Portuguese economy is trying to be "at least" average in Europe when we should be aiming to be the best ("at least") in Europe.
Obviously lots of people are now laughing at my previous sentence but, why shouldn't we?
You might have strong arguments for the question but truth is, no one knows the answer! The big crises we're still recovering from is a proof of it.
People take statements as granted, we believe US is the biggest power and leader of the world (and they still are), we believe our government is crap (and it might be) and we (some) believe that Michael Jackson is immortal (and he is!) but we fail to realise that all that can change and mainly, that that change depends on us and not ONLY corporations or the government we so much hate (not talking about Michael now, although...). If we want something, it is better if we fight for it, NOW!
Some years ago who would guess, common people at least, so many of the developing countries would now be great economic powers (and still developing) as Brazil, India or China? They took advantage of important changes in our world.
There are opportunities and turning points in History and they might seem invisible at first but they do exist. When I say "turning point" it doesn't mean one day we'll wake up as a powerful economy, no! It's a war with many battles and it takes time.
I can't understand why we're so pessimist...
In the specific case of Portugal, we have Mediterranean weather (I thought not but it helps, though is a great distraction), we are creative, crap undergraduate education but amazing Universities (as US apparently), we have History (and a good one) and a strong culture to name a few. I'd say we're lucky people!
So, the next question is, why aren't we doing better?
Yesterday I read an article in a Portuguese newspaper about all the recent inventions Portugal has made. It was a great and positive article with a big list of great inventions, that's completely true! So, again, where's the problem?
Firstly and probably the most important, if you ask anyone in another country, at least here in UK, they won't know what we've done and some times they don't even know the technology exists. That's a big issue for a 10-million-people country that wants to be competitive at world scale, we're missing some market visibility. Well, I must admit, some of those technology are specific to Portugal problems and, although solving national problems is great, we could, some times, try to solve worldwide problems.
Secondly, and probably one cause of the first, we're too proud of what we can do alone -- that's stupid! We're good, I believe in that, but to be amazingly great we need to attract the most talented people in the world! We need to make it harder for other countries to compete with us. There's no problem in being a bit patriotic, everyone knows that Americans are patriotic and some times speak like Mourinho (a great leader by the way), but they still realise the importance of external talent. Even the best need some help.
Back to the article, it had too much of "made by Portuguese companies with Portuguese people". Can anyone explain to me why is that a quality? We're being small again here!
Last but not least, English isn't our mother tongue.
So, it leaves us with our last question, what can WE do to make our situation better?
Stop complaining and waiting for others to change their minds!
Understand that even Portuguese people make mistakes! We need to try, fail, learn, stand up and keep trying! This may happen be by being the best person, employee or entrepreneur.
Success is a state of mind so, think big* and, most importantly, be positive!
Sorry for the huge post.
See you later,
* Just to clarify, big is subjective and depends on your goals.