Balancing the Bar

Happiness and the Practice of Law

Optimism and the practice of law?

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Lawyers are used to seeing glasses half empty. I am bombarded weekly with  negative thinking about cases, client recruitment and or people with a negative idea of their future. This type of thinking can be very detrimental to law firm operation, attorney well being and or client development.  Last night,  I found this article  A Richer Life by Seeing the Glass Half Full and it echoed my thoughts on the negative vs. positive thinkers.  So my question is – how does one who is optimistic about life, their practice and their future cope with all the negative lawyers around them?

The article describes Optimistic behavior as “rather than giving up and walking away from difficult situations, optimists attack problems head-on. They plan a course of action, getting advice from others and staying focused on solutions. ”  While pesimists look at situations and say “it can’t be done”.   Trying to find a positive view in difficult situations is sometimes challenging.  But, if one never tries a new approach, sits down and says “I can’t” then they miss out on living an adventurous life full of new experiences.

A great example of this is the lack of Health and Well Being education for lawyers.  We all know there is an issue in our profession, yet we don’t really address the reasons why the issue keeps surfacing.  In fact, I was reluctant to tackle the issue myself until I faced by own stress issues and watched a colleague develop depression.  The point is the CBA Health and Well-Being Committee has developed an optimistic approach to educate people.  The alternative would have been to say “this is just how it is”.  This is the defeatist attitude which dampens the hope an enthusiasm of younger attorneys.  I personally think it is time to be inject a little optimism into the profession.

My favorite quote from the article is “if you are chronically negative and always see only the dark side of things, the optimists in your life may eventually give up on you.”  Does this mean that I will have to give up on most of the lawyers I know?  I hope not.  I think as long as attorneys are interested, the CBA Health and Well Being Committee will give them something that resonates with them and is useful.   Here is to being optimistic.


Author: Tabitha M. Hochscheid

Attorney since 1995, interested in Attorney Health and Well Being and related issues for lawyers and the general population. Developer and Committee Chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association Health and Well Being Committee.

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