Sunday, May 6, 2012

I am sorry, I did it wrong, I won't do it again

Few days ago I wrote some considerations about committing mistakes when a person is supposedly living in an innovative environment. Today I am in the mood for writing some more lines about mistakes when one is effectively wrong and there are reasons to stop and ponder about that.

I made some reflections after the news had reported that Spanish King Juan Carlos Borbón-Dos Sicilias was admitted to hospital and operated for having his hip injured. Not a great news, had it not been for the fact that he injured himself hunting elephants in Botswana.

That news was well accompanied with a photo of the King holding a shotgun in front of the unlucky and deceased elephant.
As anyone might imagine, the fact provoked strong public critics; not only for the act of killing elephants and taking part to an expensive safari, not just because Spain is suffering from unprecedented economic and social crisis, but mainly because Spanish Crown is currently being scrutinized because of a financial scandals.

Eskamilla: Juan Carlos I of Spain, 2008

The thing that made the news ways more interesting was the immediate and clear answer of the King. When leaving the hospital, he faced a flash interview and after appreciating the treatment received in the hospital, he declared: "I am sorry, I did it wrong, I won't do it again." 

Not that much of a speech, really; rather a Tweet (93 characters) saying it all. But after days of polemics, scandals, burning media and boiling social networks, in my humble opinion he finally came out with the most effective recipe (regardless of the consequences of killing elephants in Botswana). These are the reasons.

  • Humbleness is the most effective weapon against pride. Instead of arguing that black is white, acknowledging the failure at early stages is fast and efficient, much more than saying sorry when no more argumentation is available.
  • The King summarized sincere feeling of guilt ─I am sorry─, transmitted the admission that hunting elephant is not the best thing to do ─I did it wrong─ and finally conveyed the message that after all, he learns from his own mistakes.
  • He diverted public opinion away from the fault and concentrated attention on the apology and how it has been made.
  • He probably achieved to go down in history as King Juan Carlos "The Humble".
That said, next time you commit a big blunder and you are aware of it, consider saying sorry as fast as you can. It'll save you a lot of time and your error will almost go unnoticed after a while.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article but the King never said *what* he was sorry about, *what* he considered he had done wrong or *what* wouldn't happen again. Not much of an apology if those three things are missing!

    Maybe he had just lost a game of poker with the doctors. Maybe he had taken a shit, was out of toilet paper, and had to use the hospital gown to wipe.

    Yes, those two situations are pretty unlikely... but not much more unlikely than him being *genuinely* sorry for going hunting elephants while the populace strives to make ends meet.

    We'll never know.