Today I’d like to tell you a little story.
Once upon a time there was a girl named Sarita. Sarita began taking Spanish as a freshman in High School. She initially loved the subject, dreaming about all the amazing things (travel, new friends, unique experiences, etc) that would be available to her with another language at her disposal. One thing I should mention about Sarita is that she had a wee bit of a perfection problem. And while this problem affected many areas of her life, it especially inhibited her learning of Spanish.
Each year as she continued on in Spanish, Sarita became more and more paralyzed by making errors. The beginner’s mindset she had her first year had all but disappeared and a good class day was one when she had to speak as little Spanish aloud as possible (therefore limiting the amount of time she spent looking stupid). As you might imagine, she didn’t improve much, since she never practiced. She did however ROCK at memorizing vocab words.
When Sarita completed her Spanish requirement at the end of her first semester in College she breathed a sigh of relief and thought arrogantly to herself, “Why bother learning a language. Everyone learns English anyways.” Secretly, she was thrilled to leave that behind her and stop feeling so incompetent everyday. She made up a story about how her brain wasn’t good at learning languages and used that as her excuse every time someone asked how many languages she spoke. It wasn’t until many, many years later that Sarita would acknowledge that quitting Spanish was one of the biggest regrets of her life.
As with many things in life, Sarita had a chance to redeem herself. 13 years later, the Universe plopped her smack dab in the middle of a Spanish-speaking country to live for 2 years. Her old fears of incompetency crept in and for a moment she hoped that she’d be able to sneak by with just English. It only took a few interactions to see how impossible that would be.
And so Sarita came to another critical decision point. Dids she hide out in her house, speak as little as possible and forego having interesting interactions with locals OR did she throw herself out there fearlessly and make grandiose failures on a daily basis in service of her learning? As you might guess, Sarita doesn’t make the same mistake twice. She’s going big or going home!
Stay tuned for her eric failures (and successes) as she starts her 2 HOUR DAILY SPANISH CLASSES (Yes folks, your read that right, five whole days a week) next Monday and puts her Spanish into practice. It’s about damn time we conquered this fear!