Five Ways to Make a Positive Difference

“If we could all make life better for someone else each day, just imagine what it could do for us, and for those around us.” Read more from this installment of the column “View From the Bench” published in the Five Things issue of the bar journal Communiqué (Jan. 2023).

Because of the way I was raised, I have always looked for ways to make a “positive” difference in the world. If we could all make life better for someone else each day, just imagine what it could do for us, and for those around us. Forgive my philosophical ramblings if you don’t agree, but the following are five suggestions of how I think we can make a positive difference each day:

  1. Do the most difficult things first. If you are anything like me, you have a list of things to accomplish each day. If you do the easiest thing first, and work your way up to the hardest, the day becomes more and more difficult as it progresses. If you start with the hardest things and work toward the easiest, you feel a sense of accomplishment with the completion of each task, and the day becomes easier and more positive as it progresses. (It’s kind of like saving your favorite food for last!) 
  2. Be a good person. In the CCBA Pledge of Professionalism, we “recognize [that our] conduct is governed by standards of fundamental decency and courtesy. . .” We all refer to the “golden rule” arguments in trial, but do we live by the “golden rule” in our lives? “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31) There is a difference between being “nice” and being “kind.” Be both. https://www.blackburncenter.org/post/nice-vs-kind-why-does-it-matter
  3. Remember why you are here – specifically, why you are an attorney, and why you are practicing the type of law that you are practicing. If asked what is “most important” to you, we may all have very different answers, but I think most of us would agree that we are part of the “legal profession” to help or serve others. If that is your goal, as it is mine, at the end of each day reflect and make sure you have helped someone or served someone. If not, vow to do better the next day.
  4. Act with intention and integrity. Intentions are different from goals. Intentions are embodied in each moment while goals occur in the future. “Right intention” includes “committing oneself to personal growth and ethical behavior, resisting unhealthy desire, and not causing harm to oneself or others.” https://www.mokshamantra.com/acting-with-intention. Integrity is more than honesty. Integrity is the desire and willingness to do the “right” thing, even when it may not be popular, and even when it may be the most difficult thing to do. We should all strive to intentionally do the “right thing” every day, and make the “right choices” about how we deal with clients, opposing counsel, the court, etc.
  5. Take care of yourself. We need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. When it’s time to work, work hard, but when it’s time to play, play hard. Enjoy weekends and vacations, and allow yourself to separate your work life from your personal life. In the “Karate Kid,” Mr. Miyagi taught that “balance” is a lesson for “whole life.” We need balance in our lives; we need love, peace, wellness, contentment, and happiness. We need to work on these things each day. We often can’t control what happens around us, but we can always control how we respond or react. If you are struggling with abuse, addiction, mental health issues, or need someone to talk to, the State Bar of Nevada can help. Call 866-828-0022.

About this article: This article was originally published in the “Five Things” issue of Communiqué (January 2023), the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association. See https://clarkcountybar.org/member-benefits/communique-2023/communique-january-2023/.

About the author
Judge Jerry Wiese

Judge Jerry Wiese serves in Department 30 of the Eighth Judicial District Court Bench. Since taking the bench in January of 2011, Judge Wiese has presided over numerous trials, both civil and criminal, and has presided over many settlement conferences. He coordinates the Judicial Settlement Conference Program, and presides over the Medical Malpractice Sweeps. He now serves as the Chief Judge of the District Court.

© 2023 Clark County Bar Association (CCBA). All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. Editorial policy available upon request.

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