The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers

Uncle Willie

I am on a cruise. A few days ago I was doing the tourist thing in Kauai, by which I mean that I was on a bus being driven around to see the sites and the sights.

The driver was an older gentleman who invited us to call him “Uncle Willie.” Uncle Willie gave us a great tour. He was friendly and knowledgeable and we had an excellent day. Especially compared to a day spent practicing law, or worse, attending a partner’s retreat.

However, there was one thing that Uncle Willie did which puzzled me just a little bit. Like every other tour guide who I had ever met, every time we got back on the bus, Uncle Willie walked from the front to the back of the bus, counting all of the passengers to be sure that no one was being left behind.

It occurred to me that the bus was practically full. There were perhaps two or three empty seats. Surely Uncle Willie knew how many seats there were on his bus. Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to count the empty seats?

I thought about telling this gentleman, who had spent many years being a tour guide, that I, the retired lawyer from the big city, had come up with an improvement to his process. Surely, he would appreciate me making his job easier for him.

And then I thought about all of the great ideas that I have had for improving the ways things were done by various individuals in both my personal and professional life, how much the recipients of my good advice consistently loved hearing my suggestions and how they eagerly adopted them and embraced change, always thanking me for my contribution. (To be clear, none of that ever happened.)

And I reflected on why it is that we human beings do not like change, even when the change is obviously beneficial, simple to implement and has no steep learning curve. Because we are all bloody contrary, that’s why.

And I sat back silently and enjoyed the ride.

My message? Open your mind to other people’s ideas and stop being so bloody contrary. And if you are not going to do that, at least stop wasting your breath trying to get other people to do things your way.

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