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There are two types of people in this world � those who never set goals and those who never reach them. I tend to gravitate towards the middle, especially this time of year. I always have the greatest of intentions. When I was a boy, I wanted to be Superman. It wasn’t so much an official goal as it was my destiny. Much like my sons do now, I ran around the house for countless hours in nothing but underwear and a cape. The cape, and possibly the underwear, empowered me to dive off tables and chairs, knock over expensive decorations, and launch into orbit from my parents’ bed. I was invincible. As I grew older, my goals slowly shifted from fantasy to reality. For example, when I was nine, I had a goal to be the best bike racer in the world, so I asked Santa for a BMX bike. He brought me a bike, but it was a humongous contraption we now call a mountain bike. Sure, it’s popular these days, but back then my friends laughed their heads off as I � looking like a little kid trying to ride his dad’s bicycle � chased after them as they rode their sleek racing bikes. I now recognize that it is difficult to attain goals that depend on the efforts of others, like Santa, who failed me (again) a few years ago when he forgot to bring my wife a present, for which I was blamed. That is probably why I chose law school. It is student vs. student � the truest “survivor” competition of them all, not that wimpy “team vs. team” stuff they do in business school. And it is a good thing, too, because lawyers soon realize that instead of capes on their backs, they wear targets on their chests. Having matured by this age of my life, I took a few moments before law school to set a few modest goals: mow down the competition; preside over the law review; and graduate number one. On my second day of class I ran into a roadblock � my Contracts professor. I am pretty sure her goal was to simply “humble the students,” but to me and a few other students it felt like “humiliate and demoralize the students.” I was asked to stand and answer questions about some case I apparently did not understand in the least. My mouth and brain froze; I couldn’t even breathe. After torturing me for a few minutes and introducing me to the legal term “slippery slope,” my teacher offered to let me off of the hook if I could answer a question about Shakespeare, her favorite author. Not wanting to further expose my ignorance, I declined and continued to try and answer questions framed after the manner of another “S” guy � no, not Superman or Santa � Socrates. I’m grateful for that learning experience, as it taught me lots of invaluable lessons, like how my cape would have been ideal at that time to enhance my memory and/or erase my professor’s memory. Or to invisibilize me. (Take that Shakespeare!) It also helped me re-focus my goals: graduate and pass the bar. And, I’m proud to say I did so, despite all of the slippery slopes I had to ascend in the process. Thereafter I did a one-year clerkship. My goal that year was to take a break before starting a real job at a law firm. Little did I realize my judge’s goal was to whip me into law firm shape. Although my clerkship was a lot of work, I’m truly grateful for all of those experiences, even my least favorite task: making coffee for the office. I don’t drink coffee, let alone make it. Apparently I didn’t need a cape for this task, earning my judge’s praise and, I believe, the highest compliment he ever bestowed upon any of his law clerks: “If lawyering doesn’t work out, you’ll always have a future at Starbucks.” That praise gave me the confidence I had been looking for and evolved into the only goal I consistently follow today: do my best and let the rest take care of itself. My Superman cape? Yeah, I still crave it, but even Superman is vulnerable � after all, his first encounter with Kryptonite must have been very enlightening, not to mention a little dissolving. (I could make some apt comparisons between my professor and Lex Luther, but my editor thinks it unwise.) One day shortly after I began lawyering, I realized that I was about two hours away from missing a deadline to file a $1 million proof of claim. I frantically tried to file the claim on time, wondering if my law career was already at an end. As I did so, I began to mentally shut down, much like I did in Contracts several years before. All I could think about was the devastating effect a million dollar judgment would have against my vast holdings that consisted of a ’95 Geo Prism, my now antiquated mountain bike, and a whopping $1,500 of equity in my new house. But, like a ray of light, I remembered my goal to just do my best. It calmed me down and I miraculously filed the claim on time, narrowly avoiding a career at Starbucks with four minutes to spare. That is the power of goals! � and the cape I still wear, hidden under my shirt. Scott Brown � the less well-known of the “S” guys � is a partner with Lewis and Roca in Phoenix. He can be seen flying over most parts of the world this time of year, searching for Santa and that elusive BMX bike.

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