Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – work, an advertising, your quality of life, a partner, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the greater losing, but whenever we lose something, we feel it deeply.
A friend 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 any of 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 possess some applying for grants what I could did 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 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 acim audio, on the Judge to be biased toward another side, on the jurors for “not getting hired,” on the trial team to be inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, determined the thing that was missing, and was rarin’ to be 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 happen that’ll be 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.
Once you look at your loss, whatever it is, as permanent and all-encompassing, then affirmed, you’ll feel devastated and struggling to release and move on. If, on the contrary, you look at your loss – be it the increased loss of work, a spouse, a client, your savings – as temporary, something to understand from – then chances are excellent that you will have a way to move onto even better things; to a “miracle.”
The only change is in the way you perceive the big event, 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 definitely not easy. I find it takes 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.