A few lessons to learn from the recent EU referendum…..
This morning Britain voted to leave the EU and the reaction of the stock markets was as could be expected, resulting in a lot of turmoil and rush to safety. Much of the political reaction was also based on fear and the prospect of an uncertain future for the country.
Always winners and losers (in every situation)
In reality there will always be winners and losers in any given situation. If we had remained in the EU there were no guarantees about what the future held. Hoping to protect the status quo is a nonsense, there is no such things as a status quo, things are always changing and evolving, whether we like to admit it or not.
When the price of sterling dropped like a stone this morning when the markets opened, had you bought a currency trade and sold it just after the bank of England speech a few hours later, you could have made yourself a lot of money. And so it is with every situation, there will always be winners and losers. It’s not really about what happens to you, It’s about how you deal with it. Change brings opportunities as well as risks. You can either position yourself in such a way as to take advantage of those opportunities or play the role of victim, and lose.
Change includes risk and opportunity
Emotion makes decision making much more subjective and fearful, if you can separate emotion, and emotive language from the facts, you give yourself a chance of making a rational decision. When we hold a strong emotional position, we may refuse to shift our opinion or back down to any opposing views and counter arguments. In truth, it’s not about being right or being wronged it’s about moving forward and making the best use of the opportunities that are inevitably available because of the very thing we fear…change.
We’re different: embrace the fact
Holding a strong opinion doesn’t make you right or wrong. Some people like to feel they have some control over their destiny, others like the sense of comfort and security. There are leaders and followers, risk takers and play safer’s and all have a valid place in society. They value different things and have different perspectives, and make decisions based on what they feel is right for them and their families. Accept this as part of life’s rich tapestry, don’t judge or ridcule others, respect their views, sure give them your opinion by all means, but know they are entitled to hold theirs.
Anger grows out of fear
When things apparently move against us and our perception is that the outcome is going to be bad for us, we may feel threatened and fearful. In an attempt at self protection, anger may result and be directed at whatever is deemed responsible for causing that fear. “Remain” campaigners saying “leave” campaigners are ignorant of the facts, have been brainwashed, are responsible for this mess, and have low IQ’s etc are attempts to make themselves feel better and increase their self worth. Discrediting others, is a defence mechanism, that inflates their sense of self. However a question we should all be asking is why do people feel such fear in the first place?
Follow your own agenda
During the EU referendum a lot of emotive language and stories of doom and gloom have been used by politicians and media on both sides of the debate, often designed to manipulate the audience into responding in a way that serves agendas of the politicians and media. It creates division and builds strong emotion, clouding the facts and making rational decision making more difficult. It builds on our fears and when we are fearful, we have a tendency to resist change even more than we would otherwise. Try to separate the emotion, and make rational decisions based on facts, don’t be a pawn in somebody else’s game, play for yourself. And even if you feel you are acting in your own best interests, ask yourself, based on what facts, not opinion or prediction, but facts.
The EU referendum has been one of those monumental moments in history. The future is uncertain, and either exciting or scary depending on your perspective. It is unprecedented in history so we will have to wait and see how it pans out.
I guess we will make it work, we always do. It’s in everyone’s interest for it to be a success. When there’s no alternative we can focus on making the one option we have work for the good of all us all as stakeholders.