What good is potential if you don’t do anything with it?
Many of us have the potential to do great and incredible things. For example, you have the potential to learn any language you wish, including sign language. However, how do we meet our potential? Here are four steps that can help you in fulfilling your potential of becoming fluent in another language.
STEP 1: Learn the basics. We need to learn to walk before we can run. Learning a language starts with the basics. Just like children, we start with learning letters, numbers, colors, animals, food, etc. As adults, it may feel silly, but we need to go through that process all over again. Luckily, today there are a massive amount of resources to help us build up this vocabulary. We can learn from taking a class, social media, online sign language dictionaries, just to name a few. There are so many resources to chose from, I would do them a disservice if I tried to mention them all here. I’ll save that for another day!
STEP 2: Practice, practice, practice! The best way we learn a new language is by using what we have learned. The quicker we can do this the better. For instance, if you learn the sign for something, you need to try to use that sign at least 3 times in the first day you learn it. But it doesn’t stop there! Try using it at least once a day for the next 3 days. The more you are able to use it, the longer you will remember it.
STEP 3: Face your fears. This goes along with practice, practice, practice. As good as it is for you to practice signing to yourself, there really is no substitute for practicing with somebody in person. This can be a difficult step for most, but it is really the secret to learning the language quickly. If we are not feeling uncomfortable, then we are not going to make progress. Neurology teaches us that the more challenging something is for us, the more our brain grows. I don’t mean grows metaphorically either, I mean real physical growth!
STEP 4: Focus on your progress. When learning a language, it is easy to become discouraged. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to say what you want to say. However, this is what we face all the time when we are learning a new language. All too often we focus on our limitations and not on the how far we have come. Remember, every now and then to pause and reflect on how much progress you have actually made. How much better are you today than you were a couple months ago? Believe me, as much as it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, you are making progress!
What about you? How do you achieve your full potential?