This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.
So when I was a toddler in primary school, at some point in standard 3, I began to top in my class.
At that age, for some reason, I had a nemesis (at least in my toddler’s eyes at the time) in my class. He never left an opportunity to bully me, mock me or even hit me.
He tried to establish that he was better than me and I wanted to prove him wrong with all I could manage.
So when the results came out, I asked him how much he scored. It was some mediocre marks while I had topped in class, scored full marks in maths and was on top of the world at the time. I wanted to claim victory by rubbing it on my nemesis’ face.
We think children are innocent, but just see what is going on inside a 7 year old’s head and you will be shocked.
Anyway, he had a comeback for me. He said you think you are smart because you got some marks? My mother said I am very smart and I can score even more than you if I just concentrate on studies. It’s a different thing that I don’t want to do that.
How accurate. It was prophetic. I still remember him saying those things while getting red with indignation. Sometimes the people we do not like, teach us the most important lessons.
Most of us can get the things we want. We just don’t do what we have to do to get them. We all are doing these self sabotaging activities in some area of life or the other. Most probably in all areas!
The only other thing I remember about my classmate so vividly and clearly is the incident where he shat his pants in class 2 and was sent home and three benches had to be evacuated because of the disgusting smell. Being as petty as I am, I heartily laughed at him until he was escorted out of the classroom.
No matter how much I grow up, I never outgrow that competitive kid who wanted to outshine everyone else and took pleasure at my supposed enemy’s humiliation.
I can now think back rationally and realise that he was a kid raised by a single mother, who worked incredibly hard to give him an education, and he suffered from all the problems a boy faces from not having a father figure in early childhood. I should not have been so hard on him! I can comprehend what a little prick I used to be as a kid. Maybe we could be good friends if we were not so petty and unnecessarily competitive.
Btw, even now in our school WhatsApp group he doesn’t let go of any opportunity to mock me, usually about my political views. He got an engineering degree and went on to do well in his career I believe and I am glad that it all worked out nicely for him.
But forget that story. I wanted to tell you about this phenomenon in our lives, and it’s all pervasive.
We usually know what to do, and still we don’t manage to do it!
We can all have the achievements we want, only if we concentrate and focus on them!
And the shocking thing is that we don’t despite those achievements being so near our grasp.
We tell ourselves stories about how hard it is to get there, and what crazy sacrifices we have to make in order to be successful, which are usually totally wrong. Most of the times, these stories were passed down to us by people we trusted as children.
The primary school kid knew it, and most of us grown ups forget about it. We behave like we are forever trapped where we are in our lives, except that the reality is we are only trapped by our refusal to do what it takes to grow.
At primary school level, studying is very easy. There are these tiny, illustrated books. Anyone can study for a few hours and crack the exam. Even in lower high school classes, such as standard 6 or 7, I could study for 10-12 hours before the exam for most subjects and score near the top of class. I occasionally even topped. I wasn’t good with articulating or structuring my answers at that point, and if I did know that skill, I have no doubt that I would have topped without breaking a sweat every single time.
This is true for most of us. Even if you would have taken 20 or 30 or 40 hours compared to my 10-12, that does not change the situation much, because 40 or even 50 hours in 6 months is no big deal really. If you study the whole day before exams also, it’s barely 4-5 days of dedicated study per subject.
If that’s hard for you, try studying a little throughout the season. Studying with focus for a couple of hours a day for a month could make one score really well. Still, most people didn’t score as per their hopes. Most people struggle with academics.
We all heard it. We are still blind to it.
People who are not good at academics are told that they are not studious. They were told that they need more discipline. Practice, practice, practice, and do it all day – we heard. We were told we need to study day and night and only then we will have a bright future and a great career.
What a terrible and wrong thing to teach to kids. And at least I grew up with that misguided belief. I suffered my entire childhood and young adulthood under the burden of that unnecessary notion.
I think a lot of us were turned off by the idea that if we are not studying all the time then we were not doing enough.
If I tell you that is untrue, many of you will find it super hard to believe!
We were put off from academics by the idea that good students must study a lot, all the time, round the year. Even though I was doing well in academics, I grew up with the feeling of inadequacy and insecurity that I was not doing enough.
I wish someone told me that I need not study day and night, all the time, to be successful.
I needed consistency over intensity. I didn’t have to be 100% intense 100% of the time. If I was 20% intense for 20% of the time it was more than enough.
I just needed a strategy. I needed a clear game plan. I just needed a couple of hours of focused work, and that too not every day.
Things got better in college somewhere right in the middle of it, when I was able to get rid of this notion, and wanted to optimise the time I had for studying.
I was doing a lot of side hustles to earn money and build up my blogs like CLAThacker, iPleaders and A First Taste of Law (now shut down). I managed a team of 20 law students for my freelance business on top of that. I also mooted, and did a lot of other extra curricular activities. I needed to save time so I could continue to earn without jeopardizing my academics.
I looked for ways to study less and score more. And that’s how I began to get even better academic results.
When you follow a well planned strategy rather than generic wisdom that if you study a lot you will get a lot of marks and that you need to be a bookworm 24×7 to be a topper, you are more likely to do well.
When you break down what you have to do strategically and find easier ways to accomplish those sets of small and defined tasks, you do way much better with way less work, because your efforts are concentrated, focused and systematic.
Like I say often, systematic work always trump will power and good intentions.
The other major lesson I want you to take away from this is that it’s important to avoid bad advice. There is a lot of it around you that holds you back. Such advice will come from your parents, teachers and peers. Very often, they don’t know what they are talking about and are just passing on what they have picked up from others.
Get your advice from the best sources. Real experts who are recognised as thought leaders doing breakthrough work rather than the next person who is not successful in his or her own life. It’s possible today to go to such sources thanks to incredible growth in information technology and the internet.
Get your advice from people who can afford to charge for their advice! If they are charging for it, or if it is a part of their job, that means their advice is market tested and validated, or else they won’t survive in the market in the first place!
Also, we have a lot to unlearn. A lot of what our teachers, professors, seniors and other people in positions of authority have told us about how to succeed needs to be questioned and scrutinized.
Doing this well may provide the keys to many a treasure troves of success.
Primary school or High School is easy. How about something complex like success as a lawyer?
The goal is much bigger here. So is the reward. And therefore competition. No doubt that the challenge is far bigger and problems are harder to conquer.
But even then, it is not true that you have to work on it day and night, incessantly without getting early rewards, and give up hope of having any reasonable work-life balance if you want to succeed as a lawyer, and especially if you want to be an extraordinary lawyer.
There is a school of thought that one must work day and night, without stopping, with all one can muster at building a legal career, and only then, after struggling for years and years, one can hope for some success. You don’t succeed before turning your hair grey, this school believes.
It’s all over high school again. Same misinformation. Same myth in a different form.
Or think of the belief that one has to toil in a law firm 14-16 hours per day in order to save their job or be eligible for a small bonus. And that’s apart from giving up self-respect, autonomy and care for one’s own mental health.
Why do so many talented lawyers actually go through this?
Lawyers have to walk through this hell because there are no systematic ways to prepare them for the work they have to do. They try to learn the job while doing the job, and that’s obviously very scary and difficult.
Imagine surgeons having to learn how to do surgeries while working on live patients without ever being given any previous practical training. That’s what young lawyers have to face every day and that’s what ruins their peace and make career progression hard.
My learnings from my academic and professional life told me that there must be a better and more systematic way to train lawyers to do their job, without all these blood and tears that they are made to undergo.
And from 10 years of toiling and pursuing that idea, and contribution from hundreds of accomplished lawyers towards this goal, you have what we offer today through LawSikho. Courses that accelerate the creation of extraordinary lawyers.
We can’t make you extraordinary in a year but we can firmly establish you on the path to extraordinariness, especially because most lawyers today do not have access to such sophisticated systems to rapidly learn practical aspects of law. You will be miles ahead of most.
So in the battleground of the legal career, you can be assured that our LawSikho graduates have the enviable upper hand, and it is a result of systematically designed regular practice. Give us 8-10 hours a week, and nothing will be the same again in your career.
So here is the offer. We are telling you to replace the vague idea in your head that you need to do indefinite but massive amount of work to succeed as a lawyer and you probably are not very clear about how that is supposed to happen.
We are telling you that we have a tried and tested, step-by-step, precise and systematic program that you can just follow without any worry and you will get to a definite point of capability and success as a lawyer.
It’s just like a 6 week body transformation program I have been following. I am on the 2nd week, and unfortunately I have not been regular and have done what I was supposed to do in 2 weeks over 2 months, but there is definitely a massive difference in how I look in the mirror, in a way I love.
Half the battle is to know what exactly one has to do.
When that is broken down, made simple and put into step-by-step exercises, achieving the goal becomes far easier, even if we are quite bad at following them.
And that is what makes LawSikho magical. We have a lot of offer, see how much you can take away.
Here are the courses we have opened for enrollment currently:
Diploma in Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Laws
Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
Diploma in M&A, Institutional Finance and Investment Laws (PE and VC transactions)
Diploma in Cyber Law, Fintech Regulations and Technology Contracts
Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws
Diploma in Companies Act, Corporate Governance and SEBI Regulations
Executive Certificate Courses
Certificate in Labour, Employment and Industrial Laws for HR Managers
Certificate Course in Advanced Criminal Litigation & Trial Advocacy
Certificate course in Companies Act
Certificate course in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
Certificate Course in Advanced Corporate Taxation
Certificate Course in Advanced Civil Litigation: Practice, Procedure and Drafting