Chapter 1 – A Tale of Two Men (rough draft)
A Tale of Two Men
Two men awake.
Both lay in their beds in the master bedroom of their respective 5 bedroom 2 bathroom homes.
Man #1 has a beautiful home, a perfect size for his growing children and beautiful wife.
Man #2 has a home in need of repair, and is worried at the prospect of financing the necessary repairs.
Man #1 lays in bed for a moment and feels his healthy heart beating, takes a deep breath of fresh cool oxygen, and takes a moment to marvel at his fit healthy body.
Man #2 lays for a moment and runs his hands down his ribs to his big belly, an excess of weight that he just wishes would disappear, but knows that with his busy life and overworked lifestyle, that exercise is nothing more than a hope and a dream.
Both men role over to see that the clock says it’s time to get up.
Man #1 takes another deep breath and this time feels, in an instant, the rush of excitement that accompanies the start of a new day full of untold potential and the inevitable anticipation of the divine moments of living his dream life at his dream job while living in his dream home. He is so thankful that he got the sleep he did and he tells his mind and his body that those hours of rest he recieved were exactly the amount of sleep his body needed to be productive and successful for the day.
Man #2 takes another deep breath and let’s out that all too familiar sigh of discontent and resentment that he has to get up to get ready to spend another day at a job he hates, working for too little pay and for people that do not see his talent or appreciate his contributions to the company. He feels the nagging, all too frequent feeling that if only he could get a little better job, or get his boss to pay him just a little more money for the work he does, maybe he could finally buy a home that would more comfortably fit his growing family. He got to bed late, and is now up early. He rubs his stinging and weary eyes as he angrily mutters his opinion about how he didn’t get nearly enough sleep, and how his lack of rest is sure to make it hard to get through the day.
Man #1 swings his legs out of bed and stretches his arms and legs. As he springs to his feet, two words quietly, almost inaudibly, cross his lips so as to not wake his wife, a brief almost silent prayer to his creator “Thank you!” He glances over at the love of his life, and rests his gaze on the angel that sleeps beside him, and feels a rush of joy that she so selflessly stays at home to tend the children, and is so thankful she raises them in love and to the melody of selfless sacrifice. He’s thankful he hasn’t woken her, she deserves the extra rest. After all between the two of them she most definitely has the harder job.
Man #2 reluctantly swings his legs out of bed, saying audibly, “Geez I’m tired,” hoping to make as much noise as possible to remind his wife that he is the one that now has to go to work to make money while she gets to stay comfortably in bed and at home and only take care of the kids, while he has to go work his fingers to the bone. He hopes she realizes how lucky she is that she doesn’t have to go out and get a real job. He looks at her with a mingling of envy and resentment, and in his mind sarcastically says, “no no, please don’t get up, I’m sure you need all the rest you can get!”
Both men leave the bedroom and head down the hall.
Man #1 does some jumping jacks and pushups, and some ab exercises. He sits down at his kitchen table and he opens his scriptures. He reads and tries to pay close attention in order to look for the lesson he knows he will inevitably learn from his studies. He kneels and utters a prayer of gratitude and to plead for a productive and powerful day. He loves the opportunity to connect with God daily and relishes the small simple moments of humble prayer and supplication.
Man #2 slumps to his knees, and with hands clasped together, fingers interlocked, he places his hands on the floor as he bends at the waste, and lets his head rest on his hands using them a semi boney and fleshy pillow as he goes through the motions of prayer. He knows he’s supposed to be religious and supposed to pray daily, so he utters an all too common series of words and phrases, hurriedly trying to complete the ritual so he can get it over with and check that off of his list of “supposed to do’s.”
After a prayer Man #1 takes 10 minutes to meditate and clear his mind so that it is ready to be filled back up. After his 10 minutes of refreshing and renewing meditation he pulls out a book on personal development, removes his bookmark and begins reading. He loves to fill his head with thoughts of success first thing in the morning. He pulls out his vision board and feels the feelings of achieving all of the things he’s identified he wants to achieve in this life. He reads aloud the affirmations he’s written, and he takes a moment to write down some words of wisdom and some experiences in his journal.
After his empty prayer Man #2 plops down on the couch and lazily reaches for the remote. He is already fed up with the day and thinks that maybe just 10 minutes of sports highlights can put him in a better mood. 10 minutes turns in to 30, and he looks at the clock on the wall and thinks, “10 more minutes of shut eye can’t hurt, after all I was up late, I deserve it.” He falls back asleep. A 10 minute nap turns in to a 30 minute snooze. He abruptly awakes, looks at the clock and feels the stress wash over him. “Oh great, now I’m gonna be late.”
Both men make their way to the bathroom and turn on the shower.
Man #1 hops in and as he begins to let the perfectly warm water run down his head and body, he feels another brief rush of excitement. He knows that some of his best ideas and most divinely inspired bursts brilliance come in the few minutes he spends everyday in the shower.
He bends down and blissfully pics up a couple squirt toys that the kids didn’t get picked up from the night before, and as he places them in the toy net that hangs on the wall of the shower, he smiles at the thought of those gorgeous and hilarious kids and the games he played with them the night before as he lovingly helped them scrub between their toes.
Man #2 hops in the shower, grumbles to himself that the water is not quite warm enough, and then sits on the bathtub floor only to catch a bath toy squarely in his butt, and feels that all too often frustration of “why can’t the kids clean up after themselves after their bath.” He angrily puts the toy in it’s place and tries to enjoy the water, that somehow is now too hot, and sits on the floor of the shower feeling a sense of dread wash over him that in just one short hour he will once again be in his uncomfortable office chair pounding a keyboard doing pointless work for a boss he hates. Maybe one day life won’t be so miserable.
After a shower and a shave, both men make their way to their closets.
Man #1 gazes at his many fine suits, his beautiful shirts and gorgeous patterns, and his beautiful collection of silk ties. He looks at the one from last Sunday and smiles. In the absence of a baby wipe he used the corner of his tie to wipe away a few pieces of mushy baby snack from his baby boy’s face. He notices the tie almost seems more beautiful because of that little fact. He picks a dark suit, a beautifully tailored French cuff shirt, and a clean tie that compliments the shirt and suit. He selects a silk pocket square, slides on his expensive shoes, and takes a glance in the mirror, and thinks, “Not too bad!” He knows he’s not required to wear a suit, but he loves the way it feels and a little extra effort can’t hurt anything.
Man #2 after opening his closet, looks at his limited suit selection, his shirts that feel too familiar and too old, and his ties, a few of which have barely noticeable stains. He pushes those ties aside as he wonders why they can’t buy the baby a cleaner form of a snack so that it didn’t end up somehow always mashed on his tie. He looks at the suits and ties and thinks, “I’m not going to wear a suit today… Why should I, who am I trying to impress? What… I put on a suit to pretend I’m fancy so that all those dummies I work with will think I’m worth listening to, gimme a break!” He pushes the suits over and grabs a pair of khaki’s that seem a little too tight, and throws a polo shirt on that seems to show a little too much of the big belly it’s trying to conceal. “After all,” he thinks, “if I have to go to a crap job, and I don’t have anything good to wear, at least I can be a little comfy!”
Both men head to the kitchen.
Man #1, knowing his family will be up soon, starts to prepare breakfast for them. With care and joy he prepares a nice warm batch of healthy oatmeal and leaves it on the stove for his family knowing they will be staggering in to the kitchen any moment . He sits down to enjoy his hot bowl of oats and he listens to a book that teaches him principles of success.
Man #2 grabs a bowl of sugary cereal hoping to be as quiet as possible so he doesn’t wake up the kids and have to get them breakfast too.
Just as both men finish their breakfasts the kids and wife wake up.
Man #1 greets his family and showers each with love, hugs and kisses and excitedly dishes them up their breakfast as he makes enthusiastic small talk about what they dreamed of, and how they slept.
Man #2 also greets his family with an obligatory, yet enjoyable batch of hugs and kisses, but is immediately taken back by how loud the kids seem to be talking, and he tries to quiet them as he reluctantly gets bowls and cereal for them. He hopes to move quickly so he can quickly get out the door and to his quiet albeit uncomfortable office.
Man #1 tries to do a couple extra housekeeping jobs, and squeeze out a few extra minutes with his family before he leaves, hoping that the few small things he can do will make the day just a little easier for his wife.
Man #2 tries to find an excuse why he must leave right away.
In their own time frames both men grab their laptops, kiss the wife and kids goodbye, and walk out the door to their cars.
Man #1 opens the door to his comfortable sporty Sedan and fires up the engine. He pauses for a moment to briefly reflect on the blessing of a nice comfortable vehicle and thinks of all those who aren’t so lucky. He looks at the gas gauge, he’s almost on empty, but he has plenty to get to work, so he powers the radio on to take advantage of a few extra moments to listen to his book on success. He pulls out his phone to take a brief glance at the bank account. He sees the numbers reflecting his balances and feels an overwhelming gratitude for the incredible abundance that he and his family enjoy, and backs out of the driveway to go create even more abundance by spending the day providing tremendous value for others and serving as many people as possible. He feels an exhilarating optimism and knows that although life may throw a curve ball or two at him today, he feels perfectly equipped to take on any challenge.
Man #2 opens the door to his sedan, and is once again reminded that it isn’t the car he’s dreamt of and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles he wanted. He turns on the engine, looks at the gas gauge and feels bugged that the gas is so low. He realizes he’ll need to fill up soon, and hopes there’s enough gas to get to work, so he pulls out his phone and looks at his bank account to see if he can even buy gas that day. There is some money in there, but it isn’t nearly enough, at least not for where he visualized his life being at this point, and it is a reminder of his pointless job where he works for pennies. He pulls out of the driveway wondering how little he can get away with doing at the office today, and if he can squeeze in a few episodes of a Netflix Original Series throughout the course of the day? He wonders if he can get through all the crap he will inevitably have to deal with over the next 9 hours and as he begins down the road he is already longing for his couch and the latest episode of the trashy reality show that is currently sitting on his DVR. He wonders what will go wrong during the day, because something always does, and wonders how bad it will be when it undoubtedly does go wrong.
What Does The Story Mean?
Let’s recap the story. These two men, Man #1 and Man #2 seem to have some minor similarities between the two of them, and they also seem to have some pretty drastic differences between their lives.
Both men live in 5 bedroom 2 bathroom homes. Both of these men seem to be married, and both appear to have children. Both of these men wake up in the morning to prepare for work and go through their respective morning or daily routines before starting their days. Both men shower, both men get dressed and eat breakfast. Both men leave their homes everyday, get in their vehicles, and head off to work. That is about where the similarities end.
Here is where they seem to differ. One of these men has a beautiful home, while the other has a home in need of desperate repair. One of these men has a fit body he’s proud of, while the other is overweight. Not only is Man #2 overweight but he seems to not be very happy about it, yet you sense that despite his frustration with his body has zero time to exercise or get in shape.
It seems like Man #1 is really living his dream life and has his dream job. Man #2 on the other hand seems to despise his job and his co-workers. Man #2 seems to echo the feelings of a lot of workers that simply feel too busy, underpaid and under appreciated.
Man #1 seemed to view his wife’s role in the home very differently than Man #2. Man #1 recognized that she had the far more difficult job of the two of them, while Man #2 seemed to view her choice to stay home as some sort of constant vacation.
Man #1 seems to have a morning routine that consists of daily disciplines such as prayer, study, meditation, exercise, and reading. It seems like Man #1 is interested in doing what is required to be successful, while Man #2 is interested in doing what he must to survive. Man #2 doesn’t seem to possess any morning routine disciplines whatsoever, and attempts to distract and detach himself from his real life during the morning hours so he can prolong having to face the day.
Both men seem to think that prayer is important, but Man #1 seems to pray to God in order to truly communicate, while Man #2 seems to pray so he can check it off his “I’m a good boy” list.
Man #1 feels joy when he sees the messy tub, because to him it is an indicator that happy and beautiful children live in his home, and he seems to be pretty happy about the fact that he has children at all, versus the minor inconvenience of picking up bath toys. Man #2 however just seems bugged and angry. You may have also noticed that for Man #2 when he got in the shower the water was too cold, then it somehow became too hot whereas Man #1 thought the water was just right. Did you also noticed that Man #2 sits on the floor of the tub, almost as if he can’t bear to stand upright either because he is too depressed or too tired, while Man #1 viewed that time as precious minutes to receive good ideas?
These men seem to have very different wardrobes, and appear to feel quite different from one another when it comes to what they choose to wear to work. Man #1 had what sounds like a robust, and fancy wardrobe full of expensive and beautiful items. Man #2 however, gives the feeling off that he must have bought his suits and shirts from a discount retailer, and doesn’t seem altogether confident in wearing them.
I don’t know if you noticed, but another interesting comparison between the two men was what happened with the tie. Man #1 used his nice tie as a napkin for his baby while he was at church. That seems to indicate that the tie is merely just an article of clothing to Man #1 and his child is far more important. Man #2 seems annoyed that the baby gets his clothing messy.
Man #1 seems to believe the saying that you should “dress to impress” while Man #2 seems to believe that as long as he’s clothed, regardless of what he may be clothed in, it’s good enough.
The breakfast choices and what they do as they prepare breakfast were also very different. Man #1 seems like he chooses food that is perhaps a little healthier but still delicious while Man #2 appears to want to shovel his face full of sugary cereal. Man #1 wants to prepare breakfast for his family, but Man #2 would rather not. Man #1 seemed thrilled to see and hear from his family when they woke up, but Man #2 seemed more preoccupied with the decibel level than his personal decency level.
Man #1 wants to hang around longer and help his wife, while Man #2 is looking for the exit. Man #1 seems to love his car and simply be grateful that he has enough gas to get to work, while Man #2 seems anxious and upset that he may not have enough gas in his car, a car he is severely underwhelmed by but still drives to get him to the office.
When Man #1 looks at his bank account, he feels security and abundance, and it makes him want to go create even more abundance throughout the day, and notice that he appears to want to create abundance by serving others and giving others value. Man #2 seems to suffer under the weight of lack, and appears to just want to do the bare minimum to get through the day.
As the story concludes with the two men’s opinions on what the day ahead may hold, it becomes pretty clear that one is a positive minded optimist (Man #1), and the other (Man #2) is a negative minded skeptic who likely thinks of himself as a “realist,” but he’s really just a skeptic.
The Story Revealed
Who are these two men who seem to live such different lives?
They are both… me.
I am both men.
Both of these men are me at different points in my life. Man #2 is how I showed up in life before I discovered a way to change my life with the principles and simple teachings in this book. Man #2 is me before I started using the small simple conscious daily decision to feel and express something new and powerful in my life.
Man #2 was me before I discovered the eternal and life altering power of gratitude.
Man #2 is me before I discovered the power of “Flipping The Gratitude Switch.”