Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – work, a campaign, your health, a lover, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the higher losing, but whenever 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. But what intrigued me was his attitude about it: “I could see where I made some mistakes. I am aware it’s hindsight and all that, but I seriously misjudged how the jurors would look at certain facts. I can’t watch for my next trial – I involve some thoughts on what I could have done differently, and I want to observe how they will play out.”
His can be an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. The one that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe its not all time living miracles store, 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, would 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 setting it up,” on their trial team to be inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, identified the thing that was missing, and was rarin’ to go on the next trial – so he could once more, win.
All it took was a shift in perception, what Marianne Williamson* defines as “a miracle.” Or, to my way of thinking, a shift in perception (how you begin to see the loss) lays the groundwork for a miracle, for something to happen that will be much better than the thing that was expected. By moving off the blame-game, and choosing instead to understand from the ability (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 it go and move on. If, on the contrary, you appear at your loss – be it the increasing loss of work, a spouse, a consumer, your savings – as temporary, something to understand from – then odds are excellent that you will have the ability to maneuver on to better yet things; to a “miracle.”
The only change is in the manner in which you perceive the big event, the loss. And that, unlike losing itself, is totally within your control. Buck against it though we might, we could always control what we think. No, it’s certainly not easy. I find it requires considerable effort to maneuver my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that may generate a much better future. But it’s doable.