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Losing is painful. It doesn’t matter what – work, a promotion, your health, a lover, a spouse – it’s painful. Sure, the pain is greater, the more losing, but once we lose something, we feel it deeply.
A buddy of mine, a trial lawyer by trade, recently lost a huge case. He’s not in the habit of losing trials, for him this is a most unusual experience a course in miracles. 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 a jurors would look at certain facts. I can’t watch for my next trial – I involve some thoughts on what I could have inked differently, and I wish to see how they’ll play out.”
His can be an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. One that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe its not all time, but more frequently 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, on the Judge if you are biased toward another side, on the jurors for “not getting hired,” on their trial team if you are inefficient, or on themselves. My friend, however, simply assessed his work, identified what was missing, and was rarin’ to take another 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 method of thinking, a shift in perception (how you see the loss) lays the groundwork for magic, for something to take place which is better than what 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’s, as permanent and all-encompassing, then sure enough, you’ll feel devastated and unable to release and move on. If, on the contrary, you appear at your loss – be it the increased loss of work, a spouse, a client, your savings – as temporary, something to learn 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 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 can always control what we think. No, it’s not necessarily easy. I find it takes considerable effort to go my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that may generate a better future. But it’s doable.
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