How to achieve goals
How to achieve goals avoiding fear and analyzing risks and opportunities.
The web page “Escape from Fear” by Luis Pisoni and Antonella Giannini in this site has given me the opportunity to share my thought on the topic from the point of view of economy. We face often situations that are not well defined or clear and for which we do not have an immediate response. We can act in different ways, and two of them could be the main ones.
The first is to underestimate the situation – to minimize the problem and not deal with it. But responsibility will fall on us, leaving us feel helpless; we become victims of the situation.
The second is to analyze the risks and opportunities of the options of choice that we have (including, where appropriate, that of doing nothing). We can then design a proactive strategy and proceed by trial and error, learning from experience.
The Introspective Economy perspective (1)
Going back to the title of this webpage “How to achieve goals,” let’s see the problem from an economic perspective. Let’s take as an example a well-known Italian entrepreneur, who shares how he is dealing with coronavirus. I take this example from a recent interview by Serena Tibaldi on Repubblica.it with Brunello Cucinelli (Repubblica.it on 27 April 2020).
Brunello Cucinelli was among the first to face the situation and its dangers. He could count on indirect experiences: “[…] I grew up with a grandfather who told me about the 1918 Spanish epidemic, and with a father who told me about the 1957 flu epidemic. History also came to my aid: [… ] And then one of my idols, Pericles, died by plague.”
Finally, he caught the signals that came from his immediate reality. “[… ] When our Chinese staff at the end of January started talking about COVID-19, and things went badly, I honestly got scared. I understood that I had to take measures immediately, from smart-working to the closure of factories.”
Referring to the article in the section “Viral Pages,” we could say that the entrepreneur has “slowed down” and has listened to the bell-ringer (that is, the signals of danger) to test the situation.
How to face lockdown
The interviewed entrepreneur, although frightened, faced the lockdown with a positive attitude. He has not dramatized but not even underestimated the situation: “[… ] This is not the first crisis the company must face, nor will it be the last. We went through some bad times after September 11, 2001, and also in 2008 […] I think we should treasure the experiences we made, study every move, and keep going.”
Based on these elements, Cucinelli planned strategies to achieve goals: “[… ] 2020 is gone, no need to go around. Now we must not become distracted by shortcuts that leave the time they find. [… ] But two days ago I confirmed adherence to the January edition.”
Costs and benefits
Weighing the costs and benefits of choice options, Economy allows you to have a more exhaustive framework of choice.
Introspective Economy helps to bring us back to reality by showing us that fantasies/expectations are uneconomic: underestimating the situation can have very high costs. Economy, focusing on goals and opportunities, allows to test the situation. We can then relate the costs and benefits of the choice options to the goal we want to achieve.
We often realize too late that we have strayed from the target. We can prevent this situation by wondering first what the goal is and how to achieve it. This is also what distinguishes an organised business venture from going random; this applies to both businesses and individuals.
(1) Introspective Economy is the application of some economic principles to individual decisions allowing to detect their deviation from reality and eventual inconsistency. Below is a more comprehensive definition by Luis Pisoni. “[…] Classical economics analyzes economic systems and the relationships between the subjects of these systems. But we overlook that we manage our own economic system, made of parts of ourselves that conflict with one another. Managing these parts isn’t that different from household management. Thus, as we speak of Home economics, we could also speak of individual economy. Since, however, to analyze this type of economy we resort to introspection, we could call it Introspective Economy.”