Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – work, a marketing, your health, a lover, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the more the loss, but once we lose something, we feel it deeply.
A pal 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 acim podcast. But what intrigued me was his attitude about this: “I could see where I made some mistakes. I understand 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 possess some applying for grants what I possibly could have inked differently, and I want to see how they will play out.”
His is definitely an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. One that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe not every time, but more often than not. It’s well established that optimists succeed beyond their actual aptitude and talents – all because of 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, figured out the thing that was missing, and was rarin’ to take the following 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 means of thinking, a shift in perception (how you begin to see the loss) lays the groundwork for magic, for something to happen which is a lot 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.
When you look at your loss, whatever it’s, 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 increasing loss of work, a spouse, a client, your savings – as temporary, something to understand from – then chances are excellent that you will have the ability to go to even better things; to a “miracle.”
The sole change is in the method that you perceive the event, the loss. And that, unlike the loss 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 go my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts which will generate an improved future. But it’s doable.