There was one greeting that was shocking to me. It jolted me. I had to think about it for a long time to really understand the impact that it was having on me. One simple little line read, “Happy Birthday to one of the happiest people I have ever known!” Really? Does she not have very many friends?
Let me explain a choice that I made several years ago. When I was just a child, I had Polio. It was the year before the vaccine was perfected and Polio had reached epidemic proportions. I don’t remember much more than falling in the middle of the night trying to get to my parent’s room because I wasn’t feeling very well.
I wore braces on my back and one leg for over ten years as I was growing up. No sports of any kind for me. My mother knew that I was going to be limited as far as physical activities were concerned and employment would be limited to a degree. So she got me started taking piano lessons. She would sit on the bench with me at practice times with a pointer in one hand so she could point to the notes and I always knew that there was a paddle in the other hand for her to use to keep me motivated! So, I practiced.
As a direct result of her insistence, I learned to play the piano and used that ability for over 35 years travelling and performing all over North America.
I have met many people who had Polio during those years when it was so prevalent, and the range of emotions and attitudes is truly amazing. There are those who have lived their lives filled with bitterness and anger because the hand that they were dealt in life was so lousy. And others have managed to overcome the problems that could possibly drag them down and live meaningful, productive lives in spite of all the pain, surgery and mental anguish associated with an illness of that magnitude.
I can’t tell you the exact time or place when the choice was made, but at some point, I made one. So did YOU! I don’t know for sure how I came to be like I am; it didn’t happen suddenly, but rather events in life have shaped and molded me into the man that I have become. I had four major surgeries in my teen years and in the past few years, I have had a knee replacement and both hips replaced. Happy? Absolutely! In spite of it all!
“Happy Birthday to one of the happiest people I have ever known!” Wow! I didn’t realize that an earlier choice that I had made was having such a positive impact on others!
I don’t like sad stories or movies; life has enough of that for all of us to endure. I don’t listen to the news very much; it’s usually doom and gloom filled with a dim future. I would rather laugh. I would rather be happy. Do I have problems? You know it! We all do. The things that you have faced may be more severe than those things that I have gone through; I wouldn’t dare try to make that comparison, but we all have a choice to make. Do I grumble and complain or make the most of it and be happy?
As in life, the same choices face all of us in business or in ministry! You most likely will experience times of failure; we all do. You most likely will find yourself ready to give up; we all have. You most likely will try things that do not work at all, you will buy into programs that will not make you any better at all, you will do things that will make NO money at all and you will wonder ‘what’s the use’ more times than you would like to count. Your business or your ministry is NOT easy to get started. After a while, however, when the basics have been learned, it will run like a well-oiled machine, it can be said that it is easy then. How long it takes to reach that point is different for each individual.
In the meantime, you have a choice to make. You can grumble and complain, or you can find a way to remain optimistic and forge ahead with a good attitude until such a time as you start making a profit!
I have told my children for years, “You can tell me anything that you wish and I will listen to you as long as you have the right attitude. But, if your attitude stinks, then I don’t want to hear anything you have to say!” The people with whom you work feel the same way about you. With the right attitude, you can go a long way, but with the wrong attitude, they will see through you and leave you instantly.
Develop an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ You may not see instantaneous results, but you may hear someone tell you years from now, “Happy Birthday to one of the happiest people I have ever known!”
It’s your choice!