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New Study Warns that Living Can Now Kill You
by Brian W. Vaszily for

Brian VaszilyAbout
Brian Vaszily

Brian Vaszily (pronounced "vay zlee") is a bestselling author, positive change advocate, speaker/organizer and sometimes funny guy whose life mission is to help others explore, experience and enjoy life more intensely while bypassing the traps that would hamper that goal -- particularly unscrupulous marketing and rampant consumerism.

Brian is the founder of, has authored several books including the acclaimed novella Beyond Stone and Steel (see for some reviews), and with over fourteen years of marketing management experience is President of the TopMarketingPro consultancy.

In addition to his How We Get You columns here at SixWise, Brian also leads the popular blog, "The 'Live Deeper' Blog by Brian Vaszily." He has appeared on many TV and radio shows and been quoted in many publications regarding his books, columns, articles and ideas. Brian Vaszily was born and raised in Chicago, growing up on the northwest side in the blue-collar Portage-Cragin neighborhood. Brian and his wife and two children currently reside outside Chicago, Illinois.

Why, if you're like the rest of us, are you feeling more stressed out than ever?

There's a key reason beyond the reasons you usually hear.

More than the "increasing speed of everything," more than the "information overload," more than "too many things to do," it's because:

Those of us in the media and marketing who control the messaging, in our unrelenting drive to get you to buy whatever it is we are trying to sell you - ideas, TV shows, politicians, pharmaceuticals, insurance, new habits, breakfast bars, automobiles, diet plans, etc. -- have you paranoid of absolutely everything.

In order to get you, we contradict one another and even ourselves and leave you paralyzed with worry and absolutely nowhere safe to go. As in …

Don't Eat That! Where there's a food, there's a study that has found it is somehow risky for you. And where there's a study finding some food is risky, there's a marketer hyping that risk so you'll try whatever food they're hawking instead. Of course the food they're hyping is risky, too. Except for broccoli, which no one can touch. Well, organic broccoli. So don't eat anything, unless it is organic broccoli.

Don't Go Out in the Sun! Attention! Due to UV rays exacerbated by the ozone layer and the Communists, the sun, which was once nice and the natural basis of all life on our planet, has now turned against us. The sun is our enemy. Take cover. Do not expose yourself to the sun or you will melt and die. (Who needs vitamin D anyway?)

Don't Stay Inside! Attention again! The air inside homes and offices is three times more polluted than the air outside, according to the EPA. Don't stay inside. Get outside. But not outside anywhere near the sun. Find a nice giant tree to stand under. But not if a thunderstorm is brewing.

Don't Say That! No matter what you say, it is offensive to someone. Saying "offensive" is probably offensive to someone. And we need to remain sensitive about offending anyone. Which is why it's probably best not to say anything at all to anyone, ever. Though of course someone might find that offensive. Perhaps it's best just to stay inside, away from everyone, and watch Blockbuster videos. But don't forget, being inside is a health risk. So are Blockbuster videos.

Don't Drive! Studies show driving is by far the most dangerous activity the average adult engages in (and not just because you are inside while driving.)

Don't Walk! There's the aforementioned sunshine plague taking place out there, of course. And you might be forced to talk to someone, thereby running the risk of offending them. You could also get mugged, because if you watch the local news everyone who walks gets mugged. Or you might step on a crack, putting your mother's back in jeopardy. Consider a safer means of transportation, like how Jeanie from I Dream of Jeanie traveled. Or just don't go anywhere, as long as it's not inside or outside.

And also…

Don't swim in the water! Don't drink the water! Don't raise your kids that way! Don't don't don't don't don't, because it's… ALL … so … dangerous!

Don't Fall for It!
(Instead, Start Your Own "Good Old Days")

old dude

Sometimes wise old people can be pretty smart!

When my grandmother's generation speaks of "the good old days," I get the sense they're not suggesting life had any less hardships back then. On the contrary, they often brag how life had more. What I gather they mean, though, is that people were generally calmer and friendlier - not so constantly on edge and therefore rude to one another, which seems to be so prevalent today.

Yes indeed, we are living longer lives than previous generations in terms of years. But as I demonstrated in Why We're Living (Far) Shorter Lives Than Ever, and What to Do About It, we're spending our longer lives worrying far more than previous generations, and focused far less on the things that really matter.

Frank, an eighty-something-year-old neighbor of mine, perhaps said it best:

"Oh, we worried back then. But we also practiced that old saying of 'everything in moderation.' So we only tended to worry about the big stuff. People today, they have no idea what moderation means, and that includes in their worrying."

And therein lies a key solution to the barrage of paranoia.

Don't Worry, You'll Like These Other Columns by Brian Vaszily … Maybe…

How Stores are Secretly Using Barry Manilow to Rob You

Ad Space Now Available on Jim Morrison's Tombstone!

People Who Drive Silver or Blue Cars Should NOT Read This

Figure out - for yourself, on your own, whatever your stage in life -- what the "big stuff" is. Figure it out to the point you know it by heart, because the big stuff is really all that is worth knowing by heart. Write down what really matters to you and what you want to achieve, if writing it down helps.

Once you've got that, you've got a personal roadmap to steer yourself by. And if you're doing the steering, that makes it impossible for the marketers to drive you to stifling and stressful extremes. … you will certainly have health goals, but they won't be at the expense of your other goals. They will be tempered by your relationship goals, which will be tempered by your financial goals, etc.

Or put another way, you won't eat a chocolate bar or six daily because the heck with it all, but you won't abandon them for life either. You won't lay naked under the hot sun bathed in baby oil from 11am to 3pm, but you won't be afraid to enjoy moderate sunshine either.

"Just focus on the big stuff" and "Everything in moderation" … two clichés that - if you stop rushing and stop worrying about the next thing and the next thing and really consider it -- turn out to be extremely powerful weapons against stress and marketing-gone-wild. Thanks Frank.

Now I'm off for a walk in the sun to the store to offend the cashier and grab some organic broccoli.

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