Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – a job, an advertising, your wellbeing, a partner, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the more the loss, 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 it: “I can easily see where I made some mistakes. I know it’s hindsight and all that, but I seriously misjudged the way the jurors would look at certain facts. I can’t await my next trial – I have some applying for grants what I could have inked differently, and I do want to see how they’ll play out.”
His can be an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. The one that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe not every time, but more often than not a course in miracles podcasts. It is 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 for being biased toward one other side, on the jurors for “not getting it,” on the trial team for being inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, found out that which was missing, and was rarin’ to take the following 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 see the loss) lays the groundwork for a miracle, for something to occur that will be much better than that which 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.
When you look at your loss, whatever it is, as permanent and all-encompassing, then affirmed, you’ll feel devastated and unable to release and move on. If, on the contrary, you look at your loss – be it the increased loss of a job, a spouse, a client, your savings – as temporary, something to learn from – then odds are excellent that you will have a way to move on to better yet things; to a “miracle.”
The only change is in the way you perceive the big event, the loss. And that, unlike the loss itself, is totally within your control. Buck against it though we might, we can always control what we think. No, it’s not necessarily easy. I find it requires considerable effort to move my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that’ll generate a much better future. But it’s doable.