More Than Just Sufficient

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   by Edward    Leave a comment  →

A thought come to mind on my last travels to Canada.

All of these immigrants, even though they’ve been here ten, twenty years, they speak horrible English. Don’t mind the grammars, just the accents and basic word pronounciations, horrible.

And we’ve heard it in Singapore, Malaysia, and of course, here in Indonesia.

But ten years living in a English-speaking culture? That should give you a plenty of time to learn the language to be indistinguishable from the locals. Heck, even two, three years is enough without any crazy effort. But instead we keep hearing, “Haw meni yu wan? Tu flied nudel. Oke.”

Why is this?

I just realized we humas have this ugly mindset:

“I’ll learn something. But just until it is sufficient.”

When it comes from zero to sufficient, we’re eager learners.

We don’t know how to speak English, so we learn and take classes until we can sufficiently live in an English-speaking country. We can order food, buy groceries, attend college.

We cannot drive, so we take lessons and eagerly to hit the streets just until we can drive safely to where we need to go.

We don’t know how to take pictures, so we learn and practice until we can shoot a wedding sufficiently. Just until the boss is okay with our work, until the clients stopped calling to complain.

We learn and practice from zero until what it takes to get the job done. Then we stopped.

For many, many of us, we stopped learning and have the mindset to keep on practicing to be better.

All the while, we can learn to speak, pronounce and accentuate good, excellent: “How many would you like Sir? Two fried noodles? That’s wonderful. Coming right up!” I’ll give you ten years.

All the while we can learn to drive better. To accelerate and break smoothly. To make elegant turns. To drive smartly, using the clutchs and pedals effectively, saving the maintenance costs and gas bills.

All the while we can continue to learn and practice new photography projects, attend classes, push boundries, learn new lighting, trying new, better stuff for our clients, and making sure today’s photoshoot must be better than yesterday’s.

I’m not saying we need to learn all the skills we came into contact with.

It’s just the everyday stuff that you can better effortlessly.

That’s why the bad English cought my mind. It’s the language you speak everyday for the past ten years. Why wouldn’t you want to learn and practice to say it properly? I would. I would be indistinguisable from your average Canadian bloke after living there for ten years. Heck I’ll learn all the local accents I came to contact with.

I can tell you this: If continuous learning is the attitude you have in your life, more than just berely-just-sufficient attitude, you will stick out like a tall tree amongst the grass, because so few people are doing it.

Would you try that?

Everytime they go on jobs/projects, I always say to my teams: “Doing it often doesn’t automatically mean you’re learning and you’re doing it better.

It’s just that: often.”

Would you do more than just often?

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