Apologize & Thank Profusely – Lesson I’ve learned in Japan

In the book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People“,  Dale Carnegie teaches a few concepts that we should keep in mind in order to have more fulfilling relationships.  I loved reading this book because it spells out all the things we already know that people don’t like, but it also goes a step further to tell us exactly how to behave if we want to improve our relationships.  If you readThe Snowball about Warren Buffett you might have heard about the book as one of the most influential books in Buffett’s life as a young adult.

I learned two things from this book that I have seen the Japanese do naturally.  It seems to me that in Japan it’s just part of their culture.  These are:

  • Quickly apologize for anything that has gone wrong, even if they were not directly involved.
  • Thank profusely for anything good you receive, no matter how small.

The Japanese have a word, “sumimasen”, that means “thank you” and “I’m sorry” simultaneously!  As one of the safest countries in the world, there is definitely something for us to learn from the Japanese behavior.

Thanking someone genuinely has a more lasting effect than most people would imagine.  Try it out yourself, as you walk through your day make it a point to thank anyone you can find a reason to thank for.  While thanking that person, make smile genuinely and really enjoy the process.  Being grateful, and expressing it out loud, has great rewards you may now have realize at first!

Also, always apologize even when in doubt!  I have never seen someone angry because they received an apology from someone they didn’t expect one.  On the other hand, many people don’t think something was ‘bad enough’ to require an apology, while the other person is burning up inside withholding a lot of anger against you.  If you apologize genuinely, chances are you will save a few key friendships/relationships throughout the years.  Definitely worth a try.

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. You know, learning to say thank you for simple things is one of the best lessons I've learned as a manager. It's amazing how such a little gesture can make a huge difference in the work environment. You don't think people notice the little things – but they do!

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