Why are so many lawyers good at golf? – What your activities can reveal about you to others

9 09 2011

Tim is a golfer but not just any golfer.  Unlike me, he is actually pretty good.  His disposition is made for golf.  He’s the kind of guy that will analyze every part of his swing mechanics and make small adjustments until he takes an extra stroke off his game.  He doesn’t over adjust because he’s always got his eye on the prize — getting the ball in the hole.

Alex Angarita Blog golf-lesson

Alex Angarita Blog golf

It’s not any wonder that this ability to focus on the details while maintaining a drive towards a single goal is what is going to make Tim a great lawyer some day.  Successful lawyers are detail oriented people who can and do spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of hours breaking down the facts and making small adjustments to every nuance in a complicated case.  The best ones keep their eye on the prize –winning the case for their clients.  This is exactly the kind of mentality that is often displayed by golfers like Tim.  It’s no wonder that Tim’s golf analogy on his essay helped him get into a top 25 law school.  It’s also no wonder why so many lawyers love golf.  This is why it’s important to understand how your activities can reflect things about you to admissions officers or potential employers, even subconsciously.  You can point out the link in an anecdote during an interview, if it’s appropriate, and it’s often a great way to catch the attention of someone reading another cookie cutter essay or resume.  Just make sure you can live up to the hype.  Attorneys take their golf pretty seriously.

Staying Focused – How not to let life’s little surprises knock you off your game.

31 08 2011

It’s been a while since I posted a blog entry but my recent near death experience canyoneering in Utah made this all too relevant not to share.  Ok, so maybe I wasn’t so close to death but it was a close one and brought home an invaluable lesson about staying focused.  I was on a Manventure for my buddy’s bachelor party in Zion National Park, Utah earlier this month. If you’ve never been and want to see some beautiful red rocks, nature for miles.

So, there I was… dangling 50 feet up in the air while rappelling down the deepest canyon when a big bag full of heavy ropes hit me  on the back of the head.  I was naturally shaken but I focused on every detail of my hands grabbing onto the ropes as I continued my descent.  It wasn’t the fastest drop but I was just happy I was still in one piece!

I often talk to clients about how important it is to stay focused and not get distracted by what might go wrong when you’re in the middle of an important task.  Even though being hit in the head was jarring, taking my focus off the rope because of my fear would have only turned a small headache into a trip to the hospital or worse.

If you’re tacking a big scary task that requires lots of concentration like taking the GMATs, tackling that big scary test, or you’re in the middle of that presentation for your new boss, it’s all about staying focused and not letting distractions into your consciousness. Don’t let your fears get the best of you.  Remember, you are in control.  Breathe, focus intensely on the smallest details of the task at hand and let everything else go blank.  Don’t let a little thing into a big one by loosing your cool and most importantly…Don’t Look Down!

Good luck out there and see you on the other side,


Bringing Out Your Inner Adventurer

15 09 2010

Speaking to a UC Berkeley student going into his last year of college reminded me of Russell Crowe’s final moments before his showdown in Gladiator.  Our Berkely gladiator was pre-med and thinking about applying to law school, or business school or maybe dental school.  He was decisively indecisive. But one thing was clear, he was ready for the end of his life as he knew it.  It was both impressive and sad.  Life was about to get serious and he was preparing for it as if he was going into battle.  My unsolicited advice to him was clear, never stop adventuring.  Life’s adventures keep you young and they are like buying insurance for success and longevity in your career.

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Just Breathe: Lessons from the Philippines

14 04 2010

Breathing is the easiest thing to do to reduce stress and focus but how often do you take a moment to focus on it? When I was last in the Philippines I went scuba diving for the very first time. I was all wound up, worrying about everything under the sun. Our dive master kept saying that all we had to was focus on our breathing. I was only halfway listening but as soon as I was under water, it made perfect sense.

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The Power of Creation

18 03 2010

Sometimes making a go of it in the real world feels like nothing short of surviving in the jungle but its important to remember your personal power of creation. The first time I really understood this was when I had to start a fire without matches or a lighter while on Survivor Fiji.

In Fiji, I remember sitting in front of a pile of firewood and some dried coconut husks holding a machete in one hand and a flint stone in the other wondering what the hell I was going to do next. I would have looked completely incompetent if I wasn’t able to start a fire. Very nervously, I banged the machete against the flint stone and nothing. I tried again and again. Nothing. I got so mad (starving will do that to you very quickly) that I just went crazy whacking away in the middle of the jungle. To my surprise, the frantic banging did the trick. I was ecstatic. I had accomplished a simple task that any self respecting cave person could have done and yet I felt like I had just invented the light bulb. I felt such personal power. I had created something out of nothing. Not to be too dramatic but I had, through my willpower and perseverance, converted the energy around me to create the very source of life.

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Rock climbing: strategic risk applied to job/school applications and standardized tests.

25 02 2010

Strategic risk taking is a valuable instinct in rock climbing but it also has practical applications in your career.  Whether you are a senior executive applying for a new job or a high school student taking the SAT, understanding and conveying a gut instinct for strategic risk taking is essential to success.

On my latest trip to Thailand, I had the opportunity to go rock climbing in Koh Phi Phi (means Phi Phi beach).  Aside from avoiding certain death by the hands of a gang of wild monkeys, I also gained some insights into strategic risk taking.

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Thailand – Finding my Fighting Instinct

3 02 2010

On my trip to Thailand over the weekend I decided that I would fight a small professional Thai fighter that would do a quick demo for me so I could experience a “Thai fight” without actually risking an official beat down.  I ended up in an amateur Muay Thai fight on a random island egged on by my testosterone infused buddies.  Was it a good idea?  Absolutely not and I am sure as hell never doing that again. But I did learn a valuable lesson about trusting my instincts.

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