If you were like me, high school language class — Spanish in my case — felt like trying to stuff a dictionary into a watermelon. Completely unnatural and practically impossible. In fact, the entire process should be written off as totally inefficient. To absorb all those words and conjugations took intense, repetitive, strenuous memorization, and then, within 6 months, it all evaporated from your brain. Despite having continued my Spanish all through college, the best I can still muster is the very first thing I learned, “Necesito ir al bano.” I need to go to the bathroom.
But learning a new language shouldn’t be that hard. When we’re kids, we don’t require flash cards or repeat-after-me drills to speak fluently. We just do it. The process comes naturally through listening and observing. Yet, when we’re asked to do the exact same thing just a decade later, instead of fluid prose, stilted phrases tumble from our lips.
Why? Turns out it may all stem from the way we’re taught.
Both my little brother and sister head back to school next week, which got me thinking about the best part of back-to-school time: the supplies. Every year we’d get brand new binders and pencils, notebooks and glue, looseleaf and markers in preparation of the knowledge to come. And by the end of the year, they’d be battered and bloated — signs of the progress we’d made, as well as, the hard work it took getting there.
But once you enter the work force, that all ends. There’s no fresh start. There’s no new beginning. Every day rolls into the next. And rarely, if ever, do we step back and take stock of all we’ve accomplished.
But that’s crazy. We work too hard not to acknowledge how far we’ve come. So I propose a back-to-work time. A yearly occasion where we step out of the everyday chaos, congratulate ourselves for our achievements and give ourselves a much needed reboot. Time to see the potential, set new goals and get excited about what we do again. And if it takes getting a few new office supplies for it to truly sink it, so be it. Let them be a sign of your new beginning.
1. Sassy notepads from Knock Knock for when you need more laughs in your workday.
2. Fun pens and pencils in a variety of colorful patterns from Iomoi. Why the pens have erasers, I have no idea. They don’t have eraseable ink. I tried. But even with the random erasers, they’re super pretty on my desk.
If you’ve had a rough week or want a laugh, watch the video above of salesman — or more aptly put, budding comedian — Kenny Brooks. He should be the poster boy of why it pays to be persistent. I could use a dose of his tenacity. What about you?