Mark Twain said that even if you are on the right track, if you are standing still, others will pass you by.
What I take from this is that it isn’t possible to grow to full potential in our lives by playing it safe all the time.
To grow we need to be comfortable taking prudent risks, to do things like
- going for that promotion,
- learning a new skill
- asking that admired person out on a date
The trouble is that we find it much easier to kick the ball into touch, to put things on the long finger, to keep our heads below the parapet.
I came across a sad example of this recently. I was delivering a seminar at the Institute of Logistics. During the break, one of the attendees told me that during the boom years his earnings had risen rapidly and he had stopped investing in his own development. Now he had been made redundant and was failing at interviews due to skills gaps.
To get around this natural complacency we need to consider three aspects of risk.
First up – risk is unavoidable so we may as well learn how to deal with it in a pragmatic way.
Next, not all risks are the same and we don’t need to have passed the actuarial examinations to put some numbers on them.
Finally, armed with this perspective we need to look at prudent risk taking as an opportunity and seek it out actively.
Think about it – we live on a rock that is hurtling through space at 69,000 miles per hour. So let’s not pretend to ourselves here that risk is something that we can avoid and exclude from our lives.
Faced with immediate challenges and opportunities we tend to overestimate risk. This is often because we lack the full information about the situation. This causes fear – fear of the unknown and fear of failure – particularly so, where a bruised ego is the potential outcome.
Curiously, we also tend to underestimate risk for those less immediate, but often more important aspects of our existence such as our health, our finance and our education – as my unfortunate colleague at the institute of logistics found out to his cost.
What we really lack are practical thinking tools to help us to evaluate risk in a sensible way. If risk is viewed as unquantifiable and there is no counterbalance to it then it is hardly surprising that for many people all risk is viewed as bad and to be avoided at all cost.
Now, we all know that investing in a pension for retirement is a probably a prudent thing to do and that betting on the 2.30 at Punchestown to pay the rent is definitely irresponsible gambling, but what about the following options:
- Starting a new business in the middle of a recession.
- Doing your first marathon run in your fifties.
- Going forward for a leadership position at the club.
A handy way I find to visualize risk is to think of a modified version of the game of snakes and ladders. Every venture, every initiative or idea that you consider will have a potential upside (you can go up a ladder) and a potential downside (you can slide down a snake).
The greater the potential gain, the longer the ladder, the greater the potential loss, the longer the snake. Every option you consider will have a snake and a ladder of a different length associated with it.
Let’s say the lengths of the snakes and ladders range from 1 to 10. An opportunity with a ladder of 2 or 3 would be a fairly minor improvement that wouldn’t warrant taking a whole lot of risk to achieve. On the other hand, a ladder of 9 or 10 would represent a major breakthrough and life changing improvement.
Similarly, a snake of 3 or 4 might represent a fairly minor setback from which you could recover easily whereas a snake of 10 would represent major devastation to your career, finances or relationships.
What you are looking for are opportunities where the ladder is significantly longer than the snake. So an opportunity with a potential ladder of 2 and a snake of 3 might not be worth the trouble whereas a ladder of 8 with a snake of 4 is probably well worth it.
So say you are thinking of starting a high potential new business. One option might be to quit the day job, remortgage the house and invest the money in staff, marketing, plant and equipment.
The ladder might be an 8 but the snake is a 10 so you could potentially loose your shirt – it’s not worth it. But perhaps you could reduce the length of the snake from a 10 to a 4 by keeping the day job, outsourcing production to China, using a website to sell and using some savings as finance – you get the idea.
I find the snakes and ladders help me to think about risk and reward in a pragmatic way and to take actions to reduce the risk while maximizing the reward.
Armed with our new thinking we can now actually search out opportunities to take prudent risks to accelerate our growth professionally, personally and spiritually. Instead of just tipping our toe in the water we can really start to make waves.
Thinking about risk this way, provides us with a way to get around complacency, it gives us the incentive to play to win and allows us the freedom to fail in a controlled way.
The best time for taking risks is when you think that you don’t need to – that is, when things are going well for you. This is precisely when you are most likely to fall victim to coasting along and playing it safe.
The time when you should avoid taking large risks and batten down the hatches is when times are hard. Paradoxically, playing it safe in the good times often breeds staleness and obsolescence that is followed by desperate and risky measures when the hard times come around. More often than not this is followed by disaster. I know this from personal experience.
In my previous excursion into business which ended in 2005 we didn’t invest in our in-house capabilities when times were good. When things turned bad we desperately tried introducing new services and product offerings without proper investment and preparation and we ultimately went out of business.
The key message that I want to leave you with is that we really cannot grow as people by playing it safe. We must become comfortable with taking prudent risk to build lives, careers and relationships that really are all they can be.
When I started in business again in 2005 I had an idea to put on some public seminars targeted at mid to high level managers in companies that I thought could benefit from my services.
I was terrified that I wouldn’t be much good, that people wouldn’t be interested, that I would choke up during the presentations and so on and I kept putting it on the long finger.
Finally, a friend pushed me to set the date. 70 people from a wide range companies turned up. Over a dozen of the companies that attended that day became and continue to be high revenue customers for me to this day. This was definitely a ladder 10 – snake 2 – a real no-brainer.
Aristotle said that we must seek out the truth or it will seek US out. We should think of risk in the same way, we must seek it out and press it into our service, otherwise it will seek US out of its own accord no matter how we try to avoid it.
There’s Nowt as Queer as Folk
“There’s nowt as queer as folk” my mate from Sheffield pipes up whenever somebody does or says something that is baffling, bizarre or just plain bonkers.
Psychologists tell us that our behaviour flows from our thinking and that our thinking springs forth from our beliefs.
I have often wondered at how curious it is that people can believe such strange things and behave in ways that can seem odd and even surreal to other people.
I have puzzled over whether people are actually capable of believing just about anything if they build up the belief in the right way, or if somebody who knows how, leads and influences them in the right way.
As a Texan might say – “people do the darndest things”.
Let’s take a look at a few extreme examples of outlandish behaviour that people have engaged in as a result of their beliefs.
Pentecost Island is part of the Pacific nation of Vanuatu. There the N’gol ceremony is believed to bring fertility to the yam crop. In the ceremony, boys and men tie liana vines around their ankles and dive head first from wooden towers 100’ high.
They hurtle towards the ground at breakneck speed, hands crossed on chest as if in prayer. To be effective in conferring fertility on the crop, it is believed that the head of the jumper must just touch the ground as the tension in the liana jerks him back from the impact.
Serious injury and even death are an ever present danger and not uncommon.
In late 18th century Russia a religious sect known as the Skoptsy arose within Russian Orthodoxy. They were devoted to eliminating lust from the human race. Unfortunately, they mistranslated certain phrases from the bible into Russian. Firstly, they read “Oskopitel” (castrator) for “Iskupitel” (Redeemer) and “plotites” (castrate yourselves) for “plodites” (be fruitful).
As a result the Skoptsy indulged in the excruciating practice of cutting off their genitals and breasts in order to achieve purity. Almost unbelievably, the sect endured until the 1950s despite attempts by Czarist and later Soviet authorities to stamp out their outlandish practices.
In the Paracas culture of the Andes the skull binding of infants was practiced. The purpose was to elongate the skull. Skulls have been found in Paracas burial sites with the portion of the head above the eyes twice the length of the face below the eyes. This must have given the person the look of an extraterrestrial being. This practice has also been found among other cultures around the world. The reasons for it vary but have to do with beliefs about tribal identity, social status or attractiveness.
These are very extreme examples I grant you but they do show what people will do based on their beliefs.
It seems to me that people can take on such unusual beliefs and do such odd things because belief has a structure within us, we are hardwired to believe – to believe in something.
If you think about something that you believe in completely and absolutely – for example – that the Earth is round – although I appreciate that some of you may not in fact believe that – you may notice a certain feeling inside. You might find that you see an image in your mind’s eye or imagine a sound or have some other bodily sensation.
This set of feelings, images and sounds is how you personally experience certainty, or belief, inside yourself.
With this belief system inside us, we are capable of overlaying different stories onto the basic framework and creating powerful beliefs as a result.
In our early years we soak up our beliefs from the people closest to us. As we grow older, our life experiences – particularly ones with strong emotions attached – come into play to shape and mould our beliefs.
For most of us though this happens in a haphazard way as we are ricocheted through life’s encounters like ping-pong balls.
As a result, we can end up with beliefs not necessarily of our choosing. Some of these beliefs may lend positively to our health, wealth and well-being and we should hold onto these. Others may come with a high rate of interest making us ill, unsuccessful or miserable.
Our beliefs are notoriously difficult to change because we tend to tie up our idea of who we are with our beliefs. Think how powerful and all embracing it is to say something like:
- I am a Christian.
- I am a Muslim.
- I am a socialist.
Or how limiting even something much more mundane can be such as,
- I am bad at Maths.
- I could never speak in public.
- I am not good at languages.
Beliefs ARE very sticky, but they are not immovable objects, they can and do change.
You may have noticed over time your own beliefs being re-shaped gently like the moving sands by the winds of change. You may also have come across people having “road-to-Damascus-type” conversions after a life-changing event.
What most of us don’t realise though is that we can actually control this belief-building and choose our OWN beliefs.
This is brilliant news because it means that we have the power to choose beliefs that make us happier, healthier and more productive and to jettison ones that don’t.
But how do we do this?
Remember I spoke to you earlier about the way you experience certainty inside yourself with feelings, images and sounds?
Let’s say you want to take on the belief that you are capable of running the marathon. What you can do is take the feelings, images and sounds from your strong belief and overlay them onto the new belief.
This is like re-programming your brain. This can happen very quickly and can change your behaviour in short order. It’s like a snowball gathering speed down a hill until it embeds the belief in your psyche.
If you try this, I do hope you won’t choose beliefs that will have you jumping off the roof of the house, putting planks on babies’ heads, or doing unspeakable things to your soft bits.
I hope instead that you will choose to believe that you can achieve some elusive dream that may you think is beyond your reach and that this will have you soaring to new heights in the near future.
I have just finished reading “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson. This is a history of the American Civil War and as an outsider there were a number of real surprises for me in this history.
One was the scale of the battles, the ferocity of the fighting and the magnitude of the casualties – some 700,000 killed. This is more casualties than America has endured in all the other wars it has been engaged in put together, including the two world wars!! Nothing had been seen like it before in the world up to that time. In effect it was the first modern war and a precursor to what European armies would face in the trench warfare of WWI.
Unfortunately for the European fighting man I am not sure that many European generels paid as much attention as they ought to have done to the lessons learned by American commanders during the Civil War.
Another aspect that was a surprise to me was that it was the Democratic party that was the political cheerleader of slavery, particularly in the South but also in the North, and that it was the Republicans who had the more modern, enlightened view on that peculiar institution. It’s ironic that it is the Democratic party that achieved the milestone of the first black preseident of the United States.
Another striking thing for me was the vehemence with which southern politicians and opinion makers defended slavery and the lengths they went to to rationalize it as being in the best interests of black people themselves. I appreciate it was a long time ago but I think even for the time it must have been quite breathtaking.
In reading this history one can better appreciate how the American Civil War was the crucible in which the modern, industrialised and egalitarian United States that we know was forged and that it was this war that set the country on an accelerated course to becoming the dominant industrial and military power in the world in the first half of the following century.
Thoroughly enjoyed it.
The sweat dries into crystals of salt on my cheeks, the searing pain in the arches of my feet shoots up the front of my shins each time my foot strikes the asphalt. The impact of each stride reverberates through my body and into my skull “boom”, “boom”, “boom”. My every joint is aching, screaming out for relief. I’m thirsty, I’m sore and I’m tired.
But it doesn’t matter – I’m a marathoner and I’m going to finish this race.
I can see the finish line up ahead. I can see my wife and children waving to me, urging me on. I’ve got 26 miles behind me – just over 300 yards to go and I push on through the pain “boom”, “boom”, “boom”.
People in the crowd shout words of encouragement, the man on the megaphone is congratulating the finishers up ahead. My mate Gabriel who’s running with me taps me on the shoulder – “come on Paddy last push now”. My God I’m nearly there – just a couple of hundred yards to go.
I open my eyes.
I’m alone in Shanganagh Park, – running - it’s raining sideways, I’m soaked to the skin, it’s getting dark. My stopwatch beeps and I look down – 19 miles done just one to go then the training is over for tonight.
I’m a first time marathoner, the race doesn’t happen until 31st October – running the movie in my head of the finishing line is just a little trick I’ve learned to push through the pain and exhaustion on the long training runs.
You know what? It works!
When I started out on this, the idea of running 26.2 miles seemed an impossible dream but the more I play that movie in my head, the more real it becomes, the more I expect it to come true, the more I can feel it, hear it, smell it. I now know that I will finish the marathon come what may.
Using this little trick to dig in when the going gets tough is one of three little lessons I’ve learned in training for the marathon that work in real life too.
Running movies of where you want to be, what you want to do, how you want things to turn out gets you ready for success and gets you through the rough patches.
The other two lessons are:
- that to reach your long term goals quicker you have actually got to SLOW DOWN! And…
- that rest and recovery are just as important as running.
Let me explain:
When training, most people will tend to run at a pace that they find moderately hard because it makes them feel that they are pushing themselves and doing some good. The trouble is, this pace is too fast to build endurance and too slow to build strength and speed.
It is in fact a black hole that leads to rapid burn out. When I started out, this is what I did. I couldn’t get beyond 8 miles without feeling absolutely shattered. I had to learn to run at a slower pace than what I was naturally inclined to run at – then I started to go further.
Marathons are about endurance – as a first timer you are going to be out on the course for 4 hours or more. If you go too fast too soon you will burn up all your glycogen reserves. Then you will have to start burning up your body fat. This is what is known as “hitting the wall”. This is a physically and psychologically devastating experience. So to reach the goal of completing the marathon you have got to slow down.
Likewise in real life, rushing around trying to get everything done, trying to be all things to all people, fretting about others being ahead of us in life this is a recipe for early burn out.
So slow down and run your own race!
Rest for the marathon runner is the time when muscle, tendons, cartilage and bone repair themselves and become stronger. I admit to feeling slightly guilty on rest days – there always seems to be a little voice saying. “ah, maybe I’ll just go for a short run to keep things ticking over”.
This is a big mistake and a recipe for disaster. Rest and recovery is essential insurance against injury.
Likewise in real life, lack of proper rest, lack of “me” time is at the root of many physical and mental breakdowns and lost opportunities. There is no need to feel guilty or selfish about rest and personal time, because if you break down you will be in no position to help those you love. This is why in the safety drill on the plane they say to put your own mask on first before trying to help others.
Preparing for the marathon, if you don’t rest well not only is it possible that you may not finish the race, you may not even make it to the starting line in the first place.
I close my eyes again.
“God I’m so tired.”
What a beautiful day it is – only 200 yards to go.
“I’m so sore”.
What a great crowd – only 100 to go.
“So thirsty” – Just 50 to go.
Boom, boom, boom. Yes, yes, yes. I’ve done – I’ve done it.
I really AM a marathoner now.
The 80:20 Rule
The 80:20 Rule, the Law of the Vital Few or the Principle of Factor Sparsity states that for many events 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
When something is shared among a large number of participants there is always a more or less equal sharing out of the something among the participants.
In the case where 50% of the something is taken by 50% of the participants – this means that every participant has an equal share.
In the case where 99.99% of the something is taken by 1% of the participants – this means that very few participants take nearly all of the something
The 80:20 rule is a special case of this where 80% of the something is shared among just 20% of the participants. This is a situation skewed in favour of a relatively small group of participants. Mathematically, there is nothing special about the 80:20 situation but it just so happens that many real world systems do appear to correspond to an unequal distribution similar to this.
Why is this so? Why is it important? What are the implications? Well let’s see.
A Little Bit of History
It was Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian engineer, sociologist, economist and philosopher who first observed and wrote about the phenomenon.
In 1906 he noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. For this reason, the 80:20 Rule is also known as Pareto’s Law or the Pareto Principle.
Pareto went on to analyse data sets on wealth distribution from different times and places back as far as 15th century Switzerland and spanning regions as diverse as Italy, Ireland, England and Russia. He reliably observed the same pattern again and again.
In 1989 the principle was still alive and well in world income distribution with the top 20% of individuals in the world enjoying 82.7% of the world’s income, the next 20% enjoying 11.8% and the remainder enjoying an exponentially decreasing amount thereafter.
Not fair, you might say. Maybe not, be that as it may Pareto concluded that what he had observed was a natural phenomenon and not just a result of human greed or malice.
Complex simulation models with rules defined only for the behaviour at the level of individuals have been developed in which the 80:20 rule has been observed as a naturally emergent property of the interaction of the individual agents.
In economics and sociology some of the conclusions that have been drawn form the 80:20 rule have proved to be contentious in the ongoing political arguments of left and right about wealth creation and redistribution and no doubt that debate will continue unabated.
In less contentious fields of endeavour, the principle has been observed consistently in many natural systems. Applications are widespread in decision making and task prioritizations in fields as diverse as:
- Computer Science (fixing 20% of bugs will eliminate 80% of errors)
- Product Profile Optimization (20% of products generate 80% of turnover)
- Customer service (20% of customers cause 80% of customer service headaches)
- Health Care (20% of patients use 80% of the services)
- Criminology (20% of criminals commit 80% of the crimes)
- Project Risk Management (20% of project risks have 80% of impact)
- The Dating Game (80% of one sex want to date 20% of the other sex and vice versa)
Identifying the 20% in each case can have huge positive impacts on the efficiency in the use of resources and on the effectiveness of outcomes.
Simple tool – powerful results.
Good old signore Pareto – grazie a Lei.
Economic downturns are painful and can seem very unfair to a great many people. People are busily going about their everyday lives working hard to build a good life for themselves and their families unaware of the great dangers lurking in the depths of the economy. Then suddenly, wham!, unfathomable and uncontrollable powers break forth and wreak havoc on their lives through cuts to pay, redundancy, loss of investments and cuts to benefits.
Here in Ireland, the country’s finances have just been rescued by the IMF and the ECB due to massive indebtedness on the part of the state. Every individual in this country will suffer due to the action of a few individuals. It’s pain for the innocent as payment for the the sins of the incompetent, the corrupt, the complacent and the plain stupid whose job it was to manage and care for the affairs of the country. The same is true to a greater or lesser extent across many of the developed economies of the world. Not fair, I know.
Now, I don’t mean to diminish the real hardship that is out there and the real difficulties that many people are facing. No doubt that are many things that lie outside our control and that are imposed on us by circumstance, fate or luck. It is also true however that there are many important things, more than we might at first think, that do lie within our direct control. It is incumbent upon each one of us to exercise that control.
I think Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff was right when he said “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste……it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before”.
We can choose to look at these reverses and hardships as valuable wake up calls that have the power to shake up individuals, businesses, governments and even whole societies and move them away from the road to disater and onto a better, more positive track. If we neglect or ignore the things that we do control within our individual sphere of influence, we fall into that victim mentality that wallows in negativity and self pity and ends in depression and despair.
The fact is, you do control what you choose to do and you do control what you choose to think. You can choose to think of it all being very unfair and that it is not your fault or you can choose to view the crisis as a wake up call to make positive changes to your life, an opportunity to do different things to what you did before or simply to do some things differently. It is your chance to be the shining light and the example for others to follow. Think about it, you could,
- Develop a new skill or hobby - a foreign language, computer skills, public speaking, gardening, DIY etc.
- Learn to take control of and manage your finances better – saving for a raining day, planning your pension, making investments.
- Start a new business venture or opportunity that you may have had in mind but never acted on.
- Look after your health better, start a fitness regime or give up smoking.
- Focus more on family and personal matters, meditation or spiritual development.
- Do voluntary work or fund raising for a worthy cause.
The list could go on but I think you get the idea.
This is a golden opportunity to resolve to be more independent, flexible, robust and resilient from this point forward. In my opinion, these are among the attributes will be key to a successful and rewarding life in this new century that, I think you will agree, is already proving itself to be a very different proposition to the one that went before it.
On arrival at hotel in New Delhi I was taken aback by the level of security at the entrance gate. There was a team of five or six security guards that checked the underneath of the car and under the boot and the bonnet for explosives.
I hadn’t experienced such high levels of security at any hotel before, not in Europe, North America, South America, East Asia or even in the Gulf staes. On enquiry, it was explaned that since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 on the Taj Mahal Palace and other locations, the threat of further attacks is being taken very seriously.
Hotel was great, all the modern services, Wifi and so on. Had a wonderful chicken curry and steamed rice – Indian food is tremendous! Just yards away from the hotel under the motorway bridge, there were people living in ramshackle shelters. So while India is making huge strides forward and tens of millions are moving out of poverty and joining the middle classes, there is still a huge challenge ahead for the country in conquering the root causes of extreme poverty.
Having been held up in Europe due to bad weather on the way out, I had actually arrived in Delhi a day behind schedule and therefore had to reschedule my internal flight from Delhi to Chandigarh with the airline Kingfisher for the next morning. This proved to be a fraught process which after three long phone calls to the Kingfisher call centre eventually seemed to be sorted out – or so I thought.
Upon arrival at the check in desk the next morning I was told that I was not booked on the flight after all. After long arguments and insistence on my part they eventually determined after frantic bouts of keyboard clicking that I was in fact booked. I rushed through security and on to the departure gate and I was the very last person onto the flight which they had held for me.
So while they were initially intransigent in asserting that I was not booked on the flight, in the end they were very flexible in waiting for me once they did acknowledge that I was booked onto the flight. I am still not sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing. Be that as it may I made it to Chandigarh on time – more about that later.
First impressions then, without making any value judgments on what I experienced can be summarised as follows – high security, international standard hotel service, visible poverty, great food, questionable organization yet great flexibility.
All in all, an exhilarating first taste!!
India is a country of superlatives. With an area of 3.2 million square kilometres, a population of almost 1.2 billion and a $3.5 trillion dollar economy, India is set to become one of the major players on the world stage in the years to come.
It is a country of many contrasts, it has a modern, fast-growing economy that has lifted millions out of poverty in recent times and yet still struggles with major infrastructural challenges and a legacy of poverty.
Culturally, politically and socially it is a hugely diverse country and yet at the same time Indians are extremely patriotric and justifiably proud of the achievements of their country.
This weekend I will be travelling to India for the first time. It will be a short and busy business trip on this occasion but one I hope that will give me a first taste of this amazing country to whet my appetite for the future.
Over the next few days, I will be posting my impressions and experiences here on Daly Thoughts as I begin to get a first hand view of this superpower of the future.
Everyone will feel the impact of this but not equally. I believe that it will very much depend on the start point of the family or the business as this change begins to roll out.
Those who are dependent on the state for their main source income have been sheltered for the most part from the full effects of the recession over the last two and a half years and these will be the people whose income will now decrease most as the IMF enforces severe cuts in public spending.
These groups include public sector employees, pensioners and welfare recipients. Many public sector employees will lose their jobs as the numbers are cut back by maybe 25,000 or more. These groups did extremely well out of the boom years when government spending outstripped even the furious rate of growth of the economy from the mid 90s through to about 2006.
A recent benchmark comparison of public sector pay versus private sector pay has shown that the former, yes the former, earn about 30% more and also enjoy very generous state-guaranteed pensions as compared to their private-sector equivalents. Welfare spending more than doubled during the boom years even though we were at full employment. So it is here that the greatest impact will be felt.
In the private sector, after two and a half years of sustained contraction in the economy most of the reductions in headcount (unemployment jumped from 4% to 14%) and salary happened long ago as those well-managed businesses adjusted to the new reality and the poorly managed ones failed.
In fact, many businesses are leaner, fitter and much more competitive now than they were in 2007. Testament to this is the fact that our exporting sector is booming and our rate of increase in industrial productivity is double the EU average. Therefore many of these will continue to prosper and benefit from the reduction of the cost base across the economy and the loosening up of the labour market. Just to note that the export sector is hughly important to Ireland because we export 80% of everything that we produce.
Tax increases will affect everyone in employment of course and will disincentivize any recovery in consumer spending. Even those who have secure jobs in well-run, export-oriented companies will likely pay down debt or save rather than spend because of the level of fear and uncertainty that exists. Therefore businesses that depend solely on the Irish consumer will continue to find it very challenging indeed.
In summary then, I think that we will see some growth returning to the economy as a whole in 2011 led by the exporting sector but with unemployment not reducing very much at all for a couple of years, maybe even rising further before it begins to decline.
People will not spend but rather pay down debt or save. It is also highly likely that there will be a wave of mortgage defaults as young families who purchased homes at the top of the market in 2005/06/07 are tipped over the edge by losing their jobs or the impact of tax increases or rising interest rates.
All in all it is going to be a very challenging year. It will take maybe 3 to 5 years to get things turned around depending on how the world economy develops and what deal the Irish authorities can do with the IMF/ECB/EU Commission troika and whether or not real economic growth can be achieved to pull the country out of the hole and ease the pain for all.