Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life
A positive attitude is a choice. We can choose to be happy or we can choose not to be. Henry Ford was fond of saying, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.” It is true that success in life is not what happens to you but rather your reaction to what happens to you. The life of Iraqi war veteran J.R. Martinez demonstrates the power of a positive attitude.
If you’ve watched the TV hit show, Dancing With The Stars, you no doubt have seen him. His story starts in 2003 when at the age of 21 he was serving as a United States Army infantryman in Iraq. Six weeks after his arrival the Humvee he was driving ran over a roadside bomb. The ensuing explosion and fire burned over 40% of his body. During his 34-month hospital stay, he endured 33 cosmetic and skin graft surgeries. He became an inspiration to others because of his positive attitude.
During his recovery, a nurse asked him to speak to a burn patient who had become despondent and withdrawn. After the talk the patient’s anger transformed into hope. Martinez was also transformed as he discovered that his story and his attitude could help other victims. He decided to use his experience to help others, visiting with patients in the hospital, sharing his story and listening to theirs. These talks turned into speaking engagements and since then he has become a sought-after motivational speaker.
He is called on by a wide range of groups, including large corporations, schools, veterans groups, and non-profits. He has shared the stage with the likes of global self-help guru Tony Robbins. Numerous veterans groups have honored Martinez for his leadership and dedication in working with military burn victims. He has been featured in The Washington Post, People magazine, on CNN's Sunday Morning, and on 60 Minutes. In 2008 he was cast in the TV daytime drama, All My Children, where he plays a wounded veteran and he was chosen as the Grand Marshal in the 2012 Rose Parade.
The stumbling blocks he encountered became his stepping-stones to success. He could have withdrawn from life, shrinking into a world of self-pity but he made a conscious decision not to. His positive attitude sets him apart from most others. It is his attitude that is the source of his notoriety. He considers his circumstances to be a blessing, “I now know why I was spared (from the explosion). My life’s purpose is to be an inspiration to others.”
The greatest discovery of the human condition is that you can alter your life by altering your attitude. It is true that bad things happen to good people. In life, pain is inevitable however suffering is optional. And your attitude determines the difference. If you have the will to remain positive, you have achieved half your success; if you don’t, you have achieved half your failure. The choice is yours!