Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – a job, a promotion, your wellbeing, a lover, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the higher losing, but if 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 await my next trial – I possess some ideas on what I really could did differently, and I want to observe they will play out.”
His is definitely an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. One that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe its not all time, but more frequently than not. It’s well established that optimists succeed beyond their actual aptitude and talents – all for their attitude.
Many lawyers, in his position, would have expended their efforts laying blame somewhere: on opposing counsel for underhanded tricks searchable acim audio, on the Judge for being biased toward another side, on the jurors for “not setting it up,” on the trial team for being inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, identified what was missing, and was rarin’ to go on the next trial – so he could yet 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 begin to see the loss) lays the groundwork for magic, for something to happen which will be a lot better than what 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.
When you look at your loss, whatever it is, as permanent and all-encompassing, then affirmed, you’ll feel devastated and unable to let it go and move on. If, on the contrary, you look at your loss – be it the loss of a job, a spouse, a customer, your savings – as temporary, something to master from – then chances are excellent that you will have a way to move on to even better things; to a “miracle.”
The only change is in the way you perceive the function, the loss. And that, unlike losing itself, is totally within your control. Buck against it though we might, we are able to always control what we think. No, it’s certainly not easy. I find it will take considerable effort to move my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that may generate an improved future. But it’s doable.