Recently, my dear friend, Lisa, emailed me the following story. I've seen it before and perhaps you have too, but it's such a great reminder of the choice that is ours everyday, it's worth reading again!
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'
He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!'
He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or...you can choose to be in a bad mood
I choose to be in a good mood.'
Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.
'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'
I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I saw him about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?'
I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'
'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.
He continued, '...the paramedics were great.
They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.'
'What did you do?' I asked.
'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity''
Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
Attitude, after all, is everything.
Maintaining a positive attitude no matter what life throws your way is something I've struggled with at times myself. However, I've seen first hand the difference a positive attitude can make in a person's life. I've seen what happens and how your life is affected when you choose to be a positive person.
A few years back I knew two women who were both dealing with a very progressive and debilitating disease. The first woman was already confined to a wheel chair. She was frequently in and out of the hospital and rehab center due to her condition. She was legally blind. She had been a nurse, but her disease made it impossible for her to practice her beloved profession any longer. She was dependent on other people for most of the daily activities, the things most of us take for granted. Though she longed for children and would have made a wonderful mother, her disease had progressed so rapidly that it was not possible.
The second woman was still able to walk with the assistance of a walker. While her sight was starting to fail, she was still able to see fairly well and had not yet been classified as legally blind. While she did have to rely on others for transportation, she was still fairly self-sufficient with her daily activities. She had a great husband who tried hard to give her everything she wanted. Despite her condition, she was blessed with a child, who she delivered without any serious complications.
After hearing a little bit about the limitations each of these two women were dealing with, you might think that the first woman would be the more bitter of the two. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The first woman was never without a smile on her face. She took the setbacks and limitations of her condition in stride. While she could no longer work as a nurse, she did volunteer with an organization and was an advocate for people with disabilities. While she could no longer see well enough to read, she still thoroughly enjoyed the books on tape she ordered through the mail. She had a beautiful voice and sang in her church choir. She participated in activities at her church and in her community. She always had time to offer a kind word and to encourage others. She had the sweetest, kindest spirit and was truly a blessing to all who knew her. I don't believe I ever heard her complain, not even once, about the hand life had dealt to her. She accepted and embraced the life she was blessed with and lived every day of it to the fullest.
The second woman was the polar opposite of the first. She was bitter and rarely smiled. She didn't seem to enjoy her life very much, if at all. Her words were harsh and cutting. She never let an opportunity pass to criticize or mock other people. She didn't appreciate those people in her life who loved her and were always there to help her. One by one she managed to push them all away with her constant, pervasive and utterly destructive negative demeanor. All she ever did was complain about the hand life had dealt her. Sadly, no one was blessed by this woman's life.
What a difference our attitude makes on the lives that we live! I've seen many examples of this difference in other people in my life. Those with the negative attitudes who choose to worry about everything are always those who derive the least amount of joy from the lives they've been blessed with. On the other hand, those who choose to look for the positive in every situation and realize that worry serves no positive purpose, live fuller and much happier lives. Those are the people I strive to be like. It isn't always easy, but it's always worth it!
'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34.