The Fine Art of Failing

by Caelen S. Cann, LPC, LAC, ADS

PACT Level 3 Candidate


Irish novelist Samuel Beckett once said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

When I graduated from Naropa University with my master’s in counseling, I was fortunate enough to have Buddhist teacher, author, and nun Pema Chödrön give the commencement speech. As a longtime fan of Pema, I was thrilled to be able to hear and see her (and bow to her as I received my diploma), but what stuck with me the most was not the star-struck nature of being in her presence, it was the lesson she provided in her speech. When trying to decide what to tell the auditorium full of graduating people, fresh-faced and new into the world of counseling and other fields, she thought about what skill we really needed that was not stressed enough: the fine art of failing. 

“There is a lot of emphasis on succeeding,” Pema said, “and whether we buy the hype or not, we...

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