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Pause, Breathe, Reflect: How A Brush With Death Changed Michael O’Brien’s Life

By April 8, 2024No Comments
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Episode #824



Many of us spend our days toiling away in obscure professional drudgery—stuck on the monotonous hedonic treadmill of economic achievement and delayed happiness.

We often cling to the belief that the happiness we seek can be obtained through the next purchase or promotion that is just on the horizon.

In doing so, we unwittingly chase happiness and withhold our dreams and aspirations to live a life we deem safe.

My guest this week is Michael O’Brien—a successful businessman and father of two whose existence consisted of 65-hour work weeks consumed by the demands of corporate leadership. Until one day, he was in a devastating cycling accident where an SUV hit him head-on. Against all odds, he averted death, and his perspective on life was forever changed. He was reborn—not as a victim—but as an intentional architect of his life.

At the scene of the accident, Michael desperately pleaded with the powers that be for a second chance at life. He vowed to live better, stop chasing happiness, and do better.

That day was July 11, 2001. It was what Michael calls “My Last Bad Day,” marking a turning point in his life.

“Life can shift for anyone in a moment. The only question is how will you respond when it does?”


Yet, it was not merely physical healing from the 13 surgeries that transformed Michael—it was a profound shift in perspective. Empowered by mentors and introspection, he learned to view life’s challenges through a lens of neutrality, recognizing that events are inherently neutral until we assign meaning to them—underscoring the power of perception in shaping our reality. What was once perceived as a tragic accident became a catalyst for personal evolution, an opportunity to rewrite his narrative and inspire others to do the same.

Today, Michael shares his wisdom with the world, advocating for a departure from the relentless pursuit of happiness towards a more intentional way of living. Through his experiences, he imparts practical insights on finding peace amidst chaos, harnessing personal energy for growth, and reimagining the role of work in our lives. His unwavering commitment to this mission remains the cornerstone of his existence—a driving force that continues to inspire and define his raison d’être.

For those who prefer a visual experience, the conversation is available on YouTube. As always, the audio version streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Michael exemplifies mindfulness in the ripples he creates in the world. His story provides abundant life lessons and practical tools for self-growth, contentment, and realizing one’s fullest potential through intentionality.

I am deeply moved and honored to share his beautiful compassion for himself and the world.

Peace + Plants,

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