Lesson Transcript


Becky: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Becky and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Becky: In this Inner Circle, we're talking about Analysis Paralysis in Language Learning...
Peter: ..and How To Beat It
Becky: You'll find out why people get caught up in it...
Peter: ...Why you should stop focusing on details and perfection...
Becky: ...And how to avoid analysis paralysis...
Peter: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Becky: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned why your worst days..
Becky: ...are actually the best days to learn a language.
Peter: You learned about why they happen, and why they're when you'll get your best work done.
Becky: And how your habit of learning only gets stronger if you muscle through.
Peter: This time, listeners, we're talking about the enemy of language learning,
Becky: Analysis paralysis.
Peter: When you're so focused on the tiny little details of a language...
Becky: ...and you're so focused on reaching perfection...
Peter: ...that you actually stop your language progress from growing. You paralyze it.
Becky: That sounds rough, Peter. So, how'd you come to this topic today?
Peter: Great question Becky. Well. it's July. The year's more than half over. So I started doing a mid-year review.
Becky: That's smart.
Peter: Actually, a mid-year review would be a GREAT topic for the next Inner Circle.
Becky: Yeah, I think so! Like looking back and seeing how far you've come!
Peter: We'll definitely do that. So, I was reviewing this year's progress and I remembered when I was studying Chinese two years ago.
Becky: Right, I remember that.
Peter: ...And I had a tutor who was incredibly focused on pronunciation. And that's pretty important for Chinese.
Becky: Right, with the different tones and all.
Peter: But, we were so focused on pronunciation above everything else. I wasn't reaching my conversation goals. I wasn't learning basic phrases. And I wasn't learning the characters.
Becky: And your pronunciation? Didn't that work out well?
Peter: It got to the point where it was counterproductive. What is good pronunciation anyway...
Becky: ...if you're not speaking at all in the first place?
Peter: Exactly.
Becky: Definitely sounds like you were stuck on perfecting the details.
Peter: So listeners, today, we're talking about...
Becky: ...Analysis Paralysis in Language Learning and How To Beat It.
Peter: And in this Inner Circle, you're going to learn...
Becky: One – Why Language Learners Get Caught Up in it
Peter: Two – Why You Should Stop Focusing on Details and Perfection
Becky: And Three...
Peter: How To Avoid Getting Stuck In Analysis Paralysis.
Becky: So Peter, we said that analysis paralysis typically comes from aiming for perfection..
Peter: That's right.
Becky: Wouldn't you agree that aiming for perfection is a good thing? Isn't it better to get your language right? Nobody likes making mistakes.
Peter: That's a very good point Becky. Most people don't like making mistakes. But...
Becky: But?
Peter: I can't agree with you. Aiming for perfection is not always a good thing. It sounds great though, doesn't it? Your accent will be perfect. You'll be speaking flawlessly. You'll never make a mistake.
Becky: Yeah! That does sound great!
Peter: Becky... This is the fastest and easiest way to get stuck.
Becky: And because most people aim for perfection....
Peter: Tons of learners experience this in one form or another. They get stuck.
Becky: They stop making real language progress.
Peter: And it's as if they're paralyzed.
Becky: So why do learners get stuck?
Peter: Let's get into the first point:
Becky: Why Language Learners Get Caught Up in Analysis Paralysis
Peter: When I was learning Chinese, I was stuck drilling pronunciation...
Becky: ...instead of actually having conversations?
Peter: Right. Which was my overall goal. To maximize my speaking time.
Becky: Ah, and by focusing on 1 aspect of the language... you were ignoring the overall goal and the big picture.
Peter: Exactly. In that case, my teacher was so focused on it. And at first, I was impressed and excited. I'd have perfect pronunciation.
Becky: Who doesn't want that?
Peter: And again, it's important for Chinese, but...
Becky: ...you weren't speaking at all?
Peter: Just drilling tones and learning how to say words. Becky, I was stuck.
Becky: But why do learners get analysis paralysis?
Peter: A few reasons. The first and the biggest reason, like we said, is...
Becky: Perfection.
Peter: Everyone wants to speak perfectly. They want to read perfectly...
Becky: ...And have perfect pronunciation.
Peter: You know, Becky. I don't even know why they aim for perfection.
Becky: Hmm. High expectations? Big goals? They don't want to make mistakes?
Peter: You got it. And that's the second reason too. They don't want to make mistakes.
Becky: Hmm. I can definitely blame school for that. No mistakes allowed!
Peter: You can. But avoiding mistakes is a mistake in itself. And you'll find out why soon.
Becky: Alright, what's next.
Peter: Another reason is not looking at the big picture. This is very easy to do.
Becky: Right. If you're studying words and you get used to that routine...
Peter: ...Or if you spend most of your time on grammar rules or pronunciation...
Becky: ...instead of stepping back – and looking at the big picture...
Peter: ...Are you REALLY speaking more of the language? Or are you just stuck?
Becky: I've definitely had that with Japanese. I studied grammar rules, but my speaking... forget about it. Probably because I wasn't trying to speak at all.
Peter: That's probably why, Becky. And It can also be the learner's personality.
Becky: I think another reason is that there could be too many options to choose from.
Peter: Good one! Like... too many resources to use. Books. Apps.
Becky: Or should you study words first? Or grammar? Or reading?
Peter: Right! Getting hung up on what resources to use or what areas to study.
Becky: Listeners, you may have your own reasons too.
Peter: Do you get analysis paralysis?
Becky: Why do you think it happens?
Peter: Be sure to let us know!
Becky: Alright. So now we know why most learners get caught up in perfection...
Peter: ...and analysis paralysis.
Becky: But why is it better to settle for less? Why should learners avoid perfection, Peter?
Peter: Let's get into the second point.
Becky: Why You Should Stop Focusing on Details and Perfection.
Peter: This is a tough topic. People love perfection, Becky.
Becky: It's the best, Peter.
Peter: Haha.. Well, only when you can afford to start smoothing out the details.
Becky: Right. And that's when you're a lot more experienced.
Peter: Exactly. But it's a recipe for disaster for beginners. And here's why – let's take my example.
Becky: You focused on pronunciation.
Peter: Becky, after 2 months, I had less than a MINUTE of conversation. The teacher would stop me at every mistake.
Becky: Wow, at 2 months, I'd imagine you could have reached 5 minutes.
Peter: The big lesson is – focusing on details stops your progress dead in its tracks.
Becky: Right. If your goal is to speak 3 minutes this month...
Peter: ...but you're so focused on remembering proper verb conjugation...
Becky: ...you'll never reach your goal.
Peter: Next, language is a tool for effective communication.
Becky: That doesn't mean it has to be perfect or SHOULD be perfect.
Peter: And you CAN argue that there's no perfect pronunciation. And this is especially the case with American accents.
Becky: There's the southern accent, western accent, your New York accent, Peter.
Peter: Do I have an accent?
Becky: You do, Peter.
Peter: It's funny, one time, when I was younger, I was visiting another state and was talking to a store clerk. And I said to the store clerk, “ Wow, you have an interesting accent.”
Becky: Uh oh. I can't imagine you had a nice response to that.
Peter: Haha.. Yeah, it went something like this. “This isn't New York. You're the one with the accent.”
Becky: He has a point though!
Peter: Well I didn't hold it against him that he didn't speak New York English. But he did have a point. Pronunciation doesn't imply your language is bad. Making yourself understood is the heart of language and the key to communication.
Becky: Yeah, you two understood each other just fine.
Peter: Oh yes, Becky. His message was understood, loud and clear. But another example is grammar. Learners spend a ton of time on grammar...
Becky: ...but there's more than one way to express your point, keep the conversation going…
Peter: ...and maximize your speaking time. If you can't say “where is the bathroom” in your target language...
Becky: ...you can simply ask “Bathroom?” It might sound odd...
Peter: ...But if a native listener understands what you need and it's effective, that's good enough, right?
Becky: Right. You can perfect it afterwards.
Peter: And if you have a good teacher, like my Premium PLUS teacher, they will correct your mistakes.
Becky: So it's OK to aim for good enough, instead of perfect.
Peter: Exactly, Becky. Another reason that it's not good to aim for perfection is... you need to make mistakes!
Becky: It seems counterintuitive, but it's the fastest way to learn.
Peter: There's a great example from a book called “Art and Fear.” There was a ceramics class where the teacher divided the class into 2 groups. One would be graded on quantity of work. They needed to make 50 pots to get an A.
Becky: And the other?
Peter: The other was graded on quality. So the quality group needed to make 1 pot. But, it had to be perfect.
Becky: Oh, wow. So how'd the groups do?
Peter: Becky, the quantity group had the highest-quality pots at the end. Simply because they made more pots. They made more mistakes and they learned from them...
Becky: ...while the other sat around thinking about the best way to make a perfect pot.
Peter: That's it. So as you can see, mistakes are an absolute must.
Becky: If you're learning with a teacher...
Peter: ...like my Premium PLUS teacher, you'll get corrections and improve faster. Becky, I think the best example is... how do kids learn?
Becky: Yeah, they make a lot of mistakes and their parents correct them.
Peter: And that's why it's okay to mistakes and it's important to make mistakes.
Becky: Alright, Peter. What can our listeners do to avoid this trap?
Peter: Let's get into the third point.
Becky: How To Avoid Getting Stuck In Analysis Paralysis.
Peter: In other words, here's how you beat analysis paralysis.
Becky: The first way is simple.
Peter: Listeners, don't seek perfection.
Becky: Aim for “good enough.” Remember, language is ultimately a tool for communication...
Peter: ...and if someone understands you despite the mistakes you make, then you've done the job.
Becky: The second way is... Make mistakes!
Peter: Actually if you WANT to reach perfection, making mistakes is the fastest way.
Becky: When you make a mistake, you'll get corrected...
Peter: ...you'll know what to say next time instead of wasting time trying to figure it out.
Becky: If you make 10 mistakes a day, that's 10 ways you've improved in 1 day.
Peter: Becky, that's a great tactic. Make a certain number of mistakes a day. I'd aim for 100!
Becky: Yeah, I thought of that after your ceramics class story.
Peter: Because they made a ton of mistakes.
Becky: The third way is to always refer to the big picture.
Peter: This can be your yearly goal or ultimate goal. For me, my yearly goal is 30 minutes of conversation. And in general, I want to speak comfortably.
Becky: Then, ask yourself, are you hitting your monthly goals?
Peter: ... are you truly progressing with your ultimate goal? If not...
Becky; ...take a look at where your time has been going. It might be going into the little details.
Peter: And you'll know to cut those out of your routine.
Becky: The fourth way is easy. You should be doing it already.
Peter: Listeners, since the beginning...
Becky: ...we've asked you to create small, measurable goals...
Peter: ...with a deadline. These goals, by design, keep you focused on what's important.
Becky: If your goal is to speak 5 minutes of conversation this month....
Peter: Chances are, you'll be practicing speaking more than anything else.
Becky: If your goal is to master 100 words. Well, you'll be more focused on the words...
Peter: ...than any other detail.
Becky: This method, by design, eliminates the analysis paralysis of choosing resources or what area of a language to study.
Peter: Right. If you want to practice listening and speaking, you know to focus on listening and speaking.
Becky: And you don't need to think about what resources to use.
Peter: You don't need a textbook for that. Just use our audio and video lessons.
Becky: The 5th way is to maximize your time around your goal as much as possible.
Peter: This is so that you don't getting lost in the details when you make a mistake.
Becky: Like when your teacher stopped you after every pronunciation mistake.
Peter: Exactly. We'd break the conversation and focus on details. And I couldn't maximize my speaking time.
Becky: Listeners, to maximize your time, try to keep going, even if you make mistakes.
Peter: That's right. So here's what I do. With my Premium PLUS teacher and my Skype tutor... If I ever make a mistake, they know to parrot back the corrected version. They don't stop me.
Becky: Ah. What about words you don't know in Spanish?
Peter: I'll just say the word in English inside my Spanish sentence...
Becky: ...And the teacher tells you the Spanish word?
Peter: That's it. And we keep going with the conversation. I maximize my speaking time. I hit my goals.
Becky: That's great. Yeah, all you really need is a quick correction.
Peter: This is the most effective technique for improving and I did this too when I taught English. For example, a student would say... “I go there on Saturday.” And I'd ask “oh, you went there on Saturday?” And they'd instantly correct themselves! No break in conversation.
Becky: That's a great tip. Alright Peter. Wait, I never asked. How was your monthly goal?
Peter: Still going strong, Becky. I hit 15 minutes of Spanish conversation. 17 minutes is the goal for August.
Becky: Sounds great! Listeners, be sure to set your monthly goals as well.
Peter:... and email us at inner dot circle at innovativelanguage dot com.
Becky: We want to know if you've ever gotten a case of analysis paralysis!


Becky: Well, that's going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Becky: Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.