Mistakes are The Norm

In learning, mistakes are the norm. Every so often you feel embarrassed, exhausted but excited by the mistakes you make. I’d like to dedicate my next few posts to our dearest Mistakes.


Learning something new is a process with plenty of trial and error. Embarrassments come up along with contradictions between what you believe should be and what really is. You feel frustrated by the idea that you can’t live up to your own expectations.


Even after some years of learning you still stumble on simple tricks of the language. Small conversations about unfamiliar topics with total strangers, response to casual and colloquial courtesy of nice, friendly people. All of these put you into a real challenge. You search for the right word or phrase to express your ideas and feelings, but the attempt comes to nothing. What you’ve learned from the books may sound absurd. You sense something wrong going on during the communication. An awkward smile is of little help when you have no more linguistic arrows in your quiver. You see a question mark pop up over the other one’s head while you’re digging into a hoard of words and expressions you’ve gleaned on the battlefield of language learning.


In the outset, you envisage your future self and lay out the plan just as you line up the stepping stones toward the other side of the wild stream. Your hard work, however, doesn’t always pay off. Learning is always exhausting because the gushing current of the unknown washes away the stones you have painstakingly placed since you’ve got your feet wet. You want to believe your paving efforts to be reasonable, rational and rewarding. But the reality always betrays you. 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.


You always feel unsure and insecure about your efforts after these defeats. Each daunting mistake devours your enthusiasm and makes it hard to sustain the original level of grit. Even more difficult is continuing your learning journey with a day-to-day heavy load. It’s a battle against an aging bodily system, hectic daily duties or sheer unwillingness to move yourself forward.


Look at yourself in the mirror. Bruises are not scars but medals. Your sense of defeat, discouragement and imperfection signify the intensity and seriousness with which you meet challenges, experience and savor life. You don’t have to be ashamed of what you did wrong. You can take pride in what you have done. An embarrassments is a good old friend. Mistakes are what it takes to grow. (To be continued)


Tag: Dear Mistakes…
Mistakes are The Norm
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Trouble Is A Friend
Variations Sauvages
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