Saturday, 7 January 2012

Attitude is everything

Jerry was the kind of guy
you love to hate. He was
always in a good mood and
always had 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 unique manager
because he had several
waiters who had followed him
around from restaurant to
restaurant. The reason the
waiters followed Jerry was
because of his attitude. He
was a natural motivator. If
an employee was having a
bad day, Jerry 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 to Jerry and asked
him, "I don't get it! You can't
be a positive person all of
the time.
How do you do it?" Jerry
replied, "Each morning I
wake up and say to myself,
'Jerry, 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
"Yeah, right, it's not that
easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," Jerry 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 will affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good
mood or bad mood. The
bottom line: It's your choice
how you live life."
I reflected on what Jerry
said. Soon thereafter, I left
the restaurant 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 Jerry did something you
are never supposed to do in
a restaurant business: he
left the back door open one
morning and was held up at
gunpoint by three armed
robbers. While trying to open
the safe, his hand, shaking
from nervousness, slipped
off the combination. The
robbers panicked and shot
him. Luckily, Jerry was found
relatively quickly and rushed
to the local trauma center.
After 18 hours of surgery
and weeks of intensive care,
Jerry was released from the
hospital with fragments of
the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry 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 did ask him what had
gone through his mind as the
robbery took place.
"The first thing that went
through my mind was that I
should have locked the back
door," Jerry replied. "Then,
as I lay on the floor, 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
Jerry continued, "The
paramedics were great. They
kept telling me I was going to
be fine. But when they
wheeled me into the
emergency room 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 Jerry. "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 breathe and
yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their
laughter, I told them. 'I am
choosing to live. Operate on
me as if I am alive, not
Jerry 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.