I Can Do Anything For 80 Years

October 22, 2009

Hospital Traction 1st Acc._2

I have been taught the importance of being positive from the youngest days of my life.  I don’t remember a time when having a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) wasn’t a regular part my parents instruction on the proper way to live a life.

Therefore, growing up, I tried to make a positive outlook a part of my life.  I tried to look at the glass half full, tried to see the best in those around me and tried to concentrate on the good and forget the bad.

Then at fifteen and a half, on the 13th of July 1986 my life changed in a second.

I went from a completely healthy young man in the best shape of my life to paralyzed from the chest down with only partial use of my arms and no use of my hands.

As difficult as that transition was, it was the first nights that were the most harrowing.  My lungs filled with mucus to the point where you could barely see any clear part of my lung on the x-ray.  My pulmonologist told me it was the worst case of pneumonia he had ever seen.

You didn’t have to have a medical degree to understand that my life was in the balance.  In those days, I had one wish.  It wasn’t to walk, it wasn’t to be accepted back at home, and it wasn’t to have a normal life-It was to live.

All I wanted was to wake up the next morning.

After a few days when I began to feel, not quite out of the woods, but on my way there, my dad came to the side of my bed and asked me if I felt like I could deal with life as a quadriplegic, I replied, “I can do anything for 80 years.” I was so grateful that I’d kept my life—everything seemed better.  Even paralysis seemed doable.

In the days since then, I’ve almost lost my life at least one other time.  And in those days, good or bad, I’ve tried to recall  that same feeling.  Whenever life gets difficult (as it often does) I try to remember that no matter how bad it gets, I still have my life.

Knowing that I am still breathing makes everything else challenging small in comparison.  It makes a real difference in my effort to live a happy life.  It is difficult to complain about the stumbling blocks when you find a way to remember that you are still around to stumble.

When things get hard, remember to love life.  Be grateful that you are still here.  Be glad that you have a chance to struggle and the negativity will be replaced with that Positive Mental Attitude I was taught so much about in my youth

Jh-


Pick a Direction and Go!

October 16, 2009

Football Victory

When I came into the life insurance industry, I was blessed with great success—success that many never thought possible.  Much of that success was due to mentors who took a direct interest in my dreams and goals and worked hard to help me see them to fruition.

One of those mentors was Chuck Cutler.  In college, Chuck was a great wide receiver for BYU, and as such had already won my adoration.  But, it was in his personal interest in me, and my success during my work at Mutual Of New York, that he won my respect.

I learned many things during my time under Chuck’s management, but one of the things that had the most lasting impact came from a story he told me on our way to an appointment.

Now, this wasn’t your regular “across town” appointment.  This sales meeting was at seven-thirty in the morning in the little town of Montpelier, ID—just over three hours away from our offices in Salt Lake City.

I picked Chuck up at our offices at 4:00 a.m. so we could be on time and prepared for the appointment in Montpelier.  We had both been working into the late evening the night before, so in an effort to stay awake we tried to keep the conversation lively.

As we made our way, the conversation eventually turned to his football days at BYU.  With him being a former athlete at the Y and me having been a Brigham Young fan from essentially birth, neither of us was surprised. We both knew it was bound to happen.

Reminiscing about his time playing ball, he came to a story from the early days of his career at BYU.

It was the middle of practice, and what with him being a young wide receiver in a program filled with great receivers, he wanted to make sure to make a statement from the get go.

He lined up in front of one of the team’s senior defensive backs, the quarterback called the signal, the center snapped the ball, and Chuck was off.  As he ran his appointed route he worked hard to juke left and right in an effort to lose the defensive back.

The longer the back stayed with Chuck, the harder Chuck worked to lose him.  He pulled out all his best moves, shucking and jiving down the field. Eventually all this work brought forth some results.

As Chuck moved back and forth, he eventually slipped and twisted his ankle.  The play ended, and the coach walked over to where Chuck was on the field—an embarrassing situation that Chuck had in no way intended for.

The coach pulled him up from off the ground, and simply said (as much as any football coach can simply say anything), “Pick a Direction and Go!”

I think often about this story and it’s message.  Sometimes as we work to gain success in our lives, we end up doing just what Chuck did; we shuck and jive our way through life, trying to go in too many ways at one time, leading to a lot of movement, but little progress.  When try to focus on too much all at once, everything just ends up blurry and we end up with little more than an embarrassing story and a twisted ankle.

Conversely, when we pick our direction and go, our chances for success increase exponentially.  We become dedicated to one destination and with that in mind we are more likely to complete our routes and catch the ball.

Try it; pick one area of your life, then pick a direction—and go. If you will, your ability to succeed will increase, your life will be littered with achievement, and you’ll end up with an “All-American” attitude will make you unstoppable.

Jh-

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