Friday, 15 January 2016

Give it your best shot: start somewhere

You oughtn’t to rush into things. But the opposite is equally bad; you don’t want to prevaricate forever. Procrastination as the other side of the coin gets you nowhere just as quickly.

We all start somewhere. And there we stay, unless we make a start. By starting you gain information. You learn whether you are getting closer or further to your goal. If it’s ‘further’ then you do an about face. If you are neither getting closer nor moving away, then a 90-degree turn is in order. If you are getting closer, then you veer a few degrees one way, then another, to see if you can speed up a little (or a lot).

Taking action is the key.

And so, to learn a language, you figure out something to do according to your best knowledge. And it’s your knowledge of yourself (and you are a better expert of that subject than any teacher can ever hope to be) that is most important.

Your knowledge of yourself—your likes, dislikes, preferences, learning style, habits, motivators, off-buttons, what you already know, what you need to know, what you’d like to know, your goal, your levels of skill in various areas, your history . . .

There’s no fool-proof formula into which you can plug all those factors. You operate by gut feeling, and by trial and error. There’s an element of ‘muddling through’ which can’t be avoided. Just accept that and give it a go.

We all start somewhere . . . unless we don’t.

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