Passage No. 69 strikes me as being especially useful for lawyers:
“There is no greater disaster
than making light of your opponent:
Making light of your opponent almost always
results in losing your long term treasures
as easily as leaves fall from the trees."
Isn't that the truth? As lawyers, we sometimes become too confident. After we smack down a pro se litigant or overwhelm an under-resourced lawyer, we think we are so smart and invincible. But, to our chagrin, these opponents often then fight the hardest.
In contrast, sometimes we come up against a more experienced opponent, and his arrogance helps us slice, dice and deep-fry him. That’s why the wise lawyer treats all opponents as if they were Clarence Darrow.
Think respect for an opponent equals weakness? Read “Inner Excellence: Achieve Extraordinary Business Success through Mental Toughness." Jim Murphy writes that the most humble people he has ever met are the Navy SEALs. Before each mission, they look at all scenarios — not what can go right but, more importantly, what can go wrong. They do it no matter the identity of the opponent.
Being humble is not being weak. It is being smart, which is, I think, what Lao Tzu was trying to tell us.