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.

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Friday at 06:30 PM
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I’d also like to know: Do you get hit with analysis paralysis? What exactly what did you get stuck on? And if you’re not sure, step back and look at the big picture. What’s your overall goal? And what details are you caught up in?

Send me an email at: inner.circle@innovativelanguage.com

See you next month!

Peter Galante, Founder
Team EnglishClass101