This past weekend I read the Harvard Business Journal's article "The Art of Persuasion Hasn’t Changed in 2,000 Years" by Carmine Gallo and frankly I've never been more inspired to share my language learning journey. So, in tribute to that I write the following.
When I attended the S.E.W.N. "Big Magic" book review I had come across a group of women talking about goals in the next phase of life. During this event there was a moment that I really connected with. A woman discussed her goal of relearning to play the piano, she had played before, but it had been so long she was a bit apprehensive to restart. Her husband, knowingly, came home with a keyboard and encouragement which led to her first act of playing again. It's the way we empower ourselves and others to reach their goals that make the biggest impact.
Reverting back to our start of life, the learnings of our traditional milestones: walk, talk, and potty train. We learn those abilities at any early age and continuously make learning something new apart of our daily life. So, when we learn something new or relearn something of the past, there is the potential we come across those detrimental beliefs of "what if I'm not as good as I was", "what if I make a mistake" or "what if I'm not good at all" then there is the comparison of our journey to another's "I'll never be like Mozart" or "I'll never sound native". Those are the thoughts that ostracize us from the act of doing and being. Granted I am not telling you to Climb Mount Everest without any training, what I am saying is just as that child that needed to learn to walk, you as an adult must take the first step.
It is not an act in the absence of fear, it is an act despite fear.
Personally, when it came to language learning, during my travels I spent a lot of my time learning, reading and listening to the other languages spoken. In my experience the best research was done in observation. However, there was this one turning point. One morning I was with Arnaud's father having tea and coffee, he couldn't speak English so there I was speaking what was most likely 2nd grade level French. Granted, the kind man definitely looked at me like I had 3 heads at some point (LOL), yet he spoke back. Looking back there were a few times I said "Je prends" (I take) when I should have said "J'ai" (I have). Regardless of my mistakes, it was the first real French conversation I had across a few trips. It was incredibly empowering. I reached a point where I didn't care if I made mistakes, I just let my guards down and put an effort into connect. Why him of all people, I am not quite sure, but ever since I've moved from Spanglish to Franglish as well.
Life is far too precious to live in fear making a mistake in learning something new. If there is something we wish to try, we must give ourselves room to learn, grow and move forward accordingly.
We are not to neglect our strengths, rather we must embrace them in new ways to contribute to a stronger way of living.
So, if there is any takeaway from any of this article would be the famous Nike tagline "just do it".