“We’re taught to avoid failing and its siblings: falling, faltering, flailing, foundering, fumbling. (I call these life’s beautiful F-words). But we’d all have an easier time if we accepted that these seemingly disastrous experiences are not only a normal part of life but are actually our greatest teachers in disguise. The right mentors encourage it even. Take this from Game of Thrones:
JON SNOW: “I failed”.
SER DAVOS: “Good. Now go fail again.””
Think back to your early childhood. We’ve all heard the encouragement from parents and primary school teachers telling us; “if at first you don’t succeed try and try again”. And you did. That’s how you learned to accomplish the critical fundamentals such as the reading, writing and arithmetic that are the infrastructure for so much of our learning as adults. That’s also how you learned to skate. You kept falling down on the ice but you kept getting up and trying again until you learned how to do it and perhaps went on to play hockey where you learned what teamwork was all about. These were your F.A.I.L.s (first attempts in learning). You wouldn’t be where you are today without having embraced them.
Unfortunately, the value and merits of F.A.I.L. and its demonstrable evidence in bringing out the best in of what is in the best interest of an emergent generation of aspiring professionals have been pushed aside and replaced by perfectionism by parents and educational institutions of higher learning. According to Wharton School psychologist Adam Grant, host of the hit podcast Rethinking, “There’s strong evidence that perfectionism has been rising in for years across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. --- In an increasingly competitive world, kids face growing pressure from parents to be perfect and harsh criticism when they fall short.”
My book Meaningful Memories takes you “back to the future” with demonstrable evidence of the true value of F.A.I.L. with personal accounts of its value and how it works. Read the chapter “A Good Read”. It recounts my F.A.I.L. (first attempt in learning) in primary and secondary education whereby I started with learning to read and climbed the literate ladder to critical reading and writing which was rekindled in my adult life to succeed as a legal author and law professor after failing to succeed in the perfect career as a lawyer. Another chapter; The Fight for What’s Right” recounts how my siding with a person of colour who was being victimized and bullied in grade school was a successful F.A.I.L. that I rekindled in my professional life to take the lead in combatting systemic discrimination in the accreditation of credentials for internationally trained professionals. This opened the door for me to engage in mentoring and counselling more than a thousand aspiring professionals on international graduate education in top tier UK universities through Canada Law from Abroad (www.canadalawfromabroad.com)
Yes, I’ve been there and done it. Shutting out all of that external noise from friends and supposed experts who know all about those perfect careers and how you should go about perfecting yourself to get into them enabled me think for myself about myself enabled me to recollect and reflect on my F.A.I.L.s. My rekindling of what I had learned to like and what my positive attributes were enabled me to ignite my passion and develop a personalized pathway to a successful professional career and live life to the fullest.
Julie Lythcott-Hams, who was quoted in the introduction, is an internationally acclaimed mentor for aspirant gen zs. Take a read about how what she has to say corroborates what I’ve just told you.
“ Take some deep breaths. Tell yourself you don’t need to hear the word perfect and to always feel “comfortable” to know you’re okay. Do this over and over again until the thought begins to come naturally to you. (It will.) Remember that this life you’re leading is a process of learning. Look for the teachers who can help you grow. They are everywhere. 
Now, go to my web site at (www.johngkelly.ca) and scroll into the UNI & College Pathways to Personalized Health Careers page. Give it a read. Give it some thought. Yes, I’m the mentor you need who can work with you to rekindle your F.A.I.L.s and ignite your passion to guide you to your personalized health career pathway. Connect with me by e-mailing email@example.com
 Julie Lythcott-Hams, Your Turn How to Be an Adult. New York. Henry Holt and Company. (2021). At p.36
 Adam Grant. Hidden Potential – The Science of Achieving Greater Things. New York. Viking. (2023) at P.66.
 John G. Kelly, Meaningful Memories. Friesen Press. Altona Manitoba. (2022).
 Supra 1 at P.64.
John G. Kelly
Mentoring & Counselling