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“It’s very easy to have slogans and rhetoric that people will follow, but eventually the slogans fall away.”
– Saad Hariri

Playing like a repeating sound track, transfigured words spinning around my head. Words echoing between my ears, slogans that won’t fade.

That won’t fall away.

I am impressionable these last few months.

Words said as inspirational slogans, words meant to be exhortative are having a lasting effect. They are becoming embedded in my psyche. Playing in a loop, conditioning my responses, long after they dropped  from the lips which gave birth to them.

It’s surreal because it’s meant to be that way. We’re meant to hear them, feel inspired and then forget these wild words, dangerous when they are entrenched in the mind.

One of them has proven to be  useful.

I have playing on a loop in my head, constantly affirming :

 “Everything that I have been through, every experience I have had, every person I have met, has prepared me for today“.

A powerful idea that has helped conquer the challenges of the last few months.

The strangeness of the business world at Pinsent Masons was one instance. I had spent enough time working through my summer internships and  watching my dad. I could handle this world; handle it well. Things learned before were stretched and adapted to a new world.

This success bought another challenge, facing an interview for the first time. I’d never done an interview before I walked through the doors at Pinsent Masons for my formal interview. I’d done my research; Google  and a sustained interrogation of James  gave  me a good idea of what would be asked and what responses to deploy against the standard interview questions. Skills I’d acquired before; pressed into service .

More recently the sustained pressure of the Advocacy program here on the PCLL has been a challenge. Coupled with the expectations and pressure of Ramadan, I’ve felt as close as I have to the breaking point in a long time.

The advocacy, scheduled on Saturday mornings, is the most demanding part of this course.It requires the most work to perform well. All advocacy in the end is preparation. The more you know the material, the more you have considered the arguments, the easier it is.

The challenge is the volume of material that they give us,

The public speaking I can do. My MUN experience has given me enough practice in being relaxed and measured in my tone for that not to be a strain. I’ve spent enough time performing during religious functions to be free of most performance anxiety. A little bit of nervousness you need to keep you sharp.

I knew how to deal with volumes of papers. I’d spent a summer watching Andrew White QC deal with over 75 box files of material. My time spent in barristers’ chambers, watching those whose jobs are the skill that I am being taught is being put to use. I remember their methods, their suggestions and their tricks. I am fortunate enough to have observed some of the best practitioners at work, and they had shown me their methods.

I already possessed everything I needed. All there was for me to do was to synthesize the attributes I already had.

A much easier task.

In a sense this world view is a simplification. I take tasks and break them down into their components. I find where I’ve done them before. I apply the skills that I took on board that time and apply them to this problem. The worry naturally is that I’m stuck slightly in the past. I’m not facing the problem as it is now, but as I faced it in the past.

I appreciate that this is part of learning, this is what it means to possess a human memory, learning from our previous experience to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes again. I’m happy with that part.

What I’m worried about is what I’ll do when this mantra fails. What happens when I encounter something of which I have no prior experience. When none of the things that I have done before can be twisted into application.

I know everything has to be done for the first time once. There will always be a first time that we take a  risk or venture beyond our limits.

That is how we grow.

This mantra of mine emphasizes preparation. It focuses on knowing what’s going to happen. It doesn’t teach dealing with the unexpected. Reacting on the fly to a situation that flattens you and knocks the wind from your sails. That’s a significant problem.

I suspect, that in time, I’ll pick up enough experience not be too worried. The unexpected will be sprung on me  enough that I’ll learn to cope with it better. Each improvement, will become an experience. An experience that I’ll learn from to prepare for the next time.

So I won’t worry.

There’s no need to get ahead of myself.