Making the most of the year of the snake

This month I would like to put into practice two of my favourite aphorisms:
• Forewarned is forearmed; and
• All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
So as we slog our way through the wind, rain(!!!), and snow of what is indisputably the worst and most depressing month of the year, I thought we could have a little bit of fun by making predictions about the year to come.

Feb. 10 marks the start of the Chinese New Year. We are leaving behind the year of the dragon, and entering the year of the snake. Good riddance to you, I say, to the dragon — your domineering, risk-taking, and extreme nature is ill-suited to those of us who prefer calm and cautious environments and are typically risk averse (I was born in the year of the rabbit — we cottontails are apparently more circumspect by nature). So how are we to make the best of what the Eastern zodiac says in coming our way?

First a word of caution — in the past when the year of the snake has rolled around, some major negative world events have taken place. 1881 was the year the Russian Emperor Nicholas and family were assassinated. 1929 marked the start of the Great Depression. 1941 brought the Second World War. 1989 saw the Chinese forces crush the protesters in Tiananmen Square. 2001 saw the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. Hopefully in 2013 we can avoid any more disasters, whether they be personal or world-changing.

Fortunately, contrary to the stereotypical evil serpent of Western culture, the snake of Chinese astrology is supposed to be a positive omen. Snakes are lucky. They demonstrate the worthy characteristics of being rational, thoughtful, introspective, and wise. Snakes approach problems rationally and logically, rather than by rushing to act on instinct. Entering the year of the snake suggests financial success may be on the horizon for those who demonstrate the characteristics of a good snake. Snakes can be highly successful in business because they mix determination and ambition with insight and intelligence.

But there are two other elements to take into consideration — colour and earthly elements. This is the year of the Black Water Snake. These additional factors cannot be ignored. Water snakes tend to be lucky in finances; money seems to flow into their pockets.  Water is also associated with research and education. But black connotes unexpected changes, instability, and volatility. Together with the snake sign, these factors speak strongly in favour of caution — look before you leap!  The importance of planning everything in advance, and undertaking careful evaluation before taking any actions, is demonstrated. In the year of the Black Water Snake, lawyers will be well advised to be particularly careful and cautious in their work and business endeavours — otherwise the money may flow right back out of their pockets.

So, now is the time for diligent and determined lawyers to finish fine-tuning their business plans and prospects for 2013. Having a firm and well-thought-out plan in place, including identifying clear goals or targets for the year to come, is key to success. This is a year in which you should pay close attention to details, and apply extra focus and discipline to your work.

Now is not the time to take uncalculated risks. Budgets should be set and rigourously followed. A good snaky lawyer will carefully plan their business building strategy before acting — just as a good lawyer will analyze the facts and prepare a strategy before undertaking a retainer, so too should you carefully evaluate your business plan before setting it in motion. If the plan is well researched and diligently acted on, then it should lead to success before the end of the year. But in the year of the snake, even the best rainmakers may be well advised to more careful and cautious than their usual risk-taking selves.

That said, it appears with proper precautions in place 2013 has an auspicious outlook. Hard work and focus will pay off. Success will come to those who are focused on being well prepared and who know what they want to achieve from the outset.

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