Body, Mind and Quill
What masters of prevarication people are—if not with others, then often with themselves. And so we have come, once more, to that time of year when we promise ourselves we’ll “do better.” We vow to hit goalposts that seem to retreat farther and farther from us as if pushed by unseen hands. As I look back over this very difficult year—a challenging year personally, professionally, and even physically as we were displaced from our home—I have few regrets. My main goals this year were first, to finish my darn book series, and second, to grow my YouTube channel. Mission accomplished for each. I ended the year on a high note, and because this is a column for sharing, not hoarding, suggestions for self-improvement and happiness, let me tell you how.
Foremost, I believe that my background in physical health and wellness has helped me immeasurably in setting and meeting realistic goals. In training, we structure a fitness plan—incorporating and plotting out our client’s goals—into microcycles and mesocycles. The body operates according to scientific principles and protocols that cannot be (naturally) manipulated: “Do X and Y happens” kind of stuff. If you eat X amount of calories, train X amount of days, Y will happen. Simple, right? Well, in theory. Except the same thing can happen in training that happens in real life. We get derailed by unexpected or dire events.
When those catastrophic inhibitors come my way, I always try to adopt the mentality shared by some of the world’s most successful individuals, who see failure and misfortune only as stepping stones to improvement and new opportunities. How simplistic and pedantic, you might think. You’d be right if I wasn’t able to share with you a couple of real-life examples. My first ever article for Shelf was about the creation of my dark fantasy series, precipitated by the death of my mother. I used my grief to fuel my creativity and I produced a five-book saga—sweeping and critically acclaimed— of which I am forever proud (and of which Cynthia, my mom, surely is too).
I bring the same attitude to my smaller, day-to-day misfortunes. For instance, I was kneecapped by a cold just this past holiday. I so rarely get sick (the last time was in 2012) that when I do, I’m basically Typhoid Mary—utterly toxic and pouring snot.
Which was how I spent my New Year’s Eve: miserable and sick. What’s the term? Netflix and Chill? My version was “NyQuil and the chills.” Although, because of my rest and recuperation, I woke up with a bit more energy on New Year’s Day. Enough to make it to the gym (I never miss a day) and to write this article. Because each step to success begins with either a stumble or another step. Fair or not, the most successful people in the world are not necessarily the brightest, or most talented, or the kindest. They’re the ones who are least likely to give up.
So to wrap this up, we can distill my anecdotes into two pieces of advice. One: set realistic goals for the new year while understanding that you will most likely fall short of some if not all of those marks (but hopefully not!). Two: do not fear failure or rejection. Take it in stride; choose to see it as merely one path closing, an opportunity to look for the next. A path will appear, I guarantee you. And if it doesn’t, grab that machete and hack out one of your own.
ABOUT THE COLUMNIST
Quadragenarian fitness model, lifestyle coach and bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Feast of Fates, Christian A. Brown received a Kirkus star in 2014 for the first novel in his genre-changing Four Feasts till Darkness series. He has appeared on Newstalk 1010, AM640, Daytime Rogers, and Get Bold Today with LeGrande Green. He actively writes and speaks about his mother’s journey with cancer and on gender issues in the media.
Scheming immortal kings and antediluvian horrors meet their match in a handmaiden.
Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her—visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land. With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.
Article originally Published in the February/March 2020 Issue “Short Stories”