Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – employment, an advertising, your wellbeing, a partner, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the greater 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 course in miracles books. But what intrigued me was his attitude about this: “I can easily 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 wait for my next trial – I have some thoughts on what I could did differently, and I do want to observe they’ll play out.”
His is an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. One that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe not every time, but more frequently 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, could have expended their efforts laying blame somewhere: on opposing counsel for underhanded tricks, on the Judge to be biased toward another side, on the jurors for “not getting it,” on their trial team to be inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, found out that which was missing, and was rarin’ to take 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 way of thinking, a shift in perception (how you see the loss) lays the groundwork for magic, for something to occur that’ll be much better than that which was expected. By moving off the blame-game, and choosing instead to understand from the knowledge (the shift in perception), my friend put himself back on the success track.
Whenever 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 loss of employment, a spouse, a consumer, your savings – as temporary, something to understand from – then chances are excellent that you will have the ability to move on to even better things; to a “miracle.”
The only change is in the manner in which you perceive the function, the loss. And that, unlike the loss itself, is wholly 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 takes considerable effort to move my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that may generate a much better future. But it’s doable.