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According to Right Brain

Egg on Your Face: How to Deal With Mistakes

A great approach to making mistakes
Egg on Your Face: How to Deal With Mistakes
Published on July 30, 2010 : 8 comments

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Mistakes have been a topic in our home lately. I really like to chew on an idea sometimes. I started paying attention to how many mistakes I make. It got kind of comical how many times a day I forgot to switch from my reading glasses I use for the computer to my all purpose glasses… or OOPS! I didn’t put my keys in their normal spot.

I find my mistakes that are of a more serious nature invaluable. Even when they sting, or really hurt. Even when I have to make the same mistake several times to learn. The messier the mistake the more I am going to learn—guaranteed.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

— Thomas Edison

I find it interesting how we spend our educational years learning, at least to a degree, that mistakes are bad (I probably just drove every education professional out there nuts!… I am on a philosophical bent here). I just think mistakes are good. Failure is good. It gives me the contrast and the feedback I need to try something different. The contrast is why success feels so good!  I didn’t always have this perspective on mistakes, but boy is it a good one!


(I could just insert my apology article here). Be honest. This is tough for us. It means having egg on our face. People get mad. But, they will respect the honesty. Honesty builds trust. On several occasions, I have had a client call me upset. They bring my mistake to my attention and end up relieved that I react with “oh, gosh! that is my fault.” I think they expect most people will deny it, forcing them to argue the mistake.


I know you do this! (smiling) If something is upsetting us, we replay that video in our minds over & over. In some cases, don’t ask “why” (this is a killer for me. I want to know why!). If the mistake is an accounting error, then “why” works to help find and correct the mistake. If it is a friend that drops out of your life, you most likely will never know why. I am learning more & more that there is a lot more going on with people than I see on the surface. 


Those of you who know me know I like to talk. I like to hear about what other people are up to. Quite often I pick up little tidbits from their experiences. The best part is I get to learn from their mistakes. I didn’t have to go through the mess to learn something.

Admit it, fix it, don’t obsess over it, learn a lot. 

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

— Henry Ford

Please comment below. I can’t wait to here what you have to say!

– Resource used and for more information see

AnnDbugzAnn Troe (@AnnieDoodlebugz) is graphic designer and illustrator.


Jo M. Lynch (not verified) says:

August 1, 2010 : 13 years 45 weeks ago

Jo M. Lynch's picture

Ann, you really do know how to get to the heart of a subject. Short, clean and concise. Excellent article, so true, and aren’t we always learning…

I always admired my Mom for the many times during my early married years when I “royally messed something up”… and when I would tell her, she would always say, well you won’t make that mistake again, you’ve learned something. She never said, “I told you”, or “you should have done this or that”. I found that an endearing trait, or kindness instead of criticism.

I love that you embellished your article with that oh so clever quote from Edison. Absolutely energizing… Thank you for that!

Admit it, fix it, don’t obsess over it, learn a lot… A great twitter tweet!

Thank you for another thought provoking article…


Anonymous (not verified) says:

August 2, 2010 : 13 years 45 weeks ago

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for writing this article. I have had to deal with this problem most of my life. I think I learned this behavior when I was about 7 yrs old and I began to make up “sins” so I would have something to offer in the confessional. Yikes! Another cliche “I survived growing-up Catholic!” Seriously this article is helpful.

AnnDbugz says:

August 2, 2010 : 13 years 45 weeks ago

AnnDbugz's picture

Hey Jo and anonymous
These articles are great reminders for me as well. I really like getting different opinions on how to handle some of these things - there is always more than one way to look at something.

Thanks so much for the feed back!

Dad (not verified) says:

August 4, 2010 : 13 years 44 weeks ago

Dad's picture

Ann, this is an excellent article. I read it the day it was posted and thought I should comment. Then I made a mistake of being distracted by something else and so now I am back, days later, to atone? Maybe just to comment, finally?

The way we react to, or avoid a mistake, I think says something about each of us. Are we secure, insecure, political, etc?

So, yes, we learn from our mistakes but we also learn about others from their handling of a mistake.


AnnDbugz says:

August 4, 2010 : 13 years 44 weeks ago

AnnDbugz's picture

OOOO! Yes!
I didn’t mention how you can learn A LOT about people by watching them. Glad you have my back!
Thanks Dad!

mamashepp says:

August 21, 2010 : 13 years 42 weeks ago

mamashepp's picture

I’ve just started a new job and I’m sure to be making a lot of mistakes. The good news is that they’re expected, to an extent. But I have been trying to take exactly these steps when they happen. It’s amazing how much more quickly everyone can get over the mistake if you just take responsibility.

Ann, as a fan of The Secret Life of Bees, I thought you might be interested to know that Sue Monk Kidd is coming to Omaha in September to Countryside Church.

AnnDbugz says:

August 21, 2010 : 13 years 42 weeks ago

AnnDbugz's picture

Hey Lisa!
Great to hear from you. Congrats on the NEW job! That is fantastic!…

Thank you SO much the heads up on Sue Monk Kidd! I am checking out the link in a second… are you going to go?

mamashepp says:

August 21, 2010 : 13 years 42 weeks ago

mamashepp's picture

I’m planning on it—I think a couple of friends from book club and I will be going. I haven’t read the book that Monk Kidd wrote with her mom yet but knowing me, I’ll end up buying it that night!