Playing to My Strength

The other day I was idly musing, since it’s what I do best. In the midst of it, two questions kept coming to mind:

  1. How many panics can a person take?
  2. How many panics can the entire human race take?

Thanks to politics, special interests, and ubiquitous electronic communication, we’re going to find out, whether we want to or not.

From global warming to climate change, from the self-fulfilling business-cycle panic of 2008-2009 to Ebola, from terrorism to HIV, from overpopulation to low birth rates, from opioids to the Mother of All Panics — the coronavirus — we’re getting it all. And we’re getting it all the time, from all sides.

What’s that? You think it’s almost over? Not so much. In fact, depending on how much hogwash we’re willing to take, the folks feeding it to us might be just getting warmed up. How do I know that? Because the people feeding us this hogwash want to control us. And what’s the best way to do that? To keep us off balance.

Consider this: In the gym one night, I ran into a guy I know. I asked him how he was. He said, “Tired.”

I asked him why. He said, “Because I was fishing all day.”

I said, “Oh, yeah. I forgot what a tough life you lead.”

He said, “Have you ever spent the day on a boat in rough water? The entire time you’re out there, you’re fighting to keep your balance. It’s exhausting.”

And there it is. All the folks who want to control us have to do is keep us exhausted enough to keep us compliant. And they do that by keeping us fighting for our balance, constantly, panic after panic.

Like the relentlessly syncopated music in this video, like the ceaseless dripping in water torture, they never stop:

Why should they stop? What they’re doing is working.

Ignore them. The sanity you save will definitely be your own.

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Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brienhttps://obriencg.com/
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.


  1. Great post Mark. I learned in the military that part of brain washing or the new term radicalization comes from constant anxiety, constant bombardment with negative news or false statements, constant fear until all hope is lost. It continues today because it works. Negative campaign ads, commercials that tell us we aren’t attractive enough, or rich enough or smart enough unless we buy a certain product, social media posts etc. have a profound impact on ones mental health and sense of self. My approach is to non engage in the hostile/negative rhetoric with defeats the intention of taking away hope.

    • Thank you so much, Frank. I stopped paying any attention to news, from any sources, at the point at which I learned nothing from it:

      “Today, Ernest Kumquat from Burnt Scrub, Arkansas, while trying to repair his mother-in-law’s toaster, stumbled on to a process for inducing nuclear fission.”

      Really? What happened? What are the implications? What will become of Ernie and his accidental discovery? I don’t care what happens in the immediate. I want to know what it means, what it will yield, where its importance lies on some relative scale. None of that can be determined in the absence of time. The news can’t provide that. Today, what passes for the news doesn’t have the slightest interest in doing that. And with 24/7 news cycles, it certainly has no interest in time, except to sell it for advertising. The news attracts enough impressionable hysterics that no one will ever notice I’m not one of them.

      Since I’ve now successfully weaned myself from the news, my next project is to keep myself from becoming a curmudgeon. Wish me luck. 😉