Tragedy and Triumph: Life story inspires students; public event Thursday

MARYSVILLE – Former professional wrestler Marc Mero is telling his inspirational story of triumph and tragedy to local students this week.

He is asking students to invite their families and friends to his free community event Thursday at 7 p.m. at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

Mero explains that what happens in life is all about the choices you make. He said bad things happen to everyone, but the key is, “How you respond to it.”

And no matter what people tell you, stick to the motto, “I believe.”

Following are some of his life lessons and the stories behind them.

Family: Appreciate your family. He did not pay attention to his younger sister and brother when they were growing up. Both of them have already died. What he would give to have them back and have another chance with them. “Why couldn’t I have been a better brother?” And when his mom died he told her he was sorry. She was the only person who always believed in him. Yes, parents can be embarrassing. And they can make bad choices, like smoking. But tell them you need them in your life.

Friends: Be careful who you hang out with. “They’ll take you up or take you down. Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” He was on his way to boxing stardom when he started hanging out with the wrong crowd and got addicted to drugs. He was hooked for 10 years. Then, when he became a famous wrestler and had money for the first time in his life, he again started hanging out with the wrong crowd and got hooked on drugs. He showed a long list of his “friends” who had died of drug overdoses. “My name should be up there.”

Happiness: It’s the key to success, not money or fame. “It’s a choice you have to make.”

Bullying: “Nobody has the right to hurt you.” If you are a bully, I challenge you to go up to your victims tomorrow and say I’m sorry. Victims of bullies feel lonely and isolated. “You matter so much.” He said he grew up poor in New York, and his divorced mom had two jobs and had to buy their clothes at garage sales. “Their clothes didn’t make them better than me.”

Social media: Has made bullying worse. “Your words can kill.” Victims get low self-esteem, depressed and have anxiety. “Perception becomes your reality. Talk to someone.” We are all lost sometimes. After the storm the sun will shine. “Don’t give up.”

Fame and fortune: At age 30 he became a famous wrestler. He got to meet President Carter, Muhammad Ali, Kid Rock, Shaq and Hulk Hogan. But he started to make bad choices and lost everything, including his wife. “People say it can’t get any worse, but when you make bad choices it can.” It’s not about winning the race; it’s about finishing the race.

Goals: Write them down and put them somewhere where you will see them every day. “It forces you to take action.” That will keep you from putting them off, and end up being one of those, “I wish I would have done that” events in life. He started writing down goas when he was 10. Using that method later in life he wrote the book, “How to be the Happiest Person on the Planet.”

Negativity: People will always tell you you’re not good enough to do something. Don’t believe them. They say that because, “They can’t do it.”