Trust What You Already Know

I’m taking a Spanish class right now. I’ve been meaning to do so for ages. I studied Spanish for five years in junior high and high school but—like most people who only studied in school—I never did get fluent in the language or comfortable with my skills.

Our teacher has been encouraging us to turn off the translator in our minds and just listen. Listen to the context of a sentence or conversation, listen for what we do know. If we don’t recognize a word, rather than saying it in English, in Spanish she tells us its opposite word or compares it to something else. The point behind her method is to help us arrive at the answer by accessing our current knowledge.

My teacher has let me sit in on the advance conversation group on Zoom a few times. Because everyone is talking fast, I don’t have time to try to translate. All I can do is listen with as much confidence as I can muster, and I’m surprised how much I can actually follow.

A friend and I were talking shop this week and this topic came up, because oftentimes when many of us need to make a decision regarding our art or business, we go straight to the analytical parts of our brains. We try to recall the “rules” of business or the playbooks we’ve read or the advice we’ve been given. We chart the data or create spreadsheets for the tasks. We strategize into the future a bit to decide if the idea has legs. We talk to peers and get their opinions. We bust our brains trying to figure out the right course of action rather than first trying to see how much context we can gather just from letting the idea flow.

Are you failing to trust what you already know?

by Teresa R. Funke

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