Apologies for Success!?!?

I originally wrote this and let it sit, it’s a touchy subject with me; apologies from people who don’t really mean it and over/under exaggeration to the point of lying.  I was embarrassed for a young professional woman at a recent party.  She apologized for all the world’s woes, none of which she created.  She did so, making sure my friend got lots of eye contact and even got close to her face for emphasis.  My friend is an introvert and was born outside of the US, it was threatening to her personally and she took a step back.  She is extremely intelligent and holds a professional position in a male dominated field.  She is well aware of the struggle for ethnic women to be successful, she does not need a lecture on it.  Yes, we can and should do better, but, please don’t lecture the introvert or get on the current soapbox. A meaningless apology about something you had no part in, no control over and are simply parroting what you think is popular, does not bring about change. Kindness and honesty bring lasting change.  Look at the lasting changes Gandhi and Dr. King brought to the world!

Original text:

I sat in yet another session by an individual who made choices that capitalized their success, then made a career of apologizing for that success!   Making money twice over, ARRGH!  While I understand that people can change, I see this as another form of greed.  The latest one was a “true confession”, the author wrote a book on it.  That is, after making A LOT of money doing what is now socially unacceptable.  He apologized for being successful, he apologized for being white, he apologized for his birth parents, he apologized for his trust fund, and he apologized for many things he could not control.  It is boring, droll and really poor taste.  It insults all those individuals who happen to fall into the categories the speaker was apologizing for.  He did not, however, talk about any philanthropic activities he put that money to work in.

If I tell a better story, yell louder or repeat the story often, does that make it a better cause? Should I apologize for things I have no control over; my ethnicity, hair color, height, parents?  Would I want my daughter to apologize for her ethnicity? It is boring and disingenuous to apologize for something you have no control over.  Instead, motivate me, inspire me with your optimism and heroic everyday efforts for your cause.  Inspire me by what you are doing now that is different.  Give me a reason to think differently. Challenge me to do better in a positive non-judgmental way.  Persuade me to be a partner in your passion for excellence.  Win me over with kindness, truth, logic and real facts.

I check facts for publication and write engineering specs.  I translate engineer speak into plain English.  It was natural for me to pick up my phone and ask Dr. Google if the facts presented were truth.  I found a small grain of truth and widely exaggerated falsehoods.

The “true confessions” the speaker is currently making money on are not entirely true. The speaker was still doing the same thing that he “confessed”, only the venue changed.  Profiting in a shady way, not quite telling the truth and misleading the public.

This is not a new experience for me.  I belong to several authors’ venues and we often have speakers.  Several years ago, I listened as a semi-famous individual apologized for the mistreatment that goes on daily to dairy cows in California.  Really, in California where a plethora of watchdog organizations for animal protection and rights exist?  There may be more people living in California that care passionately about animal treatment that those that do not.  Every one of them is a whistleblower.  I’ve personally been to large scale dairy farm to check it out. I wanted to know. They may not be “Happy Cows” as the ad states, but the herd was certainly well cared for. The milking area was extremely clean and the ladies were very well fed.  The dairyperson explained that sick and mistreated cows cost money.  Common sense tells you that this visible dairy would be a favorite target for animal rights groups to take a look at.  These are operations that enjoy excellent reputations and are highly regulated and inspected.  I’m not saying mistreatment does not occur, but it does not occur in the exaggerated scale presented in the speech.  Dr. Google did not support the speakers assertions.

Exaggerating a grain of truth, whether it is a positive or negative one, has become too common place.  Don’t be common!

Do you check facts with Dr. Google, Yahoo, Bing or a fact checking site?  List your favorite sites below!  If you don’t check facts, today is a good day to start.  Please don’t be led by these obvious dupesters, gaining recognition and money on partial or no truth!  Please check facts, don’t follow the herd (pun intended) mentality.

P.S. If anyone else wants to apologize for their trust fund, please send me a check.  I can and will find a worthwhile way to spend it for you!

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Filed under Inspiration, Life Lessons, Writing

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