Is Unbridled Optimism Holding You Back? Exploring the Downside with Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux


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Do you struggle with keeping realistic expectations? In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, Tyson and Jim share their insights on unbridled optimism and how it relates to the field of law.

Unbridled optimism involves the idea of being overly optimistic and not focusing on the right things. Jim and Tyson share the reasons why people tend to act this way. For some, it is done to avoid having negative conversations. Being optimistic turns your mind away from potential downfall or feelings of heartache. As it relates to the legal field, it is important to see a problem and figure out how to address it. For Jim and Tyson, it could be seeing a dip in email signups, thinking about why it happened and finding ways to solve the problem.

Jim and Tyson share the importance of accurate thinking. Things are not always going to go your way and decisions you think are good will not deliver perfect results every time. Accurate thinking involves being realistic about the outcomes of situations. Setting benchmarks can help create action. If something does not go according to plan, set a benchmark or action that will lead to another result.

Listen in to learn more!

Episode Highlights:

  • 1:35 Let's talk about the negative impact of unbridled optimism
  • 11:18 Explanation of the Stockdale Paradox
  • 13:04 Importance of accurate thinking and setting benchmarks


Transcripts: Is Unbridled Optimism Holding You Back? Exploring the Downside with Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux

Jim (00:01.492)
Good morning everybody. Happy Saturday. Just so you know, Tyson and I are actually recording an episode for today's Saturday session. Tyson, how are you doing?

Tyson (00:10.498)
I am doing all right, brother. How you doing?

Jim (00:13.86)
Your eyes look cool, I don't know if it's the light or what, but you look like, uh, I don't know, you look pretty cool.

Tyson (00:19.822)
Look at my blue eyes, baby. It's just one of those blue eyed days. It's funny, have I ever told you that one of my eyes is green and one of it's blue? One of them's blue. If you look really close, I don't know if you…

Jim (00:29.152)
Mm. Yeah, I can see the right one's green and the left one's blue. Yeah, that is.

Tyson (00:34.798)
Crazy, right?

Tyson (00:38.402)
But uh…

Jim (00:38.98)
All right, so let's start the episode and then we can talk.

Tyson (00:42.055)
Okay, cool.

Jim (00:44.416)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:47.898)
And I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up Jimbo?

Jim (00:51.692)
Well, we haven't recorded an episode with you in the car for a while. Luckily, you're not driving. You did pull over because you're on your way to court. Um, I guess you're going to get dressed when you get to court. Is that the deal?

Tyson (01:02.098)
Yeah, I don't like to wear it, like I don't like to drive in my suit. So I know that seems a little nutty, but I just don't like, I don't like the wrinkles it causes, it's not comfortable. So yeah, I change when I get there.

Jim (01:16.536)
We could probably do a whole episode on that because like, I like to dress up with everything but the tie. So I fold my tie into my jacket. I don't wear my jacket in the car. And then I just like to do my tie with my reflection in the mirror or the reflection of the window of the car out in the parking lot, which sometimes is weird because then clients come up to you while you're still getting dressed.

Tyson (01:35.314)
Yeah, I've definitely had that. I've been with Mark Hammer before and he's like doing the tie in the elevator, you know. He's a he's a magician with those ties.

Jim (01:46.477)
That's funny. Well, I'm excited about our topic today. Do you want me to introduce it for everyone listening?

Tyson (01:51.85)
Yeah, you've got an interesting one. I'm interested in this, so fire away.

Jim (01:58.752)
All right, so, you know, we've both read Carol Dweck's book, Mindset, and in that book, she talks a lot about an open mindset and a closed mindset. And I think that is a good way of thinking about, you know, how you frame things, how you look at struggle, how you look at trying to overcome things. I think that's good, but I also think a lot of people view the world as an optimist or a pessimist. And I wanted to talk today about

the downside of unbridled optimism. In other words, when you're always thinking that right around the corner, something good is gonna happen, that even though there's objective proof in front of your eyes, that things may not be so great, you sort of disregard that because you're just so confident of your cause. And what brought this sort of to mind was, a friend of ours,

has decided to close their law firm. And it's someone that we were close to that we're very fond of, and I think frankly we didn't realize that things were as dire as they were. And so this isn't at all particular about that person, but it just triggered this idea and recollections for me about times in my life as a law firm owner where I've been overly optimistic, and maybe, and this is again just me, not focused on the right things.

Tyson (03:23.83)
Yeah, this came up the other day when we were talking and then it made me think about the book Man's Search for Meaning, which was that he talked a lot about that in his book where the people that the optimists were the ones that died the fastest because in the concentration camps, yes, thanks for that. I think that context is important. So the people, not in general, the people that were in the concentration camps, they died the…

Jim (03:42.898)
in the concentration camps.

Tyson (03:51.958)
the fastest the optimist did because it wasn't realistic. And so every time, basically we're gonna be saved tomorrow, we're gonna be saved tomorrow. And then every time that it happened, it was very demoralizing. And so you have to be really grounded. And I, yeah, and to not make this about that particular person, I do think that we do that sometimes. You know what I mean? Like we…

It's a natural thing and it may not just be your law firm. I think in general and The other part of this too is like sometimes we might be eternal optimists in some parts of our lives But not others, which I think that that's an interesting thing too where You might tell yourself that your kids are they're gonna win this game, right? They're really gonna win this game or they're gonna win this tournament and the reality is there's they have no chance There's just no chance

And I do, it's funny how you kind of have gravitated to that book and I've gravitated to Man's Search for Meaning because it is, the negative effects of being this eternal optimist which sounds like a very positive thing, there's really negative effects to

Jim (05:06.308)
Well, it's funny that you brought up sports because, um, you know, I coached my boys baseball all through grade school up until eighth grade. And in seventh or eighth grade, I was coaching the wizards and I was still letting everybody play equal amounts of time, even though the team really wanted to win. And after a very demoralizing defeat and after, and I'll never forget it. I was laying in bed next to money and she, she slammed her arms on the mattress and said, okay, I'm just going to say it. I'm like, what, what? She's like,

you can't have everybody play equal. You need to try to win. And it was just like a bucket of cold water on me. And she said, you know, we're past that stage where everybody gets to play. And so I bring that up because sometimes I don't see that. I look at other things, I try to keep people happy. And a lot of times…

If you're being overly optimistic, it's a way sort of to avoid tough conversations. You might be thinking some team member is going to turn the corner, or you might be thinking that you're going to sign up a new kind of case or, you know, that all these great cases are going to come in all of a sudden. I mean, I would imagine that would be particularly hard for personal injury guys, just because the, if you just find that one case, it can make your whole year. So that, that would really lend itself to unbridled optimism. That next case is just coming around the corner. I know it.

Tyson (06:30.838)
Yeah, I was talking, I don't know who said this to me. I wish I remember who told me this, but they were like, I'm fine with singles and doubles. And I was like, I remember when they first said it, I was like, what are you talking about? But I actually think that that's actually a really good way of looking at cases, is singles and doubles are okay. Singles and doubles win games. Because if you are, as PI lawyers, we see the big hits, you know what I mean? Like, we see them, oh great, you have a really great verdict, fantastic.


It's really easy to get caught up in that. Yeah, that next case is right around the corner, but it's just not realistic. But with it, here's where I think it's a massive problem is marketing because people say, oh, well, it'll turn around. It'll turn around. We'll start getting cases again. And instead of looking at dissecting what's going on, they instead just say, oh, it's going to be okay. It's just going to be fine. We're going to get another case. So something that we have…

I'm guilty of that in the past, but something that I'm really cool. I'm happy with what we're doing is like we We've got a really fine tune where if we start we see a dip. Okay, let's start looking Let's start to see what's going on. Maybe maybe it's an algorithm thing Maybe it's who knows it could be a bunch of different things But we start tweaking things if we need to and I think that's really we've got to be dialed in every aspect of our lives Where you tweak you tweak you tweak you tweak?

Obsessing you don't have that where I do I do think that the power of saying Everything's gonna be fine is very powerful in a lot of different things and that's it's powerful whenever it's Not overreacting to something but it's very it's not effective Whenever you try to figure out where all your leads went, you know what I mean? So you got it. You got to use that in the in the appropriate way

Jim (08:29.892)
I think that's right. And I think that where this really comes down to is balance. Like what's the middle path? Like let's not go too far to either extreme, be totally optimistic or pessimistic. I do think that I wanna make clear that there are places for optimism. I mean, I think starting your day and looking at the things you're grateful for, and I think focusing on the wins, I think all that stuff is very good and very powerful.

I'm talking about, and we are talking about, sort of this blind optimism, a blind optimism that's just not even based in reality. And I do think for a lot of people, me included, there were times when I was stressed out, the firm was not doing well, and that made my optimism even more, like it kicked it into gear more. And I think it's just an avoidance strategy of, like you said, really assessing where you're really at.

Tyson (09:20.222)
Yeah, so there's something, there's this video I kind of used to, the reason I'm bringing it up is I think it could be misapplied. There's this video though that I use whenever things are tough, I'll watch it, and it's this guy talking about how, and I've mentioned it on the podcast before, but he's talking about how we want to do hard things, like we don't want to do easy things. And like…

We don't want to like he mentions payroll He's like, you know, like whenever I have like a hundred thousand a month payroll and he's like, you know what? Ten years ago. I would have dreamed to have ten hundred thousand dollars a month in payroll that kind of a that kind of a thing and I

I will use that sometimes to kind of pump me up, to keep me going, everything's tough, but I, it's, if you misapply that, if you say, okay, things are really, really tough, and you're, the freight train's about to run you over.

That's not going to be very good. You know, like, so you have to be very, because we will use these techniques and we'll use these videos. We'll use these sayings. And without stepping back and thinking, okay, am I in a lot of trouble here? Is this not what I think it is? And I think that maybe the key is the step back. You know what I mean? I'm all about optimism and everything, but it's that step back.

and take a look at things. If you can just do that, it'll help you go a long way to say, okay, am I being realistic here? Let's just stop for a second. We can be optimistic about this, but am I being realistic?

Jim (11:03.072)
What's the first presidential election that you remember?

Tyson (11:07.29)
Bush v. Gore. Well, no, the first one I remember, I remember going into the voting booth with my mom and it was Bush v. I'm sorry, it was either Bush v. Clinton. It had to be Bush v. Clinton, I think, is what it would have been.

Jim (11:23.044)
Well that's the election I want to bring up actually because it wasn't just Bush v. Clinton, it was Bush v. Clinton v. Perot. And Ross Perot had a running mate named James Stockdale, Admiral Stockdale. Admiral Stockdale had been in the Hanoi Hilton with John McCain and there's a quote attributed to him which is now referred to as the Stockdale Paradox. And I'm going to read it to you. It's from Good to Great. It's in Good to Great. I don't know if you remember. The Stockdale Paradox.

Tyson (11:29.966)
True, yes.

Jim (11:52.148)
is a concept along with its companion concept, confront the brutal facts. Developed in the book Good to Great, productive change begins when you confront the brutal facts. Every Good to Great company embraced what we came to call the Stockdale paradox. Here it is. You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties and at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.

Tyson (12:20.83)
I mean that's perfect. I mean that's what we're saying right? I mean that is that's Now Let me ask you this. What is your advice to people you're in the hustle and bustle of the day You're getting I mean you're getting whacked over the head by insurance adjusters You know what you haven't signed a case in a week or two Things are getting tough bank accounts starting to shrink

I guess in that moment, how do you have someone escape that moment to step back to realize what do I do now? Thoughts?

Jim (13:00.74)
Well, the other day I was at my daughter's softball game and they lost and their coaches sort of lost their temper. And I think that a good coach, when the team is doing poorly, motivates them back up to neutral. And when they're doing really, really well, they throttle them back down to neutral, right? And so I think that in that context of what you just said, I've been thinking about Dan Kennedy. He always talks about one of Napoleon Hill's

um… truth that nobody ever remembers and that is accurate thinking that you need to have accurate thinking you need you need a mechanism to check whether your uh… thinking is accurate you know right now my aunt is in decline she lives with my mom and so you know things are only going to get worse and so what we've really decided to do is to set up these benchmarks where if this if this event happens if this sort of

If we reach this stage, then these things need to happen. Right? And so, and then we're trying to get everybody on the same page. And I think you have to do that same way, same thing with yourself as a law firm owner is that, you know, you know, pull that rip cord if this happens. So you really need to, you need to objectify it a little bit, keep your optimism to keep your spirits up in the moment and, and most importantly, don't get caught up in the, the fallacy of sunk cost, you know, just because you've been

pounding your head on the wall, you might be pointed in the wrong direction. You might have your ladder leaning on the wrong wall. You might be doing the wrong thing and it's not ever going to get fixed. And that's what sometimes happens. And that's why people ultimately have to throw in the towel.

Tyson (14:42.526)
Yeah, I think that your advice is, for anyone that's listening to this, go back and listen to that last minute of what Jim just said. I think that that's the game plan. If you do need to sort of break that chain of eternal optimism. It makes me think about the benchmarks that you were talking about, which I think are a great idea. It makes me think about, I don't know if you remember that diagram that Infusionsoft had whenever they announced their BHAG.

It was like this mountain or something, I think is what it was, like a mountain and then like on that mountain, kinda like if you were to climb Everest, right? You've got these different places you've gotta make it to, different stages. And I think if you were to view your goals like that, it would go a long way instead of just looking at that big mountain top at the very top of it and saying, okay, how do I get there? Now I gotta get to stage one, let's get there first. Then I get to stage two, where I get there next.

And so you're breaking it down. And so if you are facing these issues, instead of facing it with this eternal optimism, if you'll just kind of, okay, let's get to that next, what's that next place we need to get to? And then obviously we want to get out of this mess, whatever this mess is, but what's that next place I need to get to get started on it? I think that would go a long way to helping out.

Jim (16:09.208)
I want to touch a little bit on what we talked about last Saturday in our guild morning meeting call and that is that sometimes people say I want to be this kind of lawyer and provide this kind of legal service even though nobody's really asking for it and You know whenever you're trying to create a market or you feel like you're having to educate people about the value of what you sell I think you're starting off way behind the starting line. In other words, you're making the

process much, much harder. So I think that sometimes people get off on the wrong foot, they're headed up the wrong mountain because nobody really wants or needs what they're offering. And we have to remember that at the end of the day, there is a market for legal services and we are competing with others and there is a limited number of opportunities. And so if you pick wrong early,

all the optimism in the world isn't going to make that much of a difference.

Tyson (17:10.558)
Yeah, I agree with that a lot. Makes me think of like, I don't wanna give away what my tip of the week is, but it kinda makes me think about that a little bit. But, all right Jimbo, anything else you wanna go over when it comes to eternal optimism?

Jim (17:28.8)
Just one. I mean, you know, half the times we do a hot seat. I always like to ask the participant if they have a significant other what their significant other says about what their situation is because the significant other hears Every day the day in and day out and so like someone will come in and they'll be thinking Oh my business partner is going to turn it around and finally do what she's been promising to do for the last three years And then I say, what does your spouse say or your your?

girlfriend say about that to the to the partner and they're like oh they're sick of hearing about this they know they know this stuff isn't gonna change and so what I would say is everybody needs a person to bounce things off of to check their pessimism or their optimism I think therapy or a coach you have to have something where you are forced to say things out loud because you can get real squirrely in your head

if it's just, speaking for myself especially, if I'm just relying on the things that I say in my head, I mean, you've witnessed this with me, that you can really go into weird, weird land, right, if you don't get that stuff out. And sometimes when you say it, just the act of saying it, you realize, oh yeah, that's not accurate thinking.

Tyson (18:52.834)
No, yeah, wait a few hours. You know what I mean? So let's do a, yeah, wait a week. You know, it made me think about this. This is gonna sound really negative, but I promise I'll connect the dots. So I saw this video yesterday of Burt Reynolds, and he's talking about, I don't know what show he's on, but he's talking about how…

Jim (18:55.833)
That too.

Tyson (19:13.686)
You might meet the person of your dreams, and you might really, really love them, and it might be true love, and they may love you back. And so you may love each other, but they may be the absolute wrong person for you. Okay, sounds terrible, right? But here's where I'm gonna connect the dots.

If you don't have that person like Amani to Jim that can help throttle Jim a little bit, or that Amy to Tyson that can help kinda throttle me back a little bit, you need to find someone else that you can bounce ideas off that can help throttle you a little bit. Because if you know you're that type.

Jim (19:43.076)

Tyson (19:56.206)
You gotta know what your personality types are, right? And if your personality type is to make some pretty rash decisions, then you need to have someone that throttles you. Or if you're the opposite, you need to have someone that's the opposite, just that you can reach out whether that's…

coach, whether that is just a best friend, a family member, someone at your church, whatever, find that sort of opposite that helps balance you out a little bit. Because spouse may not do it for you and that's fine. There may be someone else.

Jim (20:27.852)
It's funny, we've ended our podcast basically with hacks on the topic, but it's not our hacker tip of the week, so everyone's getting a double dose today.

Tyson (20:35.086)
That's right, baby. All right, let's get to those tips and hacks before I do. I'll remind everyone to join us in the big Facebook group. We'd love to have you. Just search Maximum Lawyer on Facebook. If you want to join us in the Guild, we would love to have you. Our next mastermind is in a few weeks. And so people that join the Guild, they have access to those masterminds. We'd love to have you. There's also a Jason Selk event that we've put out there that he's going to be doing

going to be a pretty cool event so check that out as well and while you're listening to the rest of this episode if you don't mind helping us spread the love by giving a five-star review we would greatly appreciate it. Jimmy what's your hack of the week?

Jim (21:21.188)
I'm glad you brought up that Jason Selk thing, because when we have our meeting today, I'd like to go to that. So I'm thinking about going to that. I don't know if you were, but for my hack of the week, Amani and Noor have learned to spot the Instagram purchases that I make. So I've become sort of a sucker for the Instagram ads, and it's so easy now, because you just click, and then Apple pay it. So that's how I got my Chris Farley shirt, the van down by the river, so they know that's one. And then…

I just got this really great new alarm clock on Instagram. It's great, I love it, especially during Ramadan. It's been great waking me up. But I clicked on another ad and I got this great book. It came a while later. It's called The Black Book of Questions. It's all about sales and different selling methods and ways to talk to intake and so forth. I'm just making my way through it. It's really great. The main guy is a guy named Jeremy Lee Minor.

But like, I had to go digging for that and I was like, oh I forgot I even ordered that because they put me into a sales funnel, like they were trying to upsell me out the wazoo, so I mean if nothing else, just to go through that experience and see how dialed in they have it, they were calling me, texting me, doing all kinds of stuff. So even if you, and I don't think the book was that much, I think it was like nine dollars or something. So check it out if you can, it's NEPQ, seventh level, and it's Jeremy Lee Minor, I don't know, we'll see but.

I just thought you'd find that funny.

Tyson (22:50.302)
Yeah, I want to look at that book. Jeremy Miner is a big on YouTube and TikTok. That's one of those guys that I wanted to get on for the podcast, actually. So Jeremy Miner, I know who he is. I will find, I will tell you, you might find some of his, if you watched his videos, his techniques, the way he talks, sometimes a little annoying. Hopefully he never hears this episode. But, because he, just watch some of his videos. That's all I'll say. It's not like direct pound you in the face

selling, it's a little different. But for my tip of the week, it's this. So I started jiu-jitsu last week, and so my tips are not to join in jiu-jitsu. My tip is, and this kind of coincides with the topic of the week about eternal optimism and being careful that find something that humbles you.

So I will tell you, for those of you that have done jiu-jitsu, it can be a humbling experience. It can be also really rewarding and awesome and everything else, but do something that humbles you because I think it does help balance you. We can kind of…

Especially like I did some pretty I don't know I Freaking fly airplanes a red motorcycle. I you know, like the personal injury can be lots of highs as well But you gotta have something kind of ground you and so whatever that thing might be Do that because I think it'll help balance you out a little bit Jimbo good talking to you. I'm gonna run to court. I've got We've got some other recordings today. So I look forward to chat with you later

Jim (24:29.688)
Good luck in court, buddy. Bye, everybody.

Tyson (24:31.883)
See you buddy. See you Jimbo.

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