Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – employment, an advertising, your wellbeing, a lover, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the greater losing, but once we lose something, we feel it deeply.
A pal of mine, a trial lawyer by trade, recently lost a big case. He’s not in the habit of losing trials, for him this is a most unusual experience best course in miracles podcasts. But what intrigued me was his attitude about this: “I can easily 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 await my next trial – I involve some thoughts on what I really could have done differently, and I do want to observe how they will 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 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, on the Judge if you are biased toward another side, on the jurors for “not setting it up,” on their trial team if you are inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, figured out the thing that was missing, and was rarin’ to go on the following 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 way of thinking, a shift in perception (how you see the loss) lays the groundwork for magic, for something to take place which will be a lot better than the thing that 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 is, as permanent and all-encompassing, then affirmed, you’ll feel devastated and unable to release and move on. If, on the contrary, you appear at your loss – be it the loss of employment, a spouse, a customer, your savings – as temporary, something to master from – then chances are excellent that you will have a way to maneuver on to 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 are able to always control what we think. No, it’s not necessarily easy. I find it requires considerable effort to maneuver my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts which will generate a better future. But it’s doable.