Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – a job, an advertising, your health, a lover, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the more losing, but if we lose something, we feel it deeply.
A friend of mine, a trial lawyer by trade, recently lost a huge case. He’s not in the habit of losing trials, for him this was a most unusual experience acim teacher. But what intrigued me was his attitude about this: “I can see where I made some mistakes. I am aware it’s hindsight and all that, but I seriously misjudged the way the jurors would look at certain facts. I can’t watch for my next trial – I have some ideas on what I could have inked differently, and I do want to observe how they’ll play out.”
His is definitely an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. The one that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe don’t assume all time, but more regularly than not. It’s well established that optimists succeed beyond their actual aptitude and talents – all due to their attitude.
Many lawyers, in his position, could have expended their efforts laying blame somewhere: on opposing counsel for underhanded tricks, on the Judge to be biased toward the other side, on the jurors for “not getting hired,” on the trial team to be inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, figured out that which was missing, and was rarin’ to take the next trial – so he could once again, win.
All it took was a shift in perception, what Marianne Williamson* defines as “a miracle.” Or, to my means of thinking, a shift in perception (how you see the loss) lays the groundwork for a miracle, for something to occur that will be a lot better than that which was expected. By moving off the blame-game, and choosing instead to master from the experience (the shift in perception), my friend put himself back on the success track.
Once you look at your loss, whatever it’s, as permanent and all-encompassing, then sure enough, you’ll feel devastated and unable to release and move on. If, on the contrary, you appear at your loss – be it the increasing loss of a job, a spouse, a consumer, your savings – as temporary, something to master from – then odds are excellent that you will have a way to maneuver onto better still things; to a “miracle.”
The only real change is in the method that you perceive the big event, the loss. And that, unlike losing itself, is completely within your control. Buck against it though we may, we can always control what we think. No, it’s definitely not easy. I find it will take considerable effort to maneuver my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that may generate a better future. But it’s doable.