no. (roses_rejoice) wrote,

Necessary losses

is the title of a book by Judith Viorst that I've never read, don't want to read, probably wouldn't agree with at least in part, but still I always liked the title.

Lately I am thinking that the concept of "loss" might be more akin to the "cost of doing business." It all goes back to a dumb-but-on-point example that's stuck in my head for many years. A drunk stands on the corner and propositions every woman who passes by. Most of them refuse, cuss, slap his face. But eventually one of them takes him up on it. The point of the story being that if he hadn't put up with the 50 rejections and slaps, he wouldn't have gotten what he wanted in the end. Persistence won the day.

Likewise, when you're trying to sell something, you're not going to make a sale on every call. But you figure that for every ten calls, you can make five or six sales. So you have to put up with four or five rejections, "failures" out of the ten calls, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, to get what you want.

When you buy stocks, you know you're not going to hit a "winner" with every stock you pick. So you diversify your portfolio, some blue chips here and some shots in the dark there and a little trendy stuff and one or two that you just have a feeling about and hedge this and hedge that and if you did it right, you get growth over a long term, and maybe sometimes a big win over the short term, although it might not last.

When you bid a bunch of eBay auctions, you're unlikely to win every one, and you have a limited amount of money as well as limited time to look at auctions, so you have to accept that you're going to lose a percentage of the things you're bidding on. Sometimes you really want some one-of-a-kind thing and you don't get it, sometimes you do, sometimes you find something better the next week or the next month, and sometimes you don't get that, and sometimes you do. The point is, you're in the game.

So why do we have such a hard time staying in the game when things don't work out with people? Or at least I do, and I get the impression more than a few others feel the same. Something doesn't work out with one person, so instead of just moving on to the next person in a persistent manner, we want to take our footballs and leave the field. Why is that? Why can't we just accept that kissing a few frogs is the cost of meeting The Prince, or however you want to frame it? Some people are going to turn out to be jerks. Some people are not going to live up to expectations. When we meet them, it's natural to be less than glad, but at the same time, if you figure for every ten jerks there will be five good friends, shouldn't we at least feel happy, after finishing with a jerk, that we're one person closer to the odds of finding the good friend?

A related but slightly different hypothesis: Is a bad, traumatic friendship/relationship/whatever -ship you want to call it, that leaves lasting upset for many years, though perhaps not of the life-threatening variety (i.e. we're not talking rapists or physical violence here - just emo trauma), that eventually leads to several Good, Positive whatever-ships, worth it in the end? If I hadn't gone through all that, would I have still, somehow, been able to reach the positive result? The pop-psych response is to say, "Bad times are Growth! You needed that to Grow!" but I am very dubious of Pop-Psych People and their rote little Pep talks. Was there some way King Kong could have been chased through the jungle and captured without all those sailors getting eaten by monsters and falling off bridges? I don't know. The world may never know.
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