Lesson #4 – It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

Making mistakes when learning a new language is okay. This week I’m sharing with you the fourth lesson in flexibility I’ve learned on my international travels.

Lesson 1, Lesson 2, and Lesson 3 for “5 Keys Lessons in Flexibility for International Professionals” have already been released.

Lesson #4: Making mistakes when learning a language is ok

When I was studying in Japan, I would immerse myself in Japanese language. I wouldn’t only study and speak Japanese as much as I could in class, I’d make friends with Japanese people, I’d watch TV in Japanese, I’d even write my shopping lists in Japanese.

Occasionally, I’d start a sentence not knowing how I was going to finish it. Or, I’d ask a question not having the vocabulary I needed. Most of the time it would end up in a combination of elaborate sign language, body language, facial expressions and the hope that the other person would eventually guess what I was trying to say.

The point is, I’d be okay with making mistakes. Approaching language learning using this method meant that within three months of being in Japan, I was able to confidently talk about pretty much any topic. I could get my point across and others would understand me.

However, other students would want to make sure they had everything correct before they said a word. They wanted to be perfect in Japanese without practicing it. They’d hold back from speaking and interacting with others because they were afraid of making mistakes. How do you think their Japanese ability progressed? Very, very slowly.

When you learn anything in life, whether it’s a new language, a new sport, or a new field of study, it’s a process. You won’t be perfect right from the beginning. Developing a new skill is a process of learning and learning some more, until you perfect it.

You have to be okay with making mistakes otherwise you’ll immediately lose confidence in your ability, and without confidence you’ll never progress.

Click here to access Lesson 5.

About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox