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Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – a job, a promotion, 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 pal of mine, a trial lawyer by trade, recently lost a large case. He’s not in the habit of losing trials, for him this is a most unusual experience a course in miracles podcast. But what intrigued me was his attitude about this: “I can see where I made some mistakes. I know it’s hindsight and all that, but I seriously misjudged how a jurors would look at certain facts. I can’t await my next trial – I have some thoughts on what I really could have done differently, and I do want to see how they will play out.”
His can be an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. The one that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe its not all time, but more often than not. It is well established that optimists succeed beyond their actual aptitude and talents – all for their attitude.
Many lawyers, in his position, could have expended their efforts laying blame somewhere: on opposing counsel for underhanded tricks, on the Judge for being biased toward another 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, determined that which was missing, and was rarin’ to be on another 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 method of thinking, a shift in perception (how you begin to see the loss) lays the groundwork for magic, for something to happen which will be a lot 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.
Whenever you look at your loss, whatever it is, as permanent and all-encompassing, then affirmed, you’ll feel devastated and struggling to let it go and move on. If, on the contrary, you appear at your loss – be it the increasing loss of a job, a spouse, a client, your savings – as temporary, something to learn from – then chances are excellent that you will have a way to maneuver to better still things; to a “miracle.”
The sole change is in the method that you perceive the big event, 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 not necessarily easy. I find it takes considerable effort to maneuver my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts which will generate an improved future. But it’s doable.
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