As part of the coursework for Legal Problem Solving (LPS), all students contribute a post to this course blog. Students develop posts from a weekly journal entry, which also is required coursework. The purpose of journal entries is to invite deeper, personal reflection on the subject matter in LPS, reflection being a key component of content understanding and mastery. This course explores how human centered design and other creative problem solving methods and mindsets inform three areas: (1) the delivery of legal services, (2) how we solve clients' (legal) problems, and (3) how law students can intentionally shape their professional journeys. Each student post will touch on one or more of these three areas.
This LPS post is by Jimmy Maners, Vanderbilt Law School class of 2019.
It feels like I’m on the back foot if I don’t complete my routine. I actually feel as though I’ve robbed myself of a nurturing, positivity laden start to the day.
As a 2L in Vanderbilt Law School’s Legal Problem Solving Course, I was recently asked to complete at least three days of Morning Pages. As many of you may know, Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages, and they entail writing about anything and everything that crosses your mind. The main purpose of Morning Pages is to provoke, clarify, comfort, and prioritize your day. However, I feel that they accomplish much more than just that. Morning Pages can serve as both a gateway to positive thinking and success, and they allow you to clearly visualize your life’s goals, desires, and dreams.
History has shown that positive thinking is an extremely important mindset to have. Those with an optimistic outlook on life are the ones who usually find the most success. For me, Morning Pages granted an opportunity to change an anxious, and/or negative attitude about my future into a positive one that facilitated a completely different outlook on both my personal and professional life. Morning Pages increased my positivity, and I believe a main reason behind this is that the exercise forced me to visualize both what I wanted my day to look like and what I thought I wanted a successful life to entail.
Tapping into your ability to visualize or imagine can be used as a powerful tool to become more positive. Many of the world's greatest minds, including Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been known to use the power of visualization to attract what they desire throughout life. Studies have shown that concentrated visualization efforts work because your subconscious mind does not like the conflict that exists between your current situation and what you are visualizing. It will try to resolve that conflict and move toward your visualized reality. Your subconscious is like the mediator, trying to achieve a way to get to what you’re seeing.
Although it seems like a long time ago, I was a punter for the Clemson University football team. There, I tried to harness the power of visualization to improve my performance both on the practice field and in games. By using a series of visualization techniques, I started to experience the incredible benefits of taking the time to picture myself succeeding before I ever stepped foot onto the field. I visualized every little detail, from how I was standing, to how I wanted the ball to feel coming off my foot, to what I wanted the flight of the ball to look like while it was in the air. The more vivid my mind was, the better the punt and my performance seemed to be.
In turn, I have been able to harness the power of visualization through Morning Pages. By writing whatever comes into your head, the exercise compels you to visualize your words. In turn, visualizing your words forces you to think of what you want your day, week, month, year, or life to look like. Consequently, by writing for three pages every morning, you can bring your life’s goals, ideas, and desires into focus. Moreover, by visualizing these items you are much more likely to bring these thoughts, ideas, and desires into fruition.
You don’t need to spend endless hours thinking or visualizing. Simply get in the habit of writing every morning and this will add a positive vision into your everyday life. By visualizing yourself succeeding, achieving every goal, and completing every task there is no telling what all you can do and where you can go. Although it takes action to back up your positive visualizations, if you see where you want to go it is very likely you can trick your subconscious into taking you there. As a result of these positive life-changing effects, I have made Morning Pages a pivotal part of my success arsenal. I firmly believe that if you implement Morning Pages and practice these techniques, you will be better connected to the flow of both your day and your life and become more positive than you ever have before.