“I’m only human, of flesh and blood I’m made. Human; born to make mistakes” ~ Human League
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Mistake (n): an error or blunder, a misconception or misunderstanding
Mistakes; I’ve made a few. Well, more than a few, if I’m honest. And, sure as eggs are eggs, I will make many more right up until the day I die. I’m human. And to be human is to be fallible.
We all make mistakes, all the time. A lapse in concentration, an error of judgement, a mistimed decision, these are all parts of life. And the consequences can be as little as embarrassment to as grave as changing yours or someone else’s life forever.
The thing about making mistakes is not the mistake itself, it’s how you deal with the consequences. Jimmy Carr, of recent and legal tax avoidance fame, conducted what I consider to be a masterclass in how to deal with a perceived mistake. He was found to have invested in a legal tax avoidance scheme but, within his own comedy routines, had previously made jokes about those who are involved in tax avoidance. I’ll say it again so we’re clear, tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is not. If you want to debate the politics of this, please do so elsewhere. The point is Jimmy Carr, on this being outed, withdrew all involvement from the scheme and has issued, through statements, tv show and live performances, several apologies.
Now I don’t know Mr Carr. I’m unlikely to ever meet him and even less likely to ever be in a position of friendship to ask him if these apologies are genuine. He may genuinely feel that tax avoidance is wrong or he may be very media and politically savvy. Saying sorry is social currency, after all. The example he has shown is do something wrong (or perceived to be wrong) then you take it on the chin, own it and apologise. More than once if necessary. It’s surprisingly simple yet amazing how few ever manage to do it.
Personally and professionally, I have to stand by my actions. That’s not that I’m 100% proud of them or that I’ve always been right. I’m not and I haven’t. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But when I make one I know my only recourse is to hold my hand up, admit it, apologise where needed and try not to make the same mistake again. A la Jimmy Carr.
So what about you guys? Any humdingers of mistakes that you’d like share? Do you agree with the concept that apologies are a form of social currency? Interested in your thoughts as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard, please.