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Some Random thoughts About Apologizing, Forgiveness, Nike, FARC, the Wolf of Wallstreet and the Rohinga

 

 

A Self-Improvement, Self-Awareness, and Applied Game Theory Newsletter.

Helping you become more self-aware, intuitive, effective, efficient, precise, productive, and self-aware by admitting you have erred and making amends

 

What is the meaning of life, and how can you use admitting you did wrong in order to survive, prosper, and serve others.

 

 

Q. Lewis, I noticed today that there are many news stories trending about individuals, and companies apologizing for doing the wrong thing in the wrong way – Nike was apologizing for cultural misappropriation, FARC the Columbian Revolutionary group (now disbanded) was apologizing for kidnapping, and murder. Can you discuss the concept of apologizing, making amends, and forgiveness?

 

A. Let’s begin with the question, what does it really mean to apologize. The answer is pretty basic. According to most dictionaries. To apologize is to “express regret for something that one has done wrong”. Of course, this opens another can of worms. What is right or wrong? What is moral, ethical, and legal and how does that connect to what we might need to apologize for?

 

 

One of the people I study a lot is Frank William Abagnale Jr. Abagnale is an influential American security consultant. In his youth (15 to 21 years old) he was known for his career as a con mancheck forger, and impostor eventually assuming no fewer than eight identities, including, a physician, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent, and a lawyer. He says he was doing what he needed to survive. He served fewer than five years in prison before starting to work for the federal government.  Abagnale is currently a consultant and lecturer for the FBI academy and field offices. He also runs Abagnale and Associates, a financial fraud consultancy company.

 

 

Beware of the scammers in life who never apologize, or lie when they do

 

 

Abagnale’s story inspired the Academy Award-nominated feature film, Catch Me If You Can (2002), starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent pursuing him, as well as a Broadway musical of that name, both of which are based on the book Catch Me If You Can. I mention Abagnale, only because I learned two things from him that have been the foundation of my work as a Results-oriented life coach and a game theorist.

These are my words, but the idea is his. “Usually we need to apologize for one of two reasons…”

  1. We did something we weren’t supposed to do.
  2. We didn’t do something we were supposed to do.

This of course opens the door to very complex conversations about ethics, morality, the law, and the argument still often used today “I was only following orders”.

One of the stories you referred to in today’s news concerned FARC The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC–EP). This wasMarxist–Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization based in Colombia, which was involved in the Colombian armed conflict. Part of what they did in their revolutionary fervor was kidnap for ransom and often murder innocent people. Today one of the trending stories was the spokeperson for the FARC Rebels said they were ashamed of the kidnappings and said they were sorry.  The apologies seem authentic. That won’t help the people they kidnapped and killed.

Below is the article I’m referencing concerning FARC.

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-54160284

 

Sometimes times apologies only happen after some offended party calls out the offender as recently happened with Nike. According to the BBC the story here involves “US sportswear giant Nike withdrawing a new version of its classic Air Force 1 shoe after objections from an indigenous group in Panama.

The limited-edition model was described as a tribute to Puerto Rico but the Guna community of Panama said it used their traditional “mola” pattern. The group accused Nike of “pirating” a protected traditional design.

Nike has apologized to the Guna community for the “inaccurate representation” of the shoe and said it would not be made available.

 

 

 

 

I guess that will be one less soccer player engaged in cultural misappropriation

 

 

 

 

 

Oops!

 

The Guna people, known as Kuna until 2011, live mainly in low-lying Caribbean islands that make up the Guna Yala autonomous region and are one of seven indigenous groups in Panama. Environmentalists say they are under threat from rising sea levels caused by global warming. I guess if their land is flooded someone will apologize for that as well. I guess to Nike one countries Latin culture is the same as any others. Panama, Puerto Rico? Whatever!

The list of apologies goes on.  The director of the Prison in Cambodia who murdered 20,000 people during the Kmer Rough just died. Before he did, he proclaimed those famous last words “I’m sorry”  I’m sure in a few decades (or centuries) the government of Myanmar will apologize for expelling 750,000 Rohinga Muslims.

 

 

 

 

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How to Make Money From Bad Behavior

As a professional speaker, I often have to compete with individuals who committed felonies, hurt lots of people, went to prison for a few years, and now make $30,000 an hour on the speaking circuit. One of these people is, Jordan Belfort who the movie. The Wolf of Wall Street is about. Belfort’s was a stockbroker in New York City and his firm, Stratton Oakmont, engaged in rampant corruption and fraud on Wall Street, which ultimately led to his downfall. I think after the fact he said he was sorry.

Amazingly there are many allegations that the budget of the film itself was covered with stolen funds siphoned from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. On 2018, the producer and co-founder of Red Granite Productions, Riza Aziz who happenes to be the stepson of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in Putrajaya. The United States Department of Justice stated that the funds siphoned from 1MDB was used by Red Granite to produce films including The Wolf of Wall Street. At the ending of the film, Malaysian fugitive financier Jho Low was credited, which created more speculation. I’m sure they are all sorry and apologized.

 

Of course, now we are dealing with BLM. Here lots of white people are apologizing. Men are also apologizing to women for behaving badly. In fact, due to the #metoo movement I needed to call ex-girlfriends (with my wife’s permission) to see if I needed to apologize for some sexual offense I committed but wasn’t aware of committing at the time it may have been committed.  Most said “No”, one or two said “Maybe” but they weren’t sure, and the rest didn’t remember and asked who I was?

 

Though as I grapple with my own internal conversations concerning apologies, accountability, and forgiveness I am reminded of something I read on Quora the online Q & A site in September 2018.  It is by a woman named Nina Carp. Clearly she is in recovery from some addiction and part of the 12 Step Movement. She had great insights concerning apologizing

She was asked, “How have you made amends to people you wronged?” This is her answer.

 

The 12 Step Approach

“Making amends, making restitution, and apologizing are three different things”.

APOLOGIES: If you continue to apologize for the same things and are committing the wrongs that require you to apologize to the same degree, you are simply apologizing, because you don’t care to do the work to change your behavior, but recognize that your behavior requires apology to allow your continued presence in the same circle of people.

APOLOGIES WITHOUT AMENDMENT ARE DEAD WORDS: Let the word ring forth from this place at this time: I don’t take apologies as valid currency. If you keep saying you are sorry for the same thing and I’m not seeing any decrease in the degree of the offense, you are OUTTA HERE!

AMEND means “change”. Most of my amends have been living amends.

RESTITUTION: I paid back money I owed, after explaining that I owed the money and why. I returned things I had stolen. If a lie caused someone damages, I acknowleged the lie and did my best to repair the damages. In truth, people who are in the habit of lying, lie so much that they can’t possibly remember them all and correct them. It’s just a fact of life.

AMENDS: I stopped stealing things and money. I stopped lying. I changed. Because children of alcoholism lie when they have no reason to, this is a hard thing to do. Many times, it just means biting my tongue and saying nothing. The apologies are acknowledgment, the replacement or repayment is recompense. The amends is the fact that I stopped doing the things that required me to apologize and repay.

In truth, because I step into God’s place frequently and take all blame on myself, I frequently owe myself amends, and those are the hardest to make because they are so ONE DAY AT A TIME! I was able to hit college and the CPA exam with a sledgehammer and get them out of the way with flying colors fast. The thing about life is terribly daily, and terribly only one-day-at-a-time. There is no sledgehammer, there is no final exam to get through. There is just getting up and putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next right thing. And when I feel the threat of I-M-P-E-N-D-I-N-G D-O-O-M because that’s what I do, I have to remember that I felt that every day since I can remember (really only since I was 5 or 6, so there’s 18 months I can remember not feeling it every single day) and I’ve gotten this far.

 

 

 

 

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In a way Apologizing and making amends is a type of life hack. It cleans up how you live life, improves your relationships, and creates greater harmony and contentment

 

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