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It’s Not Personal

by Alan Schoonmaker |  Published: Jun 21, 2017


Phil Ivey once said: “The minute you take anything personally at the poker table, you’re done.” The same principle applies to much more important situations. When we lose our detachment, we can’t make good decisions. Since prevention is much easier than correction, we should avoid situations that make us react too personally. For example, surgeons don’t operate on their relatives. They know their judgment would be impaired. Lawyers are an even better example for poker players because they play a game like ours, one with winners and losers. The losers take the natural conflicts too personally, and the winners stay cool and impersonal. Lawyers may look like uncontrolled brawlers, but the reality is completely the opposite. All good lawyers depersonalize conflicts. When they have a personal legal problem, they retain another lawyer. They want a cool, detached advocate who can view the situation dispassionately. They follow a simple adage: The ...

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