So I’m trying to learn Spanish. I figure that Spanish-speakers are eventually going to take over the country, so I may as well be able to talk to them when they do. I originally thought it would be super simple, since you can usually just add ‘o’ to the end of every English word and voila – you’re speaking Spanish. “Do you-o have-o the book-o?” But it turns out that that isn’t actually true. Spanish people, in an attempt to make my life more complicated, have created a completely different word for every word in English. It’s like a completely different language! Trust me, mi cabeza esta muy inflada, which should amuse any Spanish speakers reading this, since “inflada” generally refers to tires.
Anyway, since Spainland is going to make me actually learn a new language if I ever want to converse with all its Spainmen and women, I’ve decided to do it properly. I’m studying 30-60 minutes a day, I’m listening to tapes when I’m driving, and I’m having torturously awful conversations in Spanish when I can find a native Spanish speaker kind enough to talk to me like they would a 3-year old. And in honor of the fact that it’s taken me 34 years to get around to doing this, I’d like to point out a few barriers to learning that should help ensure that you never end up learning anything new.
Keep telling yourself you’ll get around to it! This has worked great with me when it’s come to learning how to play the piano. I’m on Idiot’s Book of Piano Lessons #2, which I’ve been on for about 18 months. My favorite lesson in that book is “Distinguishing the Piano from Other Instruments.” Every day I stare at my piano and feel ever-so-slightly better than I was the day before. Osmosis really does work! At least it does with water…
Get Frustrated Quickly and Often!It’s much harder to learn things when you keep telling yourself you will never learn them. That would explain my complete lack of aptitude when it comes to organic chemistry, botany, tightrope walking, and knitting. My fat little fingers just can’t do it!
Constantly Remind Yourself that You’re Too Busy to Learn!With all the TV channels there are today, it’s virtually impossible to see every show you might enjoy, much less learn something that could further your career. What’s more important, getting a new certification or catching up on the latest nail-biting episode of “Hillbilly Handfishing?” I think we all know the answer to that.