According to Max Brooks, Mel Brook’s son, the panic surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic was 100% avoidable. Panic Can Be Avoided!
Max Brooks writes fiction and nonfiction about disaster planning for crises such as pandemics. His bestselling novel, “World War Z,” is about a pandemic in which people who are infected become zombies.
He also lectures at the U.S. Naval War College and is a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point.
Brooks was interviewed on Fresh Air, and it's worth a listen. Below are five highlights.
- The notion that the pandemic blindsided the U.S. government is "an onion of layered lies."
- "We have a network in place that we as taxpayers have been funding to get us ready for something just like this," Brooks says of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, he adds, "we have been disastrously slow and disorganized from Day 1."
- "What is supposed to happen in a disaster is the federal government has to activate the Defense Production Act immediately. Now, what Defense Production Act does is it allows the federal government to step in and aggressively force the private sector to produce what we need.
And what is so critical in this is timing. Because you can't simply build factories from scratch; what you can do is identify a supply chain to make it work."
- And as an example, I have a World War II rifle made by the Smith-Corona typewriter company. Smith Corona worked with the federal government to then partner up with the Winchester company, to then share resources and to share tools and talent to then produce the rifles that we needed.
That's how it works. It's not some sort of KGB coming in and taking over everything. It is guidance and streamlining. And only the federal government has the experience to know how to do that."
- "When it comes to sheer massive might, getting stuff done, getting stuff produced and getting stuff moved from point A to point B, there is no greater organ in the world than the United States military."
I’m am not here to judge or criticize.
If we are paying attention, there are no mistakes, only lessons; reminders for all of us about how we invest and execute on a daily basis.
Pause and reflect, and you will see patterns; in others and yourself. When things break down, what has been ignored rushes in.
When we’ve been careless or inattentive, what we have neglected returns with a vengeance.
An avalanche is an example of a breakdown, the result of what has been accumulating out of sight over time.
There are vast execution gaps in personal life, business, and organizations. It’s the fissure between strategy and execution—knowing and doing.
It’s the reason so many initiatives fail, why so many efforts to change and transform our lives collapse.
When setbacks and small failures happen, they lead to unstable footing. You lose confidence. Too often we grab at anything for relief. Then panic ensues.
Panic makes the substrate of the avalanche slippery. When panic is added to the execution gap, we lose ourselves in the crisis.
Panic is an avenue for the other side to prosper. It’s what the enemy wants. When you’re in panic mode, rational thought is out the window.
Emotional intelligence is lost. Anyone who panics is primed for poor decision making. You expend valuable energy to go downhill.
Can you see the chaos emerging here?
Close the execution gap and prevent panic by preparing. Nothing is more critical or requires our attention more than daily investment.
Reassure yourself that the people who appear talented and gliding through life didn’t get to that state on autopilot.
Consistently and overwhelmingly, the evidence shows that experts are always made, not born. —K. Anders Ericsson
Intentionally come off autopilot. Become aware of what is pushing your buttons. When you are inattentive, panic will unknowingly creep in from a different, less obvious source, society, and mass culture.
Condition yourself for life because life is a series of challenges or mini-crises. When the big one comes, you’re ready for action, not panic.
Invest. Prepare yourself by investing in yourself every day.
- Reading expands your world view, improves concentration, and aids in relaxation.
- Working out can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance and ability to persevere.
- Meditating daily eliminates the buildup of stress, tension, resentment, and anger. It’s like you zero the calculator every day.
Here are real-life stories how meditation has helped people reduce stress and step up to the next level.
It’s unrealistic to wish problems would go away. Don’t hope that challenges will disappear. Use each day to make yourself stronger in every aspect of life.
You don’t have to break any records. Start small and build from the ground up.
Your investment will cultivate confidence, self-reliance, self-assurance, and a strong stance in the face of any crisis.
The most exciting part is self-discovery. You will learn about yourself, discover your strengths and never run out of ideas and enthusiasm for upward growth.