Colin Cowherd has a great voice, a great past, and a great message: “Conflict Works – ALLOW IT! [1]. I think Colin has a great point. And yet, I am going to offer some qualifying comments. Comments which some might think are contradictory … perhaps if only to be able to view them in a frame of conflict.

At any rate, Cowherd’s statement that “Conflict Works” is best applied to zero-sum game situations. Situations in which there is usually only one person who is going to come out on top. What’s more these situations are magnified in perceived importance where there is an audience providing feedback. Why?

First, because beyond an individual’s general drive to do well at whatever goal they strive to attain, having rivals with which to conflict and compete allows comparison with which to drive them forward.

Add second a crowd of spectators and you will find that they don’t want to look like jerks not only to themselves and the competitor … but also the universe of onlookers.

Of course, there is a good chance that the difference between having a job that pays big bucks versus what – pushing a broom – keeps one motivated. [2]

But, back to the point. It is because their is an audience of onlookers who pay that gets those in the arena generally motivated. OK, I get it!

I also get that there are some who are extraordinarily motivated from inside. Alright!

Yet not all ‘conflictual universes’ are the same.

It’s one thing if you are being paid millions of dollars to scratch out yards and inches on the gridiron, but do you want to pay someone 10s and possibly 100s of thousands of dollars to scratch out this same distance with your neighbor.

That’s the conundrum people whether they are claimants of adverse possession or the holders of record title come to me about day in and day out. For most, they simply don’t have the money AND YET they are still hell-bent on preventing their neighbors from taking their land from them.

As an important aside, these positions are very often arbitrarily “assigned” by discovery that the “ground truth” is not coincident with the “line of record title” in that often times the fence is either to the left, right, or A, V, or Xs the line of record title. More importantly, both sides have valid intellectual arguments YET even more importantly – I suspect – the motivation is rooted even deeper in our animal brain.

Upshot, at the most visceral level the conflict is real and both parties find themselves precariously teetering in a state of fight or flight.

So Bobby boy, you expect us to fawn is that so? Well kind of … but then again not completely. 

1. A legal fight for most just won’t work, so we kind of have to scratch that off the list … if possible.

 2. The alternative – which is the reason why the cops always respond even though they can’t do much – is to get into an actual fight which may include pulling guns – needs to be scratched off the list lest the cops haul you off to jail.

3. And so this essentially leaves one last alternative – get someone who has the intestinal fortitude to go into the breach of conflict between parties – and help them work it out.

Hey, this isn’t entertainment folks!

This is a job which because it involves managing one’s own clients while at the same time seeking to talk down an opposing client(s) – who may or may not be spurred on by their own attorney(s) – requires several multiples the skills, empathy, strategy, and both intellectual and emotional quotients as those attorneys who simply run down to the courthouse at the drop of the hat.

Is litigation an option? Sure it is. And you know what also? If you are really lucky and you pay a an absolute fortune, you can indeed get yourself memorialized – provided your attorney lines up a nifty new legal angel for you – because your case might then become precedent.

Here let me ask: “Did you read yesterday’s post?” Toward the end I mentioned “the fox case” of Pierson v. Post. Note that it is the precedent, and not the fox pelt for which the whole brew ha ha was conducted that makes a lasting impression.

So, somewhat in Colin Cowherd fashion as a sportscaster who may on occasion let slip that ‘sports are a bit overrated’ type fashion say this: “Your life is short pal.”

First question: “Do you want to squander it fighting with your neighbor?” 

Next question: “Do you want to do it when you can’t financially afford to have the fight?”

Final question: “If you can’t deal with the conflict now, how do you think you will feel on the verge of summary judgment knowing you could end up paying for the displeasure of your neighbor legally cleaning your clock … how about later on when you go to trial?”

“Funny thing” is this very likely … YOU CAN’T!!! 

At the opposite extreme from the self-impugning, no … the self-damning, crossed-up testimony offered by Jack Nicholson’s Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men [3], you probably need someone who while trained to be “on that wall” can outmaneuver those attorney’s who take purely mercenary approach to their job. [4]

Again, while you might think you want someone like Col. Jessup on your team, folks that need to be held by a choke chain have only one direction … conflict.

Conflict is exactly the reason why Col. Jessup ended severing his “decorated” career. He simply couldn’t step back from the conflict brought to him in court and and when fired up under cross examination, he confessed! 

Bottom line, those few feet or inches probably just aren’t worth allowing yourself to get so worked up that you become the One [who] Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

And yet, you still have a problem to resolve … Don’t You!!!

[1] See and hear the radio show from which the excerpt in Cowherd’s television plug is drawn [HERE].

[2] I want to clarify that I have the highest admiration for world class athletes. They are blessed with unique natural and mental abilities which due to absolute focus on their craft allow them ‘deep domain specialty’ which helps everyone else realize as motivational speaker Les Brown says: “It’s Possible!” … SEE [HERE]!!!

[3] See Youtube clip of “The You Can’t Handle the Truth!” video [HERE].

Reader Instruction: Take a moment to ponder what is the opposite extreme of a Col. Jessup. I am going to propose that it is someone who is just on the other side of the “international date line” from him. To wit – someone who though appearing very far on a flat map is actually just across the border when looking at the reality of the global sphere for which the map represents.

Author Instruction: Come back and explore the difference between application of valid authority, invalid authority, and neglect of application of proper authority within the context of Phillip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect [HERE].