The Portuguese personality

Every people, every nation, every homeland has its own mindset and clearly defined DNA, that is to say, the inhabitants of each country in general have a set of traits which defines them throughout the most varied of times. These are special traits which, although they often change, never cease to be mentioned by everyone else. Today, for instance, we still say that the Germans are cold and reserved or that the English are punctual. So what are the characteristics of the Portuguese people? What makes us stand out from the rest? Undoubtedly, we have the courage, bravery and ingenuity to set off in search of the unknown, and to prove it here’s something that many have forgotten but that I like to make a point of remembering: Portugal and Spain carved up the world between them. Portugal was one of the most important countries to make an impact and this was only achieved through courage, effort and ambition – the very same virtues which we are lacking in right now.

Regardless of how much they may speak ill of the Portuguese, regardless of whether some rating agency or another grades us as junk, I believe that we are much more important than any other country. I believe that we can take pride in our history, that we are descendants of noble heroes who fought and defended our flag, but this does not change the fact that we have a multitude of negative traits. Tell me that the list below does not describe the majority of the Portuguese people:

1. The idea that no matter what goes wrong, it could always be worse.

2. If we fail to achieve the degree of success we desire, the fault is never directly ours but always someone else’s.

3. A huge degree of disorganisation in which everyone wants to be the one giving the orders but nothing wants to take them.

4. The fact that we always leave everything to the last minute.

5. Corruption. This is the worst of the traits and is in itself more associated with Latin countries. The truth is that the Latin peoples have a greater tendency toward the most varied kinds of corruption, ranging from swindling, tax evasion, deceit, etc.

Of course, we also have an enormous ability, unlike any other race of people, to make the most of the most unusual situations, from which only someone from Portugal could worm their way out, but this does not change the fact that we have a chronically improper attitude which it is imperative to change. This attitude is dragging us down and it is up to each one of us to raise ourselves up again.

Here’s an example:

Football is the greatest sport on the planet.  Real Madrid is the greatest football team, Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest goal scorer of all time for Real Madrid, the greatest goal scorer ever in the Spanish championship, and the greatest Golden Boot ever in the history of modern football.

This article could well end here. The vital part has been said, but bear with me while I highlight just one thing: the Portuguese man who achieved this historic record (over 50 goals in the championship) is someone who has worked hard since the time he was twelve.

In these times of economic misery in Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo should be more than just our pride and joy. He should be seen as truly inspirational. Throughout his career, things have not always been perfect but he never threw in the towel. The day after any disappointment, there he was again working twice as hard, ready to improve, ready to correct his mistakes.

I don’t believe that Ronaldo might be willing to pay any of the Portuguese sovereign debt out of his own pocket, but at least he serves as a reminder that hard work does pay off.

This text is about Cristiano but it could just as easily be about the excellent Portuguese bricklayers who work in France, or about the good Portuguese solderers who work in the Nordic countries, or about the great artists from our country who shine in London. All of them are examples to be followed.

Carlo Ferreira