Perfectionism can slow down your learning process more than anything else.
Think about when you were a baby, how you learned to walk and talk. You made tons of mistakes, and learned through feedback from your environment and caregivers how to do better next time.
You didn’t stop trying until you finally got it right.
Statistically, a baby falls down 1,000 times before he really learns to walk, but he never loses the positive expectation that if he keeps on trying, he’ll eventually get it.
How does an automatic pilot on a plane work to get to its destination?
Does it guide the plane in a perfectly straight line from point A to point B?
I don’t think so.
It does it through a process of trial, error, and feedback, correcting itself constantly. In this way, the plane zig-zags its way to its final destination.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that very often, the most successful people are also the ones that have failed more than anyone else.
Remember these words from Michael Jordan in a classic commercial?
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot, and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”.
In sales training, you’re often told that you get paid for every “no” that you receive from a prospective sale.
Because in a way, the more no’s you receive, the closer you are to a Yes.
We can apply this same thinking to learning Spanish. Simply learn from your mistakes, and even celebrate a little every time you make one, because it means you are improving.
If you are studying Spanish with a partner or friend try this game.
For example let’s say you are in Panama City and walk into a store in order to buy some sandals.
You open your phrasebook, look for the sentence “Can I see some sandals?” – “Puedo ver algunas sandalias?” – say it to the attendant and then wait for her reply. From there you MUST keep on talking in Spanish until you are completely stuck.
You can use your phrasebook.
You can use gesture and body language.
See which one of you can hold a “Spanish only” conversation longer.
What happens is that you are having fun and will look the whole “making mistakes is bad / being perfect before starting” under a different light.
And as a result your trial / error period will be constant and your results will skyrocket.