What I have learned from Italy and even more from the Italians, is that their heart is big, it's enormous or as they put it, enorme. I've had various trips to different parts of Italy and recently had a legendary erasmus exchange in Milan. I spent the last couple of days close to Rome. I'm pretty familiar with the culture, but this time it really struck me. The love, the passion and the pride. It is something we Nordics can't relate to. Even if we wanted, we just aren't on their level. There where two points where I could perceive the Italian Forza attitude:
1. The passion and the love for football
On Sunday the 4th of December the derby of the Eternal City took place. S.S Lazio against As Roma. The fans took part in fierce screaming and bounding without any shortage of spit, laughter, tears and a few fists. It wasn't my first football match, but it was my first derby della capitale and I won't forget it. Thank you Roma for the win! The profound passion towards football and more precisely their home team is phenomenal. It's not a choice. It's not a hobby. It's marriage. It's something so deep in their hearts and traditions inlayed centuries ago. It's not even part of you and your identity. It is you.
2. The immense pride of their food
Yes, the pizza and the pasta. All the golden carbohydrates we enjoy to satisfy our tastebuds and challenge our gluten tolerance. But for the Italians it's not just food, it's not just business. It's their home, their worldview, their true calling. They take it remarkably seriously and they are strikingly pride about their creation. They don't hand you the menu. They stand straight and tell the daily specials. They sit with you. They talk to you as they've known you forever. They make you feel like home. They don't want to just feed you. They want to connect with you. That's real active ownership. On top of that, the food is authentic, fabulously simple and just delicious. Food is always the topic of the day. And for a reason.
My intuition says that these findings can and could be linked to us as entrepreneurs, employers or employees. When striving towards something great, you need to believe in yourself 100% (if not more). You need to have intrinsic motivation towards your work. It almost needs to be a dream for you. A dream you are ready to change to reality.
Achieving real purpose for your work and life requires you not to focus on your goal but on your journey. When you focus solely on the end result you'll never get fully satisfied. You are always looking for more, the next level and you want to get there fast. You are blurred about your product and you miss the small but inevitable details that would lead to perfection. Perfection occurs when you are obsessed with everything related to your idea, product or service. It occurs when you constantly find new, better solutions and polish your actions continuously. When doing something you love and are passionate about, you are automatically and excessively interested in your topic, you are overly curious and soon you will find the correct answers and more importantly ask the right questions. This happens when you focus on your journey. The journey will finally lead you towards greatness. I like to believe in this mentality. My instinct says that focusing on the process is everything. Additionally, putting the business aspect aside, these traits can be incorporated into your lifestyle. To your relationships, your hobbies and your family. Think about that. But remember, accomplishing greatness will never take place if you are pursuing something that is not close to you, something your not passionate about. So listen to yourself, not the society and choose wisely.
All in all, we can learn a lot from the Italians. We can find the things that truly interest us the most, and thus reach to complete satisfaction through real love and passion towards our dream. The result is a great end product, but even more, a great journey. Just look at the Italians. Now, go and find your dream and make it happen. At least I will.
Forget about the Italian public transportation system or unorganized road signs. No one's perfect.