Why you Should Check your Perfect at the Door

By |2016-09-01T17:24:11+00:00September 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Future progress requires letting go of perfection today.  Expecting to be perfect right now doesn’t leave space for experimentation.  We need experimentation to be a learner.

When I was studying Japanese I was the best student in my class: all A’s, good at memorizing the Chinese characters, lots of compliments on my pronunciation.  And yet, I could not carry on a conversation with a real Japanese person.

The problem was me trying to be perfect before diving into a conversation. But I had an epiphany and it came from observing taxi drivers in the US.  Many taxi drivers (and this was 20 years ago) seemed to come from other countries and had only basic English skills.  And yet, they conducted business and seemed to be in no fear of mispronouncing anything or using perfect grammar. And generally it worked just fine.

I adopted a similar mindset for my Japanese.  I just decided I would open my mouth and see what came out.  Largely, my communication was just fine, and sometimes it was just a big mess.  It didn’t matter.  What mattered is that I removed the impediment of perfect to reach a new level of mastery.

This of your learning or mastery goals.  How might perfection act as an impediment to progress?

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