Siamo maestri di tatticismo, ma non di coraggio, we are masters of tactics, but not of courage.

This sentence was written by Andrea Di Caro on the Gazzetta dello Sport on 21st June 2024, the day after the defeat of the Italy national team to Spain at the EURO 2024.

Fabio Capello, former coach of Juventus, Real Madrid and the England national team among many, echoed this comment the following day, on the same newspaper, with Italia, serve coraggio! or “Italy, we need to be brave!”

Near the end of the season, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was sacked mainly because he lost his cool in the Coppa Italia final, lashing out at everybody, including the referee and Juventus executive team.

However, it is my opinion that he was going to be sacked regardless because his team didn’t show any courage when playing.

They were more focused on the old saying meglio aver paura che buscarle or “better safe than sorry”.

I often come across this concept in conversations with my parents, family, friends.

If I pay enough attention, I find it everywhere.

Most of the time, it’s not so obviously-stated but it infiltrates the background of the conversation under the false disguise of a good recommendation.

It often translates into “do not take risks” and “do as everybody else does”.

Sometimes, it works as a sort of gate keeper of our actions: we do things this way because people do things this way.

We do it because it has been done before.

We can do it because, and only because, it has been done by somebody else.

It’s almost a sort of autopilot whose programme is based on what the average person does.

I keep over-drinking because everybody else does, regardless of the consequences to my health and well-being.

I eat meat because everybody else does, regardless of the several studies showing the correlation between meat consumption and certain types of cancer.

I make this choice over that because it’s the safest bet.

If I think about the choices I made in my life, the most important ones are brave choices.

I am not talking about acts of heroism, but rather choices that would not be considered safe bets or that would go against what everybody else would do in that moment.

The choice of leaving Italy and moving to Ireland in 2008.

The choice of being honest about my feeling with my fiancée at the time.

The choice of not pursuing a career in politics (my background) or banking (my parents’ recommendation right after I graduated) but rather follow my interest for internet marketing.

The choice of getting married at 41 years of age with my Romanian wife, and also get a stepdaughter and a cat.

The choice of leaving a permanent, well-paid job for an American startup to launch my own business.

The choice of selling my company in 2022 and take 1-2 years to focus on myself.

The choice of taking on the projects of renovating and selling our apartments in Italy.

The choice of speaking up without really thinking about the consequences.

The choice of going vegetarian / vegan.

And on and on and on…

For many of these choices I simply followed my gut.

Some of them were not 100% my doing, but rather my adjusting to the circumstances.

For some, I consciously decided not to listen to the voice in my head, what Seth Godin calls “the resistance”, pushing me towards the safest bet.

By all means, I am far away from applying this to everything.

I hold a lot of fear and I generally think a lot before making a decision.

However, my experience has taught me that meglio buscarle, che aver paura or “better sorry than safe”.

The featured image is a photo of me in Ireland in 2010.

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