Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service on the episode today, we have Terry Tucker. Terry, welcome. Thomas, Thanks for having me on. I’m really looking forward to talking with you today.
It is very much my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure. So II I grew up on the south side of Chicago here in the United States, third largest city uh in the US. Uh You can’t tell this from looking at me, but I’m 6 ft eight inches tall and actually went to college on a basketball scholarship after college, I moved home to find a job. I’m really gonna date myself now, but this was long before the internet was available to help people find employment. Fortunately, I found that first job in the marketing department at the corporate headquarters of Wendy’s International, the Hamburger chain. Unfortunately, I live with my parents for the next 3.5 years. As I helped my mother care for my father and my grandmother who were both dying of different forms of cancer. Professionally, as I said, started out at Wendy’s. Then I made a change to hospital administration and then I made a major pivot in my life and became a police officer. And part of what I did during my law enforcement career was I was a swat team hostage negotiator.
After law enforcement, I started a school security consulting business coach, girls, high school basketball, became an author in 2020 for the last 11.5 years. Now I’ve been battling a rare form of cancer, a rare form of melanoma. And then I guess just finally my wife and I have been married for 30 years. We have one child, a daughter who’s in the military here in the United States. And really my purpose now is to just put as much goodness, as much positivity, as much motivation back into the world as I possibly can with whatever time I have left. Well, thank you for the introduction there’s uh multiple things that I want to ask you about uh based on that and we go in, in order of um of how you, how you revealed them. Uh that I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to a AWAT team hostage negotiator before. I know it, it might not be current in terms of um you know, how, how long ago, but um what was that like? And what did you learn from it? I, I it was a great experience, you know, I, I wanted to be on the SWAT team cause usually in law enforcement, the SWAT team are usually the, the best officers with the best training and the best equipment.
And I always wanted to be the best of my life. So II, I was a police officer at the time, they had a uh an opening on the negotiating team and for those who I understand how SWAT is sort of configured, there’s usually two groups, there’s the tactical officers, those are the men and women with all the, the toys and the guns and the armored cars and things like that. And then there are the negotiators and we used to joke with the tactical team that if we did our job, right? You didn’t get to use all your toys and, and things like that. Um So there happened to be an old and, and I put in for it, there was a, a physical fitness part of it. You had to do so many push ups, sit ups and a run. You had to meet with the psychologist, you gotta meet with the command staff and then you had to meet with the team and it was an all or nothing thing if, if one person on the team said no, then you didn’t get on. And so I was lucky enough to, to be selected to be part of the team and, and Thomas, I’ll never forget my very first negotiation. Uh practice. We, I mean, we used to practice by doing scenarios. We worked with the psychologist who would put scenarios in place and then we would practice.
And I it was a simple scenario, hostage that was taken by a hostage taker behind a locked door. I spent the entire time talking to the hostage and after it was done, they were like, you do realize that you were supposed to talk to the hostage taker to get the hostage out. So, yeah, I realized that I guess I got a lot to learn. So, so that was one of the biggest things I learned was communication and how we communicate and, and I’ll, I’ll give you this formula and, and this is, they gave it to us when I first started. If I can remember it, it was 7 38 55. And it had to do with how we communicate. 7% are the words that we use. 38% is the tone of voice that we use with those words. And then 55% of how we communicate a message is our body language or facial expressions. So, as a negotiator, I didn’t have that 55% because obviously I’m not in the room with the person who’s barricaded themselves or has a gun or something like that. So I didn’t have the luxury of saying something and see the person, you know, kind of roll their eyes.
Oh, what an idiot. I can’t believe he asked me that. And so we had to figure things out certainly based on what people were saying, but also what they weren’t saying and how they were saying. And do you still use some of those skills that you learn? II, I do, I, I think, you know, the, the overarching theme of what we did involved trust and now we were trying to develop a trusting relationship with an individual that we didn’t know. And certainly sometimes we had no idea why we were there, why the person did what they did. And so, you know, you’re, you’re going down rabbit holes, you’re, you’re trying to figure this stuff out, but you’re also trying to build trust. And one of the things we did was was called tactical empathy. Help me to understand where you’re coming from. Not necessarily agree with you. I mean, if you’re a homicide suspect, it just shot three people. I’m not gonna say what you did was right. But help me to understand what you did. And so building that, that tactical empathy, uh using parroting where or, or mirroring today, I think they call it where you say the last, either a couple words or the most important thing.
The person said just back to them and using a curious type of voice. That was one big thing they always thought, be curious. We didn’t ask why questions because why sounds accusatory. Well, Thomas, why did you do that? Oh, wait a minute. Is he accusing me of something? I can get to the same information if I say, well, well, Thomas, what got us to this point? You know, it, I’m gonna get the same information. So we would use how and what questions they were softer. They, they didn’t sound as accusatory. So that, that was another big part of it. But the parroting part was, I’m gonna say the last two words that you said back to me and then I’m gonna go silent for at least five seconds and we don’t like silence when we’re communicating. So the person would start to feel the silence that I would leave there, that would get them talking, that would get them burning off more emotional energy. And eventually when they got to a rational point, which was usually hours into that, that negotiation, that’s when we could talk about letting the hostage go or coming out putting the gun down things like that.
And do you remember your first when you were actually sent out your first time? What was that? Like, I, I do it. Uh I’ll, I’ll tell you the story real quick. So it was a, it was an individual who wanted to commit suicide. And this started at like eight o’clock at night and he slit his wrist and that didn’t work. And for some reason, he thought turning the gas on in his stove and putting his head in the oven would, would work. Well, that didn’t work either. And then he called one of his relatives and thank God the relative called the police. We get there and I’m talking to him. It, it’s probably one o’clock in the morning now and we talked for a couple hours, he had a gun and so he was gonna shoot himself and about three o’clock in the morning, he was like, you know, Terry, I’m just, I’m tired. I just wanna come out and I’m like, yeah, please come out, I’ll come down to the scene. We’ll talk to faith, we’ll talk face to face. I said, but put the gun down but don’t, don’t hang up the phone, bring the phone with you and when you come outside, just do what the tactical officers tell you to do and then I’ll come down to the scene. Sure, I’d like that. Well, he hung up the phone, which is not uncommon because we’re trained sort of when a conversation is ending, we hang up the phone.
So pe a lot of people did that when we were negotiating with him. But about 30 seconds later, one of the tactical officers comes on the radio and says we heard a gunshot and I thought you gotta be kidding me. You shot yourself. He did, he shot himself in the head, but he shot himself at such an angle that it went underneath his skin, like right around his temple. The bullet traveled around his skull and came out the other side, never penetrated his skull, never got to his brain. So this is three times now. He had tried different methods to kill himself and he did and, and that was, I think God’s way of saying no, not your time yet, definitely not your time. But I mean, I know I did everything I could to get him out safely and, and that was the thing, you know, and I don’t mean to sound cruel or, or, or callous about this, but I never lost any sleep over the people that we didn’t get out because about 90% of the people we did, we got them out safely, we got the hostages out safely. But about 10% of the time the people made the decision. I mean, if, if you were a homicide suspect and you knew you were caught and you were gonna spend the rest of your life in prison.
Some of these people are like No, I’m not doing that. I’m just gonna go out now. And so they would shoot themselves and, and that didn’t happen a lot, but it happened enough, but I never lost any sleep over it. And I’ll tell you why, one I knew I did everything I could to get that person out safely. Two, I worked with great people and three I knew I had great training. So at the end of the day, it was really the person who was barricaded that was gonna decide how this ended, whether the tactical team had to go in and get them out, how to shoot him, whatever it ended up being, or whether they shot themselves or whether they decided to come out, it was really their decision how this was going to end. Uh Do you have any uh favorite examples or your most memorable one that you’re proud of? I don’t know if I’m proud of it. II I, I’ll give you a, this is, it really was kind of a funny story totally atypical of how this goes. I happened to be working that night. So I was in uniform in a marked car. So I was able to get to the scene pretty quickly and I was talking to the district officers and said, what’s the deal?
Said? He’s drunk, he’s barricaded himself inside the house. He’s got his wife as a hostage and he has a gun. I said, ok, do you have him on the phone. Yes, we do said. All right, let me talk to him. So we’re talking for about 10 minutes. And like I said, rarely. It was hours into the conversation that you started to make suggestions about getting the person out or letting the hostage go. But I just had a feeling about this guy. So I said to him, what would it take for you to come out right now? There was this long pause and he said, give me a beer. And I was like, well, if I gave you a beer, do I have your word that you would let your wife go and that you would come out? He said, do I have your word? I could drink it. I said, yes, you absolutely have my word. He said, then I’ll let my wife go and I’ll come out. I said, ok, I said, gave $5 to the, one of the district guys and said, get out of the store, buy a beer. Tactical team, put the beer on the front porch. I called him back and I said, your beer is on the front porch, but you don’t get it until your wife comes out and you come out with your hands up. He said again, do I have your word that I can drink?
I said, you absolutely have my word. You can drink it all of a sudden the front door flies open and here comes his wife. Here. He comes with his hands up, we handcuff him, let him drink his beer and off to jail. He went and Thomas, that’s a funny story that really happened. But what it illustrates is the importance of, of trust and one of the things that people would say to us would be ok, I’ll, I’ll come out, but you gotta promise me that I’m not gonna go to jail and we would have to say, well, I’m sorry when you do come out, you are gonna go to jail and then we would try to deflect the conversation into something that was more positive. And the reason we did that because there was a good chance and this happened several times where a year from now, two years from now, three years from now, we will be right back negotiating with that same person because the underlying cause you know, they had a fight with their mother and their mother was still alive and still antagonizing them would, would brew up two years from now and they do the same dumb thing, get a gun and barricade themselves or take mom as a hostage or something like that.
So we didn’t lie to people because two years from now, if I come back and I’m talking to you and you’re like, oh Tucker, you, you, yeah, you lied to me the last time. Well, my credibility is gone and you’re gonna have to bring in another negotiator because they don’t trust me at that point in time, I just, I, I love that story and um I just think that there’s a lesson there somewhere. So um a around maybe something along the lines of asking good questions. Did you come to any conclusions as a result of um just that particular example, I, I one of the things, the reason we asked how or what questions was because without the person realizing it, we were engaging them to help us get them out safely. So we might say, you know, they might say something and we would say something like, well, how am I supposed to do that? What I did is I just love that, that ball back into your court. I just put that question back and well, how am I supposed to do that? Now, I’ve got you thinking how I can help you get out safely and people don’t realize that, you know, just, just the tone of voice or the question that we, I just put that back in your court.
How am I supposed to do that? Now, now I want you to come up with a reason or a decision on how I am supposed to do that. That’s technically my job. But engaging other people to help us get them out safely was really the reason we use those how and what questions because we didn’t, we didn’t, like I said, a lot of, we didn’t know why we were there. We didn’t know what was going on. You do as the hostage J or the barricade person. So by me asking you a simple innocuous question. Well, how am I supposed to do that now? I just got you to help me. So, you know, asking questions that, that get people to reveal, especially like in business and things like that, getting people to reveal their problems, their issues so that you can formulate. And I, and I don’t mean to do this in kind of a and uh you know, I’m, I’m pulling one over on you but to formulate your solution based on their, what they just told you what their problems are as the solution that can help them alleviate those problems.
I, if you’re good in business, if you can do that, get people kind of pull that out of people, you know what’s going on here. Oh, hey, my product, my service can help you alleviate that problem. Yeah, I mean, think how much money you could make if money was what motivated you, but think how many sales you could get because you’re getting people to reveal things just based on the questions that you’re asking. It’s a great answer. And um I hope you don’t mind me touching on that. I just think it’s a fascinating uh you look back on it fondly that time I do iii I think we helped a lot of people. I think, you know, there were a lot of people that were in crisis that, I mean, let’s face it. If you’re talking to me and you, you’re surrounded by the police, you’re probably having the worst day of your life. And can we get these people calmed down? And the, the way we used to talk about it was about play at the park when, you know, we were growing up on a teeter totter or a seesaw. And when we started negotiating, the person’s emotional brain was way up in the air and their rational brain was down on the ground.
And over time by asking those questions and getting them to talk and burn off a lot of that emotional energy. You would get that teeter totter seesaw sort of the equilibrium. And then hopefully over more time, you’d get it to where their rational brain was up in the air and their emotional brain was down on the ground because let’s face it, we all make better decisions with our rational brain than we do with our emotional brain. 100% agree. Um Coming back to your introduction. Um You said that you’d been a uh cancer fighter um for a significant period of time, um I asked these questions predominantly for the people that might be listening, who are in the same position as you. And um I think you got quite a good approach on controlling your mind. So, um would you mind sharing how that was initially to hear from someone that you, you had cancer and then how you went about, uh battling it in a, I don’t know if it’s the right word but a, a positive way.
Yeah, I think, I think it is the right word. Um, so back in 2012 I was coaching girls high school basketball and I had a, had a callous break open on the bottom of my foot right below my third toe. And initially didn’t think much of it because as a coach, you’re on your feet a lot. But after a few weeks of it not, I went to see a podiatrist, a foot doctor, friend of mine and he took an X ray and he said, Terry, I think you have a cyst in there and I can cut it out and he did it and he showed it to me it was just a little gelatin sack with some white fat, no dark spots, no blood, nothing that gave either one of us concern. But fortunately or unfortunately, he sent it off to pathology to have it looked at. And then two weeks later, I get this call from him. And as I mentioned, he’s a friend of mine and the more difficulty he was having telling me what was going on, the more frightened I was becoming. So finally he just laid it out for me. He said, Tara, I’ve been a doctor for 25 years and I have never seen the form of cancer that you have. You have this incredibly rare form of Melanoma.
And most people think of melanoma is too much exposure to the sun and it affects the me the pigment in their skin. This is a rare kind that has nothing to do with sun exposure. It appears on the bottom of the feet or the palms of the hands. There’s also an even rarer form of Melanoma that appears in your mucus membrane. So in your nose or your mouth or something like that, but it’s still Melanoma. And he recommended I go because it was so incredibly rare to MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the certainly best cancer hospitals we have in the United States. And when I went there, they told me this was a death sentence. They’re like, we don’t have anything to offer you. Melanoma is pretty much a death sentence, we can offer you surgery. So if it’s somewhere that it pops up that we can cut it out, we will do that, but we have no drugs, no therapies that we can offer you. So I thought, well, maybe I can turn a death sentence into a life sentence and, and don’t get me wrong. I mean, Thomas when I got diagnosed, I went through all the stages that we would probably associate with grief. You know, first it was denial.
I can’t possibly have cancer. I’ve done everything right in my life and then I got angry, I can’t possibly have cancer. I’ve done everything right in my life. And then there was a, our daughter was in high school at the time. There was sort of a bargaining with God of. Look. Just let me live long enough to see her graduate from high school. And then I, I absolutely got down, I got depressed and then I got to a point where this sucks. But I’m gonna have to embrace the suck for lack of a better term. I, I don’t like the cards that I’ve been dealt. I’m gonna have to play these cards to the best of my ability. And I made a decision early on. I’m never gonna take out my misfortune on a doctor on a nurse on a therapist or technician who’s trying to help me, who’s trying to get me better. But I’ve seen so many people do that. They’re scared, they’re anxious and they just lash out at doctors or nurses or things like that. And I know why II, I had a, I’ll end it with this top, with this story. I had a, I still am treated every three weeks.
I have tumors in my lungs now. Um, and so I go to the hospital and the first thing I have to have is blood. So I’m usually there at six o’clock in the morning with the receptionist who opens the, the lab. And I remember her saying to me one day because I always ask her you know, how was your weekend? What did you do and things like that? And she said to me, she said, you know, you’re always so, so kind, so nice to me, you asked me about my weekend. And I said, well, why do you find that, you know, as something that’s, that’s kind of odd or out of the, the norm? And she said, well, everybody, not everybody but a lot of people that come in here, they, they lash out at me. They, they’re mad, they’re angry and, and they kind of take it out on me. And I said to her, do you understand why they do that? And she was a, she’s a very young lady and she didn’t, she’s like, no, I just think they’re, you know, they’re not nice people. I said, no, I said they have, they’re scared, they’re gonna have blood work that may tell them that they’re gonna have to have chemotherapy or surgery or they’re gonna die or, or whatever that’s waiting on them and they take that out on you. And I said to her, what a tremendous opportunity you have to show them kindness, to show them respect, to show them love, regardless of how horrible they are treating you.
Because now you understand where they’re coming from. And do you think she took it on board? Yes. Yeah. I, I, this, this was about a month ago and, and, and, and she’s happier now when I see her, you know, she was not happy. She was, 00, gosh, I gotta go to work. I, I mean, a hard worker, worked hard, got there, you know, she’s there at six o’clock in the morning and it’s like, but now she smiles more and things like that. So, yeah, I absolutely think she took it to heart. That’s quite a ripple effect. If, uh, if it’s landed with her cos she’s gonna be, she’s gonna be impacting all those other people. So that’s, that’s a great thing. Um, I also wanted to recognize what I think is quite an admirable trait, which is, uh, you decided to make the best of things regardless of how you felt about them. One thing I did want to ask you about was, um, sometimes, uh, the doctors, uh, I get blamed for it a little bit. I think when they give a diagnosis, which is, should we say f fatal but perhaps may not be. Um, have you got any thoughts about what you went through in relation to that topic?
Yeah. I, I mean, you know, I was given two years to live back in 2012 and I’m still, still here. II, I have a very strong faith. I think that has more to do with a higher power than it has really anything to do with me. But I think one of the things that always concerns me or bothers me about a doctor saying, hey, you’ve got six months to live or two years to live or whatever is that they’re, you know, in Las Vegas here it’s sort of the gam gambling capital, you know, where you go to Tibet and, and I always kinda attribute doctors to that. They’re playing the odds, you know, based on the number of cancer patients they see with your particular type of disease, they’re gonna tell you, you have X amount of time to live and what the doctors don’t know. They don’t know your heart, they don’t know your mind, they don’t know your soul. They don’t know that. Next summer your kids graduating from college and by God, you’re gonna be there or next spring your daughter’s getting married and you’re gonna wanna walk her down the aisle and, and you’re gonna be there, you’re gonna do that. And I think if you have something to focus on in the future, something that’s positive.
I, I don’t care. I mean, my, my dad, when he was diagnosed, he had end stage breast cancer back in the 19 eighties. They didn’t know how to treat a man with breast cancer back then. And they told him to go home and die and he lived another 3.5 years. And the reason I believe he did was because he had a purpose, he was in real estate and he actually worked up until two weeks before he died. And I sort of tucked that in the back of my mind and said, when, you know, when it’s my turn sort of in the barrel, so to speak, that I need to have a purpose. I need to have something to do other than sit around and say, oh, is me? This is terrible. I’m gonna die. You know, but I’ve seen it, I’ve seen people that have just turned their lives over to a doctor, somebody with a bunch of initials after their name. And so whatever he or she says, that’s what I’m gonna do. And they’re dead in two years. I want my life based on the decisions that I made, not on the ones that I didn’t make or that others made for me. And so I asked a lot of questions of my doctors.
I, I read, I research, um, I, I’ll give you an example. I am treated at university, setting a university hospital. And so I have a, um, an oncology pharmacist. And I read a report that these two doctors in Portugal were experimenting with DH A, the, the fatty fish oil that’s supposed to be good for your heart. And they found that it acted like a Trojan horse in cancer patients that the cancer cells took up the DH A and it killed them. So I’m like, oh, great. So I reach out to my pharmacist. I look, I wanna take DH A, do you have any problem with that? And she said, well, let me research it. I’ll get back to you. About a week later, she calls me back and said, tell me we don’t want you to take it. And here’s why you had a blood clot in your lung. As a result of some therapy you had in 2017, you’re on a blood thinner, DH a thins your blood even more so you could be susceptible to, to bleeding. So we don’t want you to take it. Well, that made sense to me and, and, and that’s what I always say to my doctor. If you can explain to me, not in medical terms but why as, as a, just a regular guy, we’re gonna do this or you recommend this therapy, then, then I’m much more likely to go along with it than just we’ll just do what I tell you to do or that’s the way the, the standard protocol or something like that.
No. Explain it to me. Explain why we’re doing this because I wanna be part of my own healthcare. I wanna make decisions that no, I’m not gonna do that or yes, I am gonna do that and I’m gonna supplement it in this way or whatever it is. So I wanna be involved in my own healthcare. I know a lot of people don’t, but for me it’s something that’s, that’s just critically important on the way I’m wired that I wanna be part of this. I just don’t wanna be a participant in it. It was a great answer. And, um, uh, I think a lot of it, um, would actually suit the next question. Um, but if there’s anything, in addition, I just wanted to check and that is, um, someone, uh, may find this and they may be in the position in the sense that they have just been told, uh, you know, you have cancer and, um, they’re dealing with that. So if you could share some advice based on your experience, uh what would you tell them? Probably tell him this story that I’m gonna tell you. So there was a, there was a professor back in the 19 fifties at Johns Hopkins University here in the United States that did a very simple experiment with rats.
He took rats and he put them in a tank of water that was over their head and he wanted to see how long the average rat would tread water. And initially the average rat treaded water for about 15 minutes. And just as those rats were getting ready to sink and drown, he reached in, grabbed them, pulled them out, dried them off and let him rest for a while. And then he took the exact same rats and put them back in that exact same tank of water. And the second time around on average, those rats treaded water for 60 hours. Now, think about that. The first time, 15 minutes, it’s not like my business is gonna fail or I’m gonna flunk a test or anything like that, I’m gonna die. My life is gonna be over and the second time around 60 hours, which taught me two things. Number one, the importance of hope in our lives that if you know you’re doing the right thing, whatever it is, whether it’s illness, whether you’re starting a business, whether you’re in school, whatever it is, if you have those good habits and you know, you’re doing them, maybe not today, maybe not this month, maybe not even next year.
But at some point in time, you will more than likely see benefit if you’re doing that. So hope is number one and number two, what that showed me, it’s just how much more our physical bodies can handle than we ever thought they could. We quit. We give up, we give in long before our physical bodies do. And that really, I think goes back to what we initially started talking about is the ability to control your mind to control your brain from saying, oh, I’m just exa I can’t go on, you can go on. I have a good friend of mine who works with my wife, who’s a former navy seal. That’s a part of the military here in the United States. Some of the toughest people in the world and the seals have what they call their 40% rule, which basically says if you’re done, if you’re at the end of your role. If you can’t go on, you’re only at 40% of your maximum. You still have another 60% left in reserve to give to yourself. So this is a long winded answer to your question.
And I apologize, but it really is, you know, when you get to that point, I just can’t go on, understand, you’re only at 40% and you still have another 60% left to give to yourself. I love that. And, um, yeah, I love the mentality. Um One more question if I may. Um And it’s around the, um, not necessarily from the perspective of the patient but the family member of the patient. Uh because I think that I don’t know if it’s a discussion that we have around how you should be uh in, in that instance, but as a result of you going, going through that experience, how would you recommend people who are family members of, uh, cancer patients or someone who’s just been diagnosed? What would you share with them in terms of advice? I, I, I’ll share AAA quote from Winston Churchill and then I’ll tell you a story. Uh I, I, and I love this quote Churchill during World War Two said, you know, if you’re going through hell, keep going, you’re gonna go through hell. Uh I, I think it’s, it’s so much easier as the patient to take on the physical pain as well as the emotional pain.
Whereas the family just pretty much takes on the emotional pain of what’s going on and having to deal with, deal with these things. Um, back in, uh, I had my leg amputated in, during COVID in 2020. Also, when I found I had these tumors in my lungs and I was eight years into this cancer fight. And my oncologist said I wanna put you on chemotherapy. And I looked at him and I said, is it gonna save my life? Hm. He said, probably not, but it might buy you some more time. And I said, well, if the outcome is gonna be the same, whether I take chemo or I don’t take chemo, I think I’d rather be as healthy as I can to go through this. I said, but I’ll, I’ll go home and talk to my family. And so I go home and it’s, it’s, I, I have two brothers and my mother is still alive, but it’s pretty much my daughter and, and my wife and I, and so I started to tell him what the doctor wants and my daughter immediate is like, all right, we need a family meeting. I’m like family meeting. There’s three of us. It’s not like we got a board here, you know, or something like that. So we sit around the kitchen table and individually talk about wanting to, wanting me to take chemotherapy.
What that means to each of us. And then when that’s over my daughter’s like, all right, let’s take a vote. How many people want dad to have chemotherapy? And my wife and daughter raised her head. I’m like, what? Wait a minute, I am I getting out voted for something that I don’t want to do. But I remembered back when I was in the police academy and our defensive tactics instructor used to have us bring a photograph of the people we love the most, the class. And as we were learning different techniques to defend ourselves, we were to look at that photograph because he reasoned, you will fight harder for the people you love than you will fight for yourself. And so I ended up taking chemotherapy, not because I wanted to, but because my wife and daughter wanted me to and I love them more than I love myself. And in hindsight, it was the right thing to do. It was the bridge that got me to the clinical trial drug that I’ve been on for the last 3.5 years. That is, that is keeping me stable. But it certainly wasn’t something when I went home that, that I had any interest in doing. But again, my family, incredibly important be involved, you know, get involved with your, ask the questions, ask the hard, how do you feel?
You know, you look like you feel like crap right now, you know, are you OK? Is there? I mean, ask those hard questions, don’t we want those questions asked because I think cancer tends to isolate you certainly from your friends and then your family. And I think eventually from yourself. So ask those hard questions that, you know, maybe you think are uncomfortable, you need to have those co those tough, tough discussions. Amazing answer. And, um, I don’t know. Hit me, hit me pretty hard when you said, uh, we, uh, we love our family members perhaps more than we love ourselves. And I think it’s a great thing that you did. The fact that you, I know we’re, we’re willing to do that for your family so well done there. And I think there’s a theme throughout all of your answers. Uh, today, uh, side point, I think you’re, uh, exemplary as a person who is, who has cancer but is dealing with it in, in the, the best way possible I would say. So I just wanted to say that, um, but throughout every answer you’ve given, I kind of feel like you’ve got great mindset or mentality.
And the question is, um, why? Oh, I was gonna say because I don’t have a choice, but that’s not true. I mean, you, you do have a choice. You do have a choice to sort of turn your life over to, to a doctor. But I, I’ve come to realize that you, you need to control your mind. You, you need to call us your mind. Um, there’s a health care organization here in the United States called the Cleveland Clinic. And they did a, um, sort of a study on our brains on our thoughts and they came to the conclusion that on any given day we have 60 to 70,000 thoughts that pass through our mind, most of which we don’t pay attention to. And 95% of those thoughts are the same thoughts that we had yesterday. So, on any given day, you have roughly 3500 new thoughts and your brain operates at a speed of about 1000 words a minute. Now, I’m old enough that I took typing in high school. I could get an a with 40 words a minute. So 1000 words a minute, you know, is something that, you know, you can’t comprehend.
But the bottom line is, your mind can only hold one thought at a time. Why would you wanna make that a negative thought? I think the problem with most people and I’ve certainly been guilty of this in my life is that we think with our fears and our insecurities instead of using our minds. You know, how many times in your life have you like, you know? Oh, for example, I want to start a business. Oh, wait a minute. Maybe I don’t have enough information or maybe I’m not smart enough. Or what will people say about me if my business fails? That’s thinking with your fears and your insecurities, that’s not thinking with your mind. And, and I, I remember the quote from Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa who said I never lose. I either win or I learn. So what can you learn, you know, from, from tragedy, from, from misfortune, from making mistakes if you can learn from that and apply that to your life? I think that’s something that a lot of people can do but choose not to do. And I’ll, and I’ll end with this. How do you call your mom?
You do hard things and, and I recommend this. I try to do this every day of my life. Do one thing every day that scares you that makes you uncomfortable. That is potentially embarrassing for you. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. But if you do those small things every day when the big disasters in life hit us and they had all of us, you know, we, we get let go from our job. We break up with our boyfriend or a girlfriend. We, why not? We have a chronic or a terminal illness? You’ll be so much more resilient to handle those things when they come up. So it’s pretty simple. I, I need to clean the house today. I don’t want to clean the house, clean the house. I need to study for that test and I don’t really wanna study for that test. Study for that test. Oh, I need to stay late and contact this client. About a potential sale. I really wanna do that. Stay late and contact that client do things you don’t wanna do because that will, that will call us your mind. It will get you outside your comfort zone. And when you’re outside your comfort zones, that’s where you can grow as a human being. Great answer.
And, um, well, I love the whole conversation. I think you’re a very inspirational person. Um Is there anything that I should have asked you about today? You know, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll end it. I’ll end with the final story. Um I, I had a, a nurse recently asked me, you know, what was it like to have your foot amputated in 2018 and your leg amputated in 2020. And I, I told her it, it hasn’t been easy. You know, when you’re 6 ft eight, learning to walk again, falling is not an option. You know, you kinda get hurt from this height. So you gotta be a little more careful with that. But what I told her was cancer can take all my physical faculties, but cancer can’t touch my mind. It can’t touch my heart and it can’t touch my soul. That’s who I am. That’s who you are. Thomas, that’s what everybody’s listening to us is. And we spend so much time on, on our physical bodies. You know, we go to the gym, we eat right. We get enough rest, we reduce stress and I’m not telling you not to do that. You absolutely should do that. But what I am suggesting is maybe every day spend a little more time working on who you are.
That heart, that mind, that soul, we know this body is gonna die. At some point in time. We know it’s gonna decay and go away. But I think our heart, our mind and our soul. I think those things are eternal. They will live on. And I don’t think we spend nearly as much time working on them as we probably should. It is a great uh message to end on um Terry, where do people go if they want to connect with you? So, I have a blog called Motivational Check. Um I put up a thought for the day, every day. I put up the Monday morning motivational message. I have recommendations for books to read videos to watch. You can leave me a message that’s all at motivational check dot com. Oh, that should be part of people’s uh daily or perhaps morning routine if, if anything should be in there. So, um Terry, thank you for being an amazing guest today. Well, Thomas, thanks for having me on. I really enjoyed talking with you.