Michael J. Brankin
3 min readJan 14, 2022

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So the question someone sent me today was, “How are you?” And normally my fun standard answer would have been, “Fantastic…and getting better.” I wish I could say I came up with that, but I’ve borrowed it from the late great Zig Ziglar.

But today was different. I read the question too quick, I’ve had too much coffee, not enough sleep, whatever. Today the question hit me as “WHO are YOU?”

I mean, How is the physical me? How is the spiritual me? How is the business me? How is myself? My family? My community? Because these are also me. How is my dog? My mother? My siblings? My friends? My business partners? My mailman? My wife? My wife’s family? Because these too are also me. How are my community leaders? My community trouble makers? My power company, gas company, water company? How are my local farmers? Because these too are me.

“How are you?” became my existential crisis of the morning.

We so often only think about the oneness that is ourselves. I was earlier reading an online post arguing that if you don’t have kids, you shouldn’t contribute to school taxes. But don’t we all benefit from our community being educated? Don’t we want better engineers, doctors, nurses, inventors, farmers, mechanics, writers, creators? Aren’t we also the receiver of the benefits of creating new Entrepreneurs? Scientists? Poets? Artists? Architects?

If my tax dollars help my neighbor’s kid become a scientist that cures cancer, and someone in my sphere gets cancer, and my tax dollars helped make that cure possible, wouldn’t I be proud of that?

When did individualism get so lauded? If you lose a finger, doesn’t the hand suffer? If you lose a hand, doesn’t the body suffer? We need each other to an enormous degree but somewhere along the line, we’ve been convinced we are just a singleton entity, trapped in a bubble. But you aren’t that. YOU is so much more than that.

YOU is the people that built the pipes to bring water into your home. YOU is the grocery store owner, farmers, and workers that make sure YOU have food. YOU is the woman up on the electrical pole in 10 degree weather making sure you have electricity and heat. YOU is the nurses and doctors that bandage you up when you need it. YOU is the little kid down the block that will one day grow up and be mayor of your town. YOU is the old man in the retirement home who donates regularly to the youth center. YOU is the people that built your house, laid the foundation, and built your furniture. And yet… YOU today isn’t even who YOU will be tomorrow.

YOU is a compilation of your experiences, emotions, and thoughts about those things. All of that which is influenced by your surroundings and the people that happen to wander through your day. Even those that enter your experience sphere digitally influence who YOU will become. Who YOU are today…may be worlds away from who YOU are tomorrow. Or, could be the same. This is on YOU.

And by YOU, I mean US.

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Michael J. Brankin
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Bird Brain. Lover of Life. Sales Craftsman. Father. Husband. World Traveler. Spinner of Tales. Challenger of Ideas. Optimist. Hope Seeker. How Can I Help?