Wednesday, September 21, 2016

You Will Never Be Ready, So Start Working Now

This week, I started my 'Drafting Against The Dark Arts' tutorial classes for the new semester, attended by weary-eyed final year law students.

Drafting is a mysterious and difficult art to master. So it's not enough that the students get their feet wet. They need to be thrown into the deep end of the ocean, in order to learn. Yes, sink or swim, folks! No mercy for the weak!

Here's the opening speech I delivered for this week's session:

And NO Muggles allowed!

* * *

My job is not to make you feel ready for practice. My job is to make you realise how far you are from being ready.

Don't think that once this semester and the next are over, you will have what it takes to be a lawyer. Because you won't, no matter how hard you try. What you will discover, instead, is just how unready you are – your gaps, your flaws. That's the irony of law school – the closer you get to graduate, the more scared you feel about graduating. And so you should be. The more you learn, the more you realise that there's so much law out there that you don't know about. As Socrates once said: “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Those who think they’ve made it, won’t make it. Those who think they still have a long way to go, will go furthest in life. You think all your A’s and trophies will propel you to the stars? Think again. You’ve barely lifted off a few metres. All the good work you have done has maybe gotten you past the atmosphere. In a year’s time, hopefully, you’ll be out in space. Alone. In the dark. Searching for new worlds. Scream for help all you want, but in space no one can hear you. That’s when the real journey starts.

Yes, you are alone, all alone

And then there are those of you who know you're not ready, and are too scared to do anything about it. Opportunities after opportunities come by, but you wave them away. “No time,” you say, “my friends don’t want to join, and I can’t work with that asshole.”

Bullshit. Stop making excuses. Stop making demands. By the time you wait until you are ready, the opportunity will be long gone. By the time you wait for the stars to align, the world will have ended. Life is never perfect. Life does not hand you lemons each time you thirst for lemonade. Don’t waste time searching for the perfect recipe. Just make the best out of the imperfect ingredients that you have. No lemons? Use lime instead. Adapt. Improvise. As Teddy Roosevelt once said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Shit happens, shit piles up. Stop sitting around whining about how unfair life is and how mean people are. You’re the captain of your own ship. So take control. Start flying, even if you're not ready. Learn more than you need to. Take up fresh challenges. Get used to working with friends, strangers and even enemies.

You may not be ready for what I’m about to teach you. But that’s the whole point. I do not wish to teach you and test you on things you are ready for. What’s the point? Whatever you’re ready for, I’m sure you're good at it already. Whatever you’re not ready for, that’s where I can really help you. You may not understand the full extent of my teachings. But you will, someday – if not today, then tomorrow or maybe years down the road. Don’t worry. Truth takes time to sink. Wisdom takes time to grow.

The universe is large, dark and full of terrors. But the sooner you launch yourself into space, the quicker you’ll reach the stars.

You’re never going to be ready for practice. All the more reason to start working hard now.

kbye

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