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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 if we lose something, we feel it deeply.
A pal of mine, a trial lawyer by trade, recently lost a big case. He’s not in the habit of losing trials, for him this is a most unusual experience Acim. But what intrigued me was his attitude about it: “I can see where I made some mistakes. I know 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 have some thoughts on what I possibly could have inked differently, and I do want to observe how they’ll play out.”
His is an optimist’s attitude. A miracle-making attitude. The one that practically guarantees success. Oh, maybe don’t assume all time, but more frequently than not. It’s well established that optimists succeed beyond their actual aptitude and talents – all due to their attitude.
Many lawyers, in his position, might 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 setting it up,” on the 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 the next 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 way of thinking, a shift in perception (how you start to see the loss) lays the groundwork for a miracle, for something to take place which will be much 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 is, as permanent and all-encompassing, then sure enough, you’ll feel devastated and struggling to release and move on. If, on the contrary, you appear at your loss – be it the increasing 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 maneuver to even better 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 may, we can always control what we think. No, it’s not necessarily easy. I find it requires considerable effort to maneuver my thoughts off the comfort of wound-licking and self-pity to thoughts that’ll generate an improved future. But it’s doable.
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