The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture


Randy Pausch

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The Last Lecture: Chapter 47 Summary & Analysis

In giving an apology, “any performance lower than an A doesn’t really cut it.” Randy says that working in groups in his classes was crucial, so arguments and friction were inevitable. By mid-semester, apologies were always necessary, and he’d often give his classes a lesson by describing bad apologies and good apologies. Bad apologies, for example, might start “I’m sorry you feel hurt by what I’ve done” or “I apologize for what I did, but you also need to apologize to me for what you’ve done.” Neither of these is effective. Instead, Randy says good apologies have three parts: 1) What I did was wrong. 2) I feel bad that I hurt you. 3) How do I make this better? Yes, Randy says, #3 can open you up for people to take advantage, but most of the time they are reasonable. Students have asked Randy what happens if they apologize and the other person doesn’t apologize back, and Randy advises being patient.
An argument is an obstacle that presents the opportunity for a resolution through an apology. Often, after a big fight, the process of confronting and resolving a problem can make the relationship better and more honest than it was before. Treating an apology honestly, earnestly, and with total positivity is the best attitude to have when trying to repair strained relationships.
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