Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – a job, a marketing, your quality of life, a partner, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the higher losing, but whenever we lose something, we feel it deeply.
A buddy of mine, a trial lawyer by trade, recently lost a big case. He’s not in the habit of losing trials, for him this was a most unusual experience. 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 how a jurors would look at certain facts. I can’t watch for my next trial – I possess some ideas on what I possibly could did differently, and I wish to see how they’ll play out.”
His is definitely an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. One which practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe its not all time, but more regularly than not what is a course in miracles. It’s well established that optimists succeed beyond their actual aptitude and talents – all because of their attitude.
Many lawyers, in his position, might have expended their efforts laying blame somewhere: on opposing counsel for underhanded tricks, on the Judge if you are biased toward the other side, on the jurors for “not getting it,” on their trial team if you are inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, determined what 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 magic, for something to happen that’ll be a lot better than what was expected. By moving off the blame-game, and choosing instead to learn from the experience (the shift in perception), my friend put himself back on the success track.
Once you look at your loss, whatever it is, as permanent and all-encompassing, then affirmed, you’ll feel devastated and struggling to let go and move on. If, on the contrary, you appear at your loss – be it the increasing loss of a job, a spouse, a client, your savings – as temporary, something to learn from – then odds are excellent that you will be able to move onto better yet things; to a “miracle.”
The only real change is in the manner in which you perceive the event, the loss. And that, unlike losing itself, is wholly within your control. Buck against it though we might, we could always control what we think. No, it’s not necessarily easy. I find it takes considerable effort to move my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that’ll generate a better future. But it’s doable.