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 asked how he was, his response would be, “If I were any better, I’d be twins!”
“I don’t get it!” I told him one day. “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.’ 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.”
Several years later, I heard that three armed robbers held Jerry up at gunpoint in his restaurant. While trying to open the safe, his nervous hand slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw him about six months later, and asked him how he was. He replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins! Wanta see my scars?”
“Weren’t you scared?” I asked.
Jerry said, “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.’”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” he said. “She asked if I was allergic to anything, and I said, ‘Yes…bullets.’ As everyone laughed, I told them, ‘I’m choosing to live. Operate on me as if I’m alive, not dead.’”
Thanks to the skill of his doctors, Jerry lived, but also because of his amazing attitude. He taught me that we have the choice every day to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.