The other day a friend handed me something titled “ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING,” written by Francie Schwartz. At the end of the article were these words: You now have two choices. Either you can throw this away or you can share it with people you care about. As a reader of this column, I do care about you because you are very special to me. You may say, “How can you care about someone you don’t even know?” To be sure, I may not like the attitude, behavior or actions of some people but I still have a genuine love and concern for every human being.
It is in this spirit that I wanted to share “ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING” and I hope it blesses you as it has me. It begins: “Jerry was the kind of guy you loved 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 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. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can 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,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. 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 that you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up 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 intense 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 would be twins.” At this point I asked him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind is 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. When I was rushed to the trauma center and they began to operate on me, I told them to operate on me as if I were alive and not dead.”
What is amazing is that we all have that power because, after all, Attitude is Everything, and we do have a choice.