What the loss of my father taught me about life?

Today, the second session of a panel titled ”Where did we come from? Where are we going?” is going to take place at Altınbaş University’s Gayrettepe Campus. As you may know, the first panel has mostly covered economy, but today we will be more focused on talking diplomacy and politics.

As I started the first session of the panel on Tuesday night, I especially indicated that the issue here is actually diplomatic, not economic. “Not everyone can make the right decision under pressure” I added. Here’s the reason why:

Central Bank or similar institutions are frequently criticised for the early decisions they make or the actions they take. It’s the same all over the world. I mean the same goes for public institutions as well as the private ones. As a matter of fact, a lot of details that might bring trouble to an institution are hardly included in Executive Board Meeting Agenda. Junior executives always leave making critical decisions to the top management since taking such critical decision-making may potentially jeopardize their careers. So, they choose to do nothing rather than taking the risk of doing the wrong thing.

In fact, even making the right decision may sometimes not be enough to achieve the desired result. For instance, if the Central Bank hiked rates on July 24, this particular action would quite probably go for nothing because of the heightened tensions between the US and Turkey. Similarly, the fact that US pastor was placed under house arrest right after the CBRT has decided to keep the interest intact has indeed been a key factor in preventing exchange rates from climbing higher. To the executives, such complicated events almost always seem like equations with multiple variables.

A single remedy may remain incapable of helping us make the right decision, especially when we have limited powers to intervene. So, we should better carefully consider all the important fact and details, make a decision accordingly and pray for good luck. Luck is usually on the side of those who work hard, it never pursues those who keep on insisting on doing the wrong thing. Let me tell you a sad story:

“Right decisions may not always lead to right results…”

My father was hospitalized due to a localized enlargement of the abdominal aorta called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). At first, doctors remained incapable of making any diagnosis. But then a wise doctor with vast medical experience discovered the problem. Normally, in abdominal aortic aneurysm cases, which is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta-often the result of a blood clot-with risk of rupture, the mortality rate due to transporting the patient to hospital too late is 50% while the operative mortality rate (deaths in the surgical wards) stand at 60%. Almost more than half of the patients who have survived the surgical procedures may often face severe postoperative complications.

Our doctor came and asked me, “Do you give consent for the surgery?” He handed me a form and a pen. Then, I asked him, “Will my father live if he does not undergo the surgery?” “Unlikely”, he replied and added that it was already a miracle that he was taken to the hospital in time. So, to cut the long story short, although it involved great risk, I felt like I had no choice but to give my permission for my father’s operation. Doctors did the very best they could possibly could. My father survived the surgery, and the wait has begun. Doctors told us one thing, “Everything will be alright if your father wakes up from surgery”.

But, he never did…

Honestly, I think he did not want to wake up. Professor Erdoğan Alkin has always been that way. I suddenly realized what may be going on in the intensive care unit so I asked the doctors for permission to go into the ICU. As I knew that he would hear me, I said to my father, “You lived your life the only way you know. Now, you end it the only way you know. Go with peace. We will take care of everything”. It’s been 20 years since we lost our mother. There hasn’t been a single day when my father didn’t mention her name. Given that he was a public servant, he was struggling under a number of lawsuits. He felt it beneath him, thus decided not to return.

I was in a way right to make that risk decision as there was no alternative to it. But the decision itself remained incapable of changing the result.

It took me 1 week to visit my father’s house. When I entered through the door I noticed all of his books and personal belongings had been already packed. On his desk, I saw a list of his recently deceased colleagues and a mathematical code which mystery still remains to be unearthed.

In short, my father has long decided to leave. I was unable to change the results even though I knew I made the right decision.

I retold this story during a joint meeting between the CNR and Turkish Home Textile Industrialists’ and Business people’s Association (TETSIAD). In life, we sometimes have to make risky decisions under pressure. The risks here usually arise from sub-staff’s fault to provide us with adequate and timely information or sometimes we make the mistake of ignoring the obvious risks. We are rarely affected by external factors which we might as well consider “company loves misery”. That’s why we are still turning to ancient remedies so they can help us know when and how to intervene in deteriorating market conditions. It’s just like prescribing the same cold medication to a 7 year old kid and 40-year old man. Such unwise approaches would never work as there are major differences between the past and present circumstances.

Therefore, one should have adequate knowledge to render an unbiased judgment in being prepared for making risky and instant decisions. Such decision-making process may be carried out through methods we are familiar with, but also through the extraordinary ones. Past data will not always show you what will happen in the future. That is why you should be well-informed and equipped with good knowledge at all times, helping you make risky decisions when the need arises. Although you consider yourself good at making the right decisions, we still need to hope for the conjuncture and the luck will be on your side. The sad story I shared with you above is a simple proof of what I have been trying to tell you.