The Song that Nat King Cole used to sing was, “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, but too much is falling in mine”. This means attitude is everything. It isn’t the joy or sadness, the victory or defeat. It isn’t the pain or suffering, the loss or gain. It is the attitude in which these things are cast and accepted.
Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. If someone should ask him how he was doing, he would reply, ‘If I were any better, I would be twins’. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael would be there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious. So I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it. You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Michael replied, each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a bad mood or you can choose to be in a good 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. It’s all in the attitude.
Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaints 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,”
Michael said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how to react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. The bottom line, it’s your choice how you live your life. It’s all in the attitude.
I reflected on what Michael said. Soon after, I left the tower 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 Michael was involved in a serious accident. He fell some 60 feet from a communication tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods in his back.
I saw Michael 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 I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter”, Michael replied. Then, as I lay on the ground, 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. Michael continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me that I was going to be fine, but when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expression 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 Michael. She asked if I were allergic to anything.
“Yes”, I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working to hear my answer. I took a deep breath and yelled, “GRAVITY!”
Over their laughter I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.” Michael lived, thanks to the skill of the doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have a choice to live fully.