The Portuguese Way

For the ones who don’t know what Portuguese are good at or what are Portuguese at all, for the ones who think Portugal is a Spanish province, let tell you: We are good at everything.

The thing is, we got this skill called “desenrascanço”, here is a definition that used to be in Wikipedia:

Desenrascanço (loosely translatable as “disentanglement”) is a Portuguese word used, in common language in Portugal, to express an ability to solve a problem without having the adequate tools or the knowledge to do so, by use of imaginative resources or by applying knowledge to new situations. Achieved when resulting in a hypothetical good-enough solution. When that good solution doesn’t occur we got a failure (enrascanço — entanglement). Most Portuguese people strongly believe it to be one of the their most valued virtues and a living part of their culture. Obviously, they know that this subjective feature is not exclusive of theirs.

However, some critics disagree with the association of desenrascanço to the Portuguese culture. They argue that this concept is related to subjective evaluation of oneself, or of the Portuguese people, and belongs to the world of subjectivity and feeling. Sometimes, the concept is related by some to the discoveries period or to student activities in the 15th century. But sceptics doubt there is any substantial proof of that relation.

Some people theorize that in the 16th and 17th centuries, because it was very common for other exploring nations, such as the Dutch, to bring a Portuguese national along during the voyages, because the Portuguese were the most skilled due to previous knowledge and, allegedly, for handling well the occasional emergencies in the ship when the control of the vessel was given to them (what is known among the Portuguese as “desenrascanço”). Serious historians would disagree with the association between a 20th century idea and 17th century events. A part from this myth, desenrascanço, in fact, is the opposite of planning: it’s managing for the problem not becoming completely out of control and without solution.”

Through the several organization of events me and my colleagues found real challenges that we wisely and calmly solved. If it were in Sweden, I am sure everybody would give up and commit suicide the following 5 seconds.

Here’s a fun web page about the Portuguese: