Notes From My Journal

Have a Plan? Have the Tenacity to Follow It?

Delray Beach- I regularly train with four guys, all of whom are multiple national or world champions. Three of them are half my age (or younger) but one is 50 years old. The way he kicks my butt is amazing, considering the fact that I’ve been doing this for 20 years and outweigh him by 40 pounds. I could rationalize this by noting that he’s a professional or that he’s been at it longer. But the truth is his greatest attribute is that he knows how to set objectives and he’s not afraid to do the work that is necessary to achieve them.

Last week he went off to compete in the Worlds. He’s won the Worlds before, but the competition is so fierce at that level that I was a little worried that he might not place, let alone win.

As you can see from the photo, he came in first.

This morning he sent this note to his students and training partners:

World 2018 was a great different experience. 

5 weeks before the event I had a hard decision to make, drop 19 pounds to compete at Light Feather.

Were tough 5 weeks with a lot of cardio sessions, a lot train, and more important an amazing diet plan from my friend Diogo Reis. 

Last 15 days I did over 100 rolls and over 15 hours of cardio. But with all that I was able to get at the day of the fight with 0.3 pounds in the morning.

I want to say thank you to all my train partner and my students to help me to get the Gold Medal.

For years I’m not fight for myself, I’m fight for you guys. I want to show you guys that with love for what you do, with dedication, hard work, sometimes with hard choices to make, with sacrifices to do, you can get what you want. 

Nothing going to come easy. Everyone out of there are training, working hard, dedicating a lot time to be on the top of the podium, at the tournament or in LIFE. 

If you want to be successful, have plan, follow as close as possible all the tasks, the goals that you set up. 


Today’s Word: behemoth (noun)

 A behemoth (bih-HEE-muth) is something that is extremely large and, often, powerful. As used by comedian Jenny Slate: “‘Saturday Night Live’ will always be this amazing, powerful behemoth, but it’s also not the only thing happening in comedy anymore.”


Fun Fact

Bones are 4 times stronger than concrete.


From my work in progress basket

How to Find a Good Lawyer

Question: What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer?

Answer: A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.

Another Question: What do you call a good lawyer who’s gone bad?

Answer: Senator.

Okay, I’ll be serious now.

Most of us don’t use lawyers every day, but we do use them. And when we use them, it very much matters whether they are good or bad.

So what makes a lawyer good? Let’s start to answer that question by saying what a bad lawyer is.

A bad lawyer, I’m sure you will agree, is one who agrees to do a job for you and then, because of circumstances under his control, bungles it. You ask him to fix a parking ticket for you, and you end up not only paying a big fine but also having your license revoked.

Another sure indication of a bad lawyer is one who charges you much more than the going rate.

The great majority of the legal work you are likely to need done in your private life is very routine and also very simple. I’m talking about contracts involving personal transactions and even contracts to buy cars and boats and homes. When you hire a lawyer to do it, you will be paying him for work that is mostly cutting and pasting. Any reasonably competent attorney can do it, so that sort of work can and should be subjected to price shopping.

But what about more complicated work? What about the sort of work that is not cut and paste? What about hiring a lawyer to reduce your taxes by 50% or sue someone that’s cheated you or get your kid out of jail?

Now we are talking about work that’s hard to quantify – both in terms of the time involved and all sorts of other considerations.

What do you do then? How do you determine who’s good in terms of getting a good result for a reasonable price?

It’s not easy. But I’ll tell you this. Be very leery of the idea that to get good legal representation for a complex legal issue you have to pay more.

Let me tell you a story.

A friend of mine, a young lawyer, took over his wife’s clients (she was a divorce lawyer) for two weeks while she was traveling.

He met with a half-dozen of them. And all they wanted to do was complain about their husbands. He’d listen politely for 10 or 20 minutes and then say, “Let’s cut to the chase. This is a 50/50 state. You are not going to get any more than 50% from him, even if you think he’s a scumbag.” And that was the end of the consultation.

He was proud of himself. He had given them good, solid advice and saved them many wasted billing hours. But when his wife came back, she got nothing but irate feedback from her clients. They were upset because they hadn’t gotten in their whining time.

This experience made my friend realize that the legal profession wasn’t for him. So he got out and went into a business where he could make an honest living.

Here’s another story.

My partner of long ago and I once hired a top New York law firm to settle a case with a government agency. We felt that we had been unfairly charged by the agency, and the law firm we hired assured us that they could get the case dropped. Two years and $600,000 in legal fees later, we ended up settling for the exact same terms that the agency had offered to us on day one.

I can also tell you stories of lawyers that took big money from clients and then sold them out in order to ingratiate themselves with the big shot law firm on the other side.

And if you haven’t figured this out already from watching our politicians, the size and reputation of a law firm has zero to do with how well they will represent you.

I’m not, by any means, suggesting that most lawyers are bad. Quite the contrary. The vast majority of them are very good. And when it comes to routine legal work, choosing one is pretty straightforward. Interview some candidates. See how you like them. Ask for their fees. What you are really looking for is a long-term relationship with someone who will do a good job for you (i.e., not cut corners) and, most importantly, not overcharge you.

But when it comes to hiring a lawyer for a specific purpose that is complicated and whose consequences are significant, you should proceed with caution.

Here are some guidelines:

Never hire a lawyer unless you trust him. That usually means a lawyer who speaks plainly and honestly about what he can and cannot do for you. When you interview him, he answers all your questions happily. He’s not trying to get your business. He’s trying to understand if he can help.

Never hire a lawyer if you can’t understand him. If he makes you feel dumb, he’s not doing that by accident. He’s doing it to ensure that he will be in charge of the relationship and you will do what he says.

Never hire a lawyer because someone told you he is “the best in the business.” That’s another way of saying he is extremely expensive and knows a hundred ways to ratchet up his fees. Unless you are a celebrity (in which case having you as a client would be a coup for him), there’s a good chance the fancy lawyer will sell you down the river.

In the same vein: Never hire a lawyer whose office is nicer than your home. When I walk into a law office and see expensive furniture and a great view, I think, “So this is what they want me to pay for.”

And the last and most important rule (and this applies whether you’re hiring a lawyer, a doctor, a contractor, or any other professional): Remember that he is working for you. Yes, you are paying him to give you advice. But you are also paying him to give you all the information you need to feel safe.

One final bit of advice: Make sure that you control the lawyer’s time. Get him to agree to a fixed fee up front. If he won’t do that, get him to give you an estimate… and lean on him to keep close to it.

And keep in mind that you can negotiate a lawyer’s bill if you think it’s too high. Most people don’t realize that you can do this, but big clients do it all the time.


Worth Quoting

“Music has a strange temporal permanence; as art decorates space, so does music decorate time.” – Gregory Ciotti