Mike 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 natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Mike was there telling the guy how to look on the positive side of the prevailing situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Mike and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'Hey man Mike, 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, but it isn't that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," Mike 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 is: It's your choice how you live life."
I reflected on what Mike said. Soon thereafter, I left the country to start a new career as an expat contract worker in the Middle East. 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 Mike had also moved out of the country and was involved in a serious work related accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Mike was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I saw Mike about 6 months after his accident when I happened to visit home and he had returned to recuperate, too. I asked him, "Do you feel better now, mate?". He responded in his same old cheerful manner, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds but asked him what went through his mind during the fall. "The first thing that hit me during the fall was the well being of my wife and kids" he responded. "Weren't you scared, did you lose consciousness?", I asked.
Mike responded,"The Paramedics were great, they kept telling me I was going to be alright. However, when I was wheeled into the emergency room and saw the expressions on the faces of the medics I got the feeling that in their minds I was a dead man".
"So what did you say or do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting instructions to the rest of the support staff in emergency. She asked me if I was allergic to anything. I said, 'Yes' and saw the expression in their faces change as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breadth and yelled 'Gravity'. Over their laughter I told them that I wanted to live. Operate on me as if I am alive and not dead", I told them."
Mike lived and pulled through this extremely difficult phase of his life mainly on account of his totally positive attitude. I learned from him, that day, that we all have the ability to choose to live our lives fully.
Its our attitude, after all, that makes the big difference in life.