I’m doing lots of new stuff at the moment, trying to reorganise my businesses so that, should I fall paralysed to the floor, as happened in September, my wife and kids won’t have to.
Half of yesterday was spent trying to transfer ‘products’ and ‘comments’ from one website to another.
I spent hours on it, yet failed to achieve what needed to get done, which was frustrating.
(But I did manage to fix the motorbike. Thanks to everyone who wrote with suggestions and support!)
Having messed that up, I looked for a paid ‘plugin’ that might do the job, but wasn’t convinced that what was on offer would help, nor be worth the cost.
At lunch I wondered aloud where I could find someone I could pay to do this for me. But realised that this type of occasional, one-off job is unlikely to be the sort of thing that I.T. experts build a profitable living from…
Later in the afternoon, hanging around at school before my kiddie classes started, I had another poke at the innards of the new website and, BANG, just like that, realised what I’d done wrong, and what I’d need to do differently, to put things right.
And then I had to teach, so couldn’t test out my insight until after I’d finished my classes, driven the motorbike back through a dark, damp December evening, cooked sausage and chips for my wife and now-adult son (the afternoon’s elementary school kids’ class was learning ‘I’ve got fries’, which inspired me), and dealt with the customer service emails that had come in while I’d been doing my proper job.
But by around nine p.m. I’d got the computer fired up, opened up the relevant .csv files, changed what needed to be changed, and hey presto – things were now as they should be!
No ‘plugin’ or ‘expert’ required.
Yesterday was the first time I’d gone to bed happy in months. Though I dreamt of databases and .csv files…
Anyway, still on the topic of ‘learning’, and still yesterday, I was chatting with three high-school girls about what they did to improve their English (watch TV series, mostly) and why, therefore, they bothered to come to the course each Thursday afternoon, when surely, at seventeen, they had better things to do?
Life has taught me that people often don’t have clear explanations for what they choose to do, or not to do. But also, to ask anyway! Which in this case helped me understand their needs and preferences, while also being conversation practice in itself.
The young women agreed – they could learn English on their own, as well as at school – but by attending the course they’d be forced to ‘interact’ in English, so speak and listen, which would likely not otherwise happen very often.
Useful to know that my approach to their class – spend an hour or so chatting, then the final thirty minutes on exam practice (so as to ‘justify’ the time spent in a less-structured way) – was more or less what they wanted, and valued.
The conversation, though, confirmed again what I already knew, and what you already know, what is blindingly obvious, and yet still useful to reflect on.
You can learn in your own way – they do it with TV series, I like radio and newspapers, you might enjoy grammar exercises and EasyItalianNews.com. Whatever, as it’s you that gets to make the decisions.
Or you can ‘put yourself in a position in which you expect learning to result’, so choosing to attend a course, move to the country where the language you’re learning is spoken, or forswearing broadcast media in your own language, in favour of online ‘full immersion’, so allowing your brain free rein to do its clever thing…
But what’s probably the ideal, especially at the eary stages, is to combine the two approaches – so do something structured, such as a course, AND immerse yourself, as far as is practicable, in the language you desire to acquire.
Obvious. Told you!
But that brings me back to where I began, struggling to reorganise stuff that I had not expected to have to change, knowing that if I didn’t do so the eventual result would be a horrible mess left for others, and so coping, or not coping, with many ‘one-time’ jobs, extended over a period of many months, some of them things that no one around would know how to help with.
And also to you, learning Italian or not, according to the decisions you have or haven’t made, your progress based on the time you have or haven’t put in, and the motivation you have or haven’t managed to tap into, then maintain.
Managers collect fat salaries, scheme to keep the cash flowing for as long as possible, and are eventually replaced.
Entrepreneurs struggle. We fail often, but might occasionallly succeed. When that happens, it’s in large part down to the decisions we’ve made and the time we’ve invested. Paychecks are more or less irrelevant.
Be the entrepreneur of your learning!
No one’s going to do it for you.
A lunedì, allora.
Here’s a final reminder regarding the half-price offer on this week’s very Christmassy, ‘eBook of the Week’, Natale a sorpresa.
Until Sunday night it’ll set you back just £3.99, whereas from Monday onwards it’s back to the usual ebook ‘easy reader’ price of £7.99.
Have you listened to/read Thursday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
Neither have I…
But I will.