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What Do You Think About Competence, And The Role Of Wellbeing?

Heads up: September posts will examine the relationship between "competence" (as defined by Rule 1.1 of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of professional conduct) and lawyer wellbeing-- we'll all have the next month to think about that.

As a retired lawyer, I'm particularly interested in Rule 1.1 and its impact on the legal profession, but honestly, the issue effects all of us-- regardless of or vocation, or station in life. The desire to be competent in everything we do or say, is something we all share. We can certainly define "competence" in such a way as to include certain of us and exclude others but, at root, competence is about being the best we can possibly be.

The definition of "competence" aside, what am I talking about when I refer to, "wellbeing"? Well, I can tell you that I'm not talking about a puritanical kind of wellbeing, and I'm not talking about an exclusive, "all the time" or rigid, "without fail" kind of wellbeing.

am talking about an exercise or practice that fits your lifestyle and is employed when we think appropriate (according to our own decision, or the advice of a trained third-party advisor). For me, anything that cultivates a thoughtful awareness of how we feel about the people, places and things that we encounter and helps us learn to respond rather than react to them, is wellbeing.

Reaction is something we all know--it's instinctual, and it's the way our nervous system initially formed (e.g., the limbic system, generally, and the amygdala, in particular). But we can learn to harness the urgent power of impulse and express it in a more civil, respectful and (I believe) impactful way-- it's called, disagreeing without being disagreeable (credit to the prefrontal cortex, which is a significant component of our evolved nervous system).

Be it through self-directed physical, mental or emotional exercise and/or through work with a trained third-party professional, wellbeing is largely about learning to respond-- not react.

What do you think?


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