Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Find a mentor, Mate!

Find someone whose approach you admire. Study how they did, or are doing, what you want to do. Pick one of those online polyglots. There are lots of them.

You’ll think about the things they do. You’ll wonder if it will work just as well for you as it does for them. And of course it won’t.

That’s because you are you, and they are who they are. They have what they have after a long process of trying one things after another. They’ve tailored what they do to their requirements. And those activities won’t fit you as perfectly.

What you’re looking for is a comfortable fit that is 75 to 90 per cent right. You shouldn’t settle for less than that, and you cannot hope for more.

You’ll consider everything that they do and you'll try it out. One of three things will happen.

Maybe two-thirds of what you try is spot on. Great. Hang onto that.

A smaller fraction of what your mentor does will not be quite right for you. That’s good too. You’ll examine those miss matches to determine what needs adjusting. And this, naturally, leads to personal expertise.

And then a tiny fraction of your mentor’s approach is going to be absolutely wrong for you. Nothing wrong with that either, and here’s why. That will allow you to go off exploring. 

You should try the exact opposite in those cases! And that will lead you to some original discoveries of both the language-learning universe, and about how you as a person tick.

Of course, you don’t want to have to work everything out from first principles, so locate that language learner whose approach strikes the most harmonious chord in your ears!

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