-getting-better.html • 5 Must-Reads for Graduates (and everyone else) http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/five-must-reads- for-graduates-and.html
  • 31. More Resources The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande http://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/dp/0312430000 Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, by Clive Thompson http://www.amazon.com/Smarter-Than-You-Think-Technology/dp/1594204454 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Success-Carol- Dweck/dp/0345472322 Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant http://www.amazon.com/Give-Take-Helping-Others-Success/dp/0143124986
  • 32. Resources - Tools Basecamp https://basecamp.com/ Camtasia http://www.camtasiastudiosoftware.com/ Evernote www.evernote.com Freedom www.macfreedom.com LeechBlock http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html Mindmeister www.mindmeister.com Ommwriter www.ommwriter.com TheForm Tool www.theformtool.com WikiSpaces www.wikispaces.com
  • 33. Resources- Websites ABA Law Technology Resource Center http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources.html Attorney at Work http://www.attorneyatwork.com/ Clio http://www.goclio.com/ Law Office Guru http://legalofficeguru.com/ Law Practice Matters http://www.lawpracticematters.com/ Lawyerist http://lawyerist.com/ Legal Ease http://legalease.blogs.com/ Legal Productivity http://www.legalproductivity.com/ MyCase http://www.mycase.com/blog/ MyShingle http://myshingle.com/ Paperless Chase http://www.paperlesschase.com/ SC Bar PMAP http://www.scbar.org/MemberResources/PracticeManagementPMAP.aspx Technolawyer http://www.technolawyer.com/