we make choices; our choices make us

Found an inspi­ra­tional story on the Web today:

Jerry 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 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 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. 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 gun point 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 asked. Jerry 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 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 breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laugh­ter, I told them, ‘I am choos­ing to live. Oper­ate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'” 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.

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