When Jeff, a restaurant manager, was asked him how he was doing, we would reply, “If I were any better, I’d be twins!”
One day he was asked, “How do you do it? I don’t get it; you can’t be a positive person all of the time.”
Jeff replied, “Each morning, I wake up, and say to myself, Jeff, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood, or 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. The bottom line of life is: It’s my choice how I will live life.”
Jeff’s positive philosophy was put to the test. One morning he left the back door to his restaurant open 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, Jeff was found quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. When he was wheeled into the emergency room he saw the expressions of the faces of the doctors and nurses. He got scared. In their eyes, he read, He’s a dead man.
A big, burly nurse was shooting questions at him. One question she asked was if he were allergic to anything. “Yes,” Jeff replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for his answer. Jeff took a deep breath, and loudly said, “Bullets!” Over their laughter, he told them, “I’m choosing to live. Treat me as if I’m alive, not dead.”
Jeff lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing positive attitude.
Attitude is our response to life. It is our choice. Someone once said that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. One of the most significant decisions we can make on a day-to-day basis is choosing a positive attitude. Henry Cloud in his book 9 Things a Leader Must Do writes that successful people “do not allow negative things to take up space in their lives.” Attitude is perhaps more important than education, experience, and endowment in living life to the fullest. An optimistic attitude fuels one’s fire to greater heights. When one’s attitude is right then no barrier is too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, and no challenge too great. William James, the father of American psychology, stated, “The great discovery of my generation is that people can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”