Do I look good? I wanted to figure this out when I was a teenager.

I grew up with tremendous insecurity that I may be ugly. I was even told that I am ugly a few times. As a teenager, that felt horrible.

Many times I was told that I am cute, good looking, handsome etc, but the funny thing is that I barely registered those compliments but held onto the barbs forever.

Now in the ripe age of 31, I know only I can answer this question. And the answer is that I neither look good or look bad by default. Most of whether I look good or bad depends on me.

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Sure, genetics is a factor. It determines whether I will be balding or not, my height, my propensity to get fat or develop wrinkles on my skin etc.

But it’s at best a minor factor. Even the worst effect is nothing that cannot be overcome with human ingenuity and effort.

Largely how I am perceived to look  depends on factors entirely on things under my control. That includes superficial factors such as my clothing, grooming, haircut, fitness, even social status. It depends on how much I smile and my overall personality.

There are some factors that are not in my control. There are however a lot more, that can totally be managed or worked upon.

And you can beat factors that are not in your control if you work on them. For example, you are getting tons of pimples. Scratch that, make it ugly warts.

It’s genetics. Or circumstances not in your control. But can you get treatment for it? Absolutely. The pimple prevention face wash is unlikely to work though, I tried. I had to see a dermatologist and had to take medicine for 6 months.

And my dermatologist wasn’t giving me that medicine until I read about it online during my research and questioned him about the inefficacy of what he has been prescribing me till then.

So yeah, if you take things in your own hands and push enough, you can turn around even something like how you look.

I don’t feel ugly. I feel great. That’s my truth.

It’s not much different when it comes to being a good lawyer. You probably wonder, do you have the talent to become a great lawyer?

Do you have the intelligence? What’s your IQ score?

Maybe you are not a great public speaker, what about that?

Maybe you are an introvert, and have an inherent disadvantage as far as lawyering is concerned?

Maybe you are too nice and not at all argumentative, does that mean you are not in a good place to become a powerful lawyer?

Maybe you can’t pour over boring documents for hours and hours? Isn’t that necessary to be a good lawyer?

Yes, there are factors like intelligence, patience, ability to work hard, your physical and mental health that influences one’s performance as a lawyer. It may seem that some of it is not immediately under your control.

Can you still make a kick-ass, world-shaking, extraordinary lawyer?

Absolutely. There are so many factors under your control.

You cannot control who your father knows or whether your batchmates will get jobs in big firms through their uncle’s recommendations.

But you can build your own network. You can impress people who would be ready to recommend you based on their experience with you, or out of respect for the kind of work you are doing.

Is that in your control?

It is.

You don’t need to be the most intelligent person around to do respectable work.

It requires competence. It requires willingness. It requires sacrifice. It requires consistency. It requires time, money, effort, resources.

It requires you to make progress every day.

It may require you to sign out of the collective desperation, disappointment and hopelessness of people around you and work on the things you want to work on anyway.

What are the factors in your control that can increase your chances of going to the next level of being a great lawyer?

What steps could you take to make yourself a better lawyer?

What action have you taken in the last one week to make yourself a better lawyer? What about last one month?

Would you like to embark on a journey of a lifetime? Do you want an environment, a support system, a community which is committed to becoming extraordinary lawyers?

Do you want to work minutely on different fundamental legal skills one at a time, with guidance of experienced coaches?

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