In the Money

If you’re anything like me, you have all manner of well-meaning people sending you all manner of well-meaning stuff, all of which is intended to help me live my life in the manner in which all these well-meaning folks live their lives, at least according to all the well-meaning stuff they send me. In response to the series of weekly videos I’ve been creating since the beginning of The Great Shutdown, one of these well-meaning folks — who shall, given my inviolable senses of propriety and decorum, remain unnamed — assumed I must be in existential distress, dredged up this article, and sent it to me. It was packaged, of course, with all manner of good intentions.

No. I’m not a great athlete. I am, however, a perennially slow starter. I do my best thinking and writing in the morning. But my body needs time to adjust from supine and senseless to vertical and viable before I can undertake anything physical, to say nothing of strenuous. So, I decided to give the article’s advice a shot. While I was concerned only with trying to get my sorry keister in gear, the article targets three areas of my being: my body, my mind, and my spirit. Since my body seemed to be the thing that consistently gave me the most trouble, I attacked it first:

Coming out of bed, your body needs three things for certain — water, protein, and movement … 16 ounces of water gets you started … You need protein in your first food of the day, even if you are going for a run or a workout … Movement gets blood moving, clears the mind, and releases energy.

That was all I needed. The first day, I bounded out of bed at 6:00 a.m., bolted down to the kitchen, and chugged 16 ounces of water. I immediately learned that fighting my gag reflex is a physical activity — and a more strenuous one than I had anticipated or was used to performing so early in the day. Already the article was proving to be more clever than I’d anticipated.

As I was grabbing my protein powder, it dawned on me that I’d have to mix it with … oh, no … more water. Manning up, I shoveled two heaping scoops of protein into another 16 ounces of water, shook the concoction vigorously until the powder was completely dissolved, and downed the contents of the shaker all at once. I had to lash my jaw shut with baling wire — and put Vise Grips on my lips — but I kept the protein shake down. Another triumph.

Then I headed to the gym. Concerned about keeping 32 ounces of protein-suffused liquid down,  able to breathe only through my nose, and having to wear a mask over the Vise Grips (thank you, coronavirus),  I ruled out anything as aerobically challenging as cardio. I loaded a barbell, reclined under it on the bench, took a deep breath, and …

I awoke around noon. Apparently, there’d been little enough demand for the equipment in the gym that morning, my fellow members opted not to disturb my slumber. So, refreshed from my nap and discouraged with the progress I was making in reviving my body, I resolved to address my mind.

It’s All in Your Head

Concerning my gray matter, the article from Inc. said this:

Your mind needs focus or you will waste time and energy … A billionaire I interviewed told me one of his keys to success —  he tries to accomplish only one thing per day. A very big thing, of course, but from the moment he woke up until he finished his day, he threw every available effort at that one thing.

I’d already successfully focused on and completed one very big thing: I kept my protein shake down. With that task now behind me, I was a lead-pipe cinch to be the world’s next billionaire in no time.

As soon as I got home from the gym, I ran into the house and removed the Vise Grips from my lips. Then, I snipped the baling wire from my jaw, being careful not to cut myself. (I have a public to think about. I can’t afford that kind of scarring.) Finally, I sprinted to the mailbox to retrieve my first big check.

It wasn’t there. But it would be. It had to be. I was pumped, primed, and perfectly prepared for perennial prosperity.

Knowing I had it all but made, I grabbed the Inc. magazine again to make short work of my spiritual shortcomings. Since the body and mind parts had been duck soup, the spirit thing was going to be a breeze.

That’s the Spirit

To attain and retain the optimal frame of mind, the Inc. article offered this sage advice:

Being grateful, aware of all you have … starts your day with energy and calm. When you greet your employees, clients, and suppliers throughout the day knowing that you included them in your reflections, they will feel that in your interaction and it will make for a better exchange regardless of the circumstances.

I disregarded the fact that following the article’s first bit of advice had made the start of my day a little less than calm. But grateful? I was about to be a billionaire. How could I not be grateful for that?

I assumed the Lotus position, closed my eyes, concentrated on my breathing, reflected on my gratitude, and determined to greet everyone with whom I came in contact with energy, whatever calm I could muster, generosity, and kindness — even my mooching Uncle Floyd and the miserable neighborhood kid who blew up my mailbox on the Fourth of July.

It worked. Everyone with whom I came in contact that day shared my gratitude for the fact that I hadn’t honked up that protein shake. I was transformed.

I’m not a billionaire yet; although, I know it’s just a matter of time until the cash starts rolling in. But I’m a new man, a properly awakened man. I’ve aligned my body, my mind, and my spirit.

And I did it all without tossing my cookies.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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