In this episode I chat to you guys about changing your attitude when trying to do well in any given field. I argue that the best attitude to have is to look for reasons to say yes instead of excuses to say no.
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Walking With Pete: Look For Reasons To Say Yes Instead Of Excuses To Say No
G’day guys and welcome tot his episode of Walking With Pete.
Tonight I have just got home after I finished work. I went for a bit of a skate and as you may or may not know I’ve taken up the hobby of skateboarding again to see if I can apply the language learning approaches that I use and make the… methodology that I kind of put forth to learn languages, and apply that to skateboarding, and skateboarding was something that I absolutely loved as a kid. I always loved skating in the street with my mates and going to the skate park after school or on weekends and just spending a lot of time, a lot of hours there, bumming around, hanging out with friends and not doing a lot of anything apart from skating a little bit. And so, yeah, I decided to take that back up recently and it’s been a lot of fun. I haven’t really taken any big stacks yet. So, “a stack” is like a fall. If you take “a stack” usually on something like a bike or a skateboard, skiing, snowboarding, it tends to be when you fall on land. So, you wouldn’t really stack when surfing I don’t think but if you were riding a bike or riding a sta… uh skateboard and you fell over you could say you’ve taken “a stack”. “I’ve taken a stack”, “I’ve had a stack”, “I’ve stacked”. So, it can be a verb as well. “I um… I don’t want to stack today when I’m riding”. Anyway, I haven’t stacked yet. I haven’t had a big fall. I haven’t injured myself, which has been encouraging, it’s been good. So, that’s been pretty fun but for the most part at the moment I’m just trying to work on the basics and correct a lot of errors that I… that I acquired as a kid when I was skating and I didn’t really have any… have any friends to give me, you know, advanced advice. I didn’t really have any friends who were really really really good skaters, and knew proper technique and could break things down and give you a really good explanation for things, and I think this is where it kind of ties into language learning because, you know, you can just thrust yourself into a language, you can just throw yourself in, dive in the deep end as we say in English, you know, without any explanation for grammar and slowly over time as you speak the language and learn just through exposure you pick up the grammatical rules passively like you would in your maternal language. You don’t necessarily learn them specifically, explicitly, you don’t have them lined out for you, you don’t have them broken down and explained, but I feel like this approach is a little quicker. If you focus on an explanation for a concept, say a grammatical concept in… in a language and you nail it, you do really well at that grammatical concept, you practice it, you focus on it, you master it, and then move onto the next one, I feel like this is a much quicker way of advancing in a field, in a… in a language, in skateboarding, in any kind of pursuit that you are interest in mastering. If you do it like this where you master a specific area of that chosen field, that chosen area that you’re interested in, whether it’s skating or whether it’s language learning, it’s… it’ll get you a lot further a lot quicker. So, that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment with skateboarding. So, for an example, I… I used to have the wrong foot on the board when I was pushing with the other foot on the… on the ground to get moving. And so I’m trying to correct that and I have to use the other foot. And so it feels very unnatural for me but if I can do this it’ll advance my skating a lot quicker than if I were to just do what I used to and focus on my old bad habits. So, that’s what I’m doing at the moment. I’m focusing on just riding, getting good at balance, getting good at being able to push, go fast, get over cracks, you know, not fall over. So, just negotiate obstacles, get around obstacles. I’ve been doing that for the last week. [I’ve] been playing around a little bit with the Ollie, which is where you just jump the board up in the air. So, no… no real trick it’s just you get the board off the ground into the air. That’s an Ollie. So, I’ve been focusing on just riding and getting my proper Ollie technique down. So, like I would for learning a grammatical rule in a language I would go away, I would search YouTube video[s] or look up a textbook and try and find an explanation as to when and how I can use this, say, a tense conjugation, etc. in English. When to say “I would do something” as opposed to saying “I will do something”. So, I look for the videos for skateboarding and how to… how to push off, how to better ride, how to position your feet, how to better Ollie, how to position your feet while you’re ollieing and how to practice the techniques of ollieing etc. and I’m trying to just get the basics of that down. And I noticed, I put a video up and I noticed that straight after having looked at a little video that broke down how to Ollie better and breaking it down into several parts, each of which you can practice, I practiced all of those parts on their own and then I put them together to do the Ollie and I found even within five minutes, ten minutes, my Ollie had significantly improved. I’d learnt to Ollie a lot better just from having broken it down, practice the little bits in isolation like conjugating a verb tense in English. You practice each of them on their own so that when you actually have to use it in real life in a fluid dynamic conversation with someone it just happens naturally and you don’t have to pause and think, ah… etc.
Anyway, so that’s what’s happening with skating at the moment. [I’m] just sort of trying to see how I’ll go. I don’t know what’ll happen in the future but that’s where I am at the moment. Aside from that, what did I want to talk about today? I guess oh… it’s still tied in with the skateboarding, but the main theme of today’s episode was look for reasons to say yes and not excuses to say no. So, look for reasons to say yes and not for excuses to say no. Ah… what do I mean by this? I guess, this… this came to my mind when I was skating to and from work, and there’s a lot of uneven ground, there’s a lot of nice flat ground on the way to work, a lot of nice footpaths and roads that are really really smooth, so they’re really flat, smooth, they’re nice to ride on, they’re good to skate on, but then they’re often broken up by parts or paths that are really uneven, that are really bumpy and it’s really really hard to skate on. And so, whilst at the moment I’m just trying to work on ah… my riding abilities I keep telling myself, or at least I did keep telling myself at the start, maybe I won’t ride to…to work because there’s too many of these little areas where it’s too bumpy ground and I have to keep getting off the board, walking for a bit, then getting on the board, then getting off the board, then getting on the board, etc. etc. etc., maybe it’s easier if I just don’t skate, take it to work, and then skate when I get to work. But, that’s looking for an excuse to say no, an excuse not to skate, when… when I really thought about it I thought look it’s going to take a little more effort in that I’m going to have to put the board down, get on it, get off it, carry it, get on it, get off it, carry it, but every single time I do that, even if it’s for 100 metres, 200 metres at a time where I get to ride and I get to fool around, you know, practice my balance, it all adds up. It all adds up. So, I need to look for reasons to say yes instead of excuses to say no especially in the cases like this where it’s not a matter of a lot of effort, you know, putting down the board and skating a few 100 metres at a time and then getting off and carrying it for a bit, putting it down again, it’s a little bit of effort but it’s not enough to justify saying no. It’s not a big enough excuse for me to justify not riding the board. And by doing this, by riding the board, it all adds up. So, if I do this ten times over 100 metres on the way to work that’s a kilometer total, right? And maybe it’s five minutes, maybe it’s ten minutes all up on the board, and if I do that twice a day that’s an extra twenty minutes that I’ve practiced my riding, I’ve practiced, you know, my balance, my pushing, all of that that I otherwise would not have had the chance to do if I had made an excuse and said no I’m not going to ride on these little bits ‘cause it takes a bit more effort to do and I’ll just ride when I can when the environment’s perfect. So, I guess it’s like that. Don’t always wait for things to be perfect because a lot of the time suboptimal conditions, so that means conditions that aren’t perfect, for practice still add up. They still help you improve. So, it all adds up in the end and it all makes you closer to your goal of mastering the skill than if you were to accept that poor excuse to say that it’s too hard, I’m going to wait until things are perfect, you know. If a surfer only ever when out for a surf every time the weather was absolutely perfect, and the waves were absolutely perfect, he’d probably only surf ten days a year, maybe less. Whereas, if he says look I’m probably not going to catch any amazing waves today, I’m probably going to fall off a lot. I’m not going to be able to stay on these waves. They’re awful. The weather’s a bit off but I’m going to get out there and I’m going to do what I can. He’s going to learn how to paddle. He’s going to get better at riding crappy waves. He’s going to get a lot of time out there in suboptimal conditions where he may surf 100 days in the year as opposed to only ten. So ultimately, at the end of that year I think it’s a lot better to be the guy who finds the reasons to say yes and goes out in suboptimal conditions to practice, and in the context of language learning this could be going to a pub and speaking when it’s really loud and it’s hard to hear people, you know, and you want to have a conversation but it’s not… there’s not perfect silence behind you so you can’t hear every single word, you can’t hear the pronunciation of the person, you can’t hear the way that they’re conjugating verbs, it’s not perfect. It’s suboptimal, and it is easy to say well look it’s too hard. The conditions aren’t right. I would much rather find a one on one situations with someone in perfect silence where I can hear everything. But as I said with the surfer if you wait for those kinds of conditions often they don’t come or they come very rarely and so you’re going to spend a lot of time doing nothing as opposed to practicing in suboptimal conditions, which still helps you move towards your goal of mastering whatever it area, whatever field it is that you are interested in pursuing. And I guess also it’s nice to have small… small parts, small portions of the day where you do things like this as opposed to waiting for big chunks. So, practicing a language ten minutes a day, half an hour a day, is often a lot better if you can do this every day than practicing for two hours once a week on the weekend, even if the two hours adds up to more time than you would’ve done if you’d done ten minutes a day, it’s a lot better to do it more often for shorter periods of time than less often for longer periods of time. And I feel like this is what I’m trying to do at the moment with skating where on the way to work I am choosing, you know, doing a lot of little… you know, one, two minute skates on nice areas, and I take a break, I let my feet recover, my legs recover, and then I do it again, I take a break, let me feet recover, do it again, etc. etc. etc., and it all builds up, it all adds up at the end of the day. And I think a really good analogy for this is Lucas Lampriolli [Luca Lampariello*], I think that’s how you pronounce it, the polyglot Lucas Lampriolli [Luca Lampariello*] that some of you may or may not know on YouTube has an analogy where he… he likens learning a language to fluency to filling a bucket a drop at a time. And so, you can see that a bucket doesn’t get filled all at once. It takes time and if you drop one drop of water in there constantly once a day the bucket will eventually get filled and you’re going to improve at a steady rate effectively. Whether it’s language learning or skating. If I do a little bit every day the bucket will fill itself in the end. So, I felt like that was a really good analogy and that’s what I’m trying to apply here with skating.
And I think too, one last note before I finish up this episode, it’s so much better to have that kind of attitude towards life and towards things that you’re trying to improve upon, that you’re trying to… to gain, to master, whatever it is in your life if you have that kind of psychological attitude towards things where you say I’m going to find a reason to say yes and not an excuse to say no. So, you get confronted with a situation that may not be perfect, that could be suboptimal, and instead of saying straight away nup too hard, too hard, as we say in English, or as we say in Australia, “Too hard basket” which means you’ve… you’ve straight away put that thing in a basket with “Too hard” written on it. So, we say “we put it in the too hard basket”. Instead of putting it in the too hard basket straight away because it looks too difficult, and that’s your instant reaction, if you work on trying to find a reason to put it in the “it’s hard but I’ll try it” or “it’s hard but I’ll do it” basket, you’re going to get a lot more done, you’re going to feel a lot better about yourself, and ultimately you’re going to advance a lot further in whatever field it is. And so, I feel like that at the moment with languages where I’m constantly trying to find how do I squeeze more in the day, how do I do more? Like, I could not skate this little bit of path because it doesn’t look perfect, but at the same time if I do skate it that’s twenty seconds, that’s a minute, that’s ten minutes more that I get to put onto my um… list of experience with regards to skating. The same with language learning and podcasts, listening to podcasts. Am I going to be on the tram for ten minutes, or am I going to be going for a walk for ten minutes? Screw it. I’ll put the podcast in. I’ll listen to whatever language podcast I’m listening to to work on my French, to work on my English, and bam that adds up. That’s another ten minutes on the sheet of my language experience. So, it all adds up. It’s a lot better to look at life that way, to find reasons to do things, to find reasons to say yes. Do little bits and pieces. It all adds up. You feel great about yourself. Whereas, I feel like if you find excuses to constantly say no nothing will… will ever get done and you get yourself in a cycle where you’re going to feel depressed, you’re going to feel useless, you’re not going to feel like you can achieve anything or that you have achieved anything when you’ve been waiting the whole time for the perfect conditions to come and they haven’t come. Whereas, if you’d been practicing in suboptimal conditions you would still have something to show for your effort at the end of the day.
So, that’s probably enough for today’s episode guys. Just remember try and find reasons to say yes to whatever it is that you guys are working on, to whatever it is in life even if it’s seeing your family or going out, as opposed to trying to find excuses to say no. It’s a better way of thinking. It’s a better psychology to have. It’s a better way of looking at the world. Chat to you soon guys. All the best.