Everyone Makes Mistakes
Ok, not ok?
I say – yes, it is good to make mistakes, the best way to learn!
Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. I am no exception. I tell my own kids and students not to get so hung up on perfection. It is an elusive target. Moreover, it is boring, so perfect there is no character. Seek, instead, personal excellence.
Yet, I have seen many who tend to overdo competition. Back in my heyday, I remember this kid at school who wanted to be the best at everything: first in class, top debater, the fastest sprinter…the list was endless! The very few who come close to perfection will come to realise if it really was worth all that effort – and personal sacrifices along the way.
The daily educational rat race is only getting worse. Aiming for perfection is not necessarily effective action. Time and time again, I see how this leads to stunted growth, staying safe and not thinking out of the box. Learning is not just about acing school, but attaining a balance in life and getting the best YOU can be. So, go ahead, take a chance, make it a part of your learning process. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them and move on.
In Singapore, the psyche is very much about not losing face (Singlish: “kiasuism”). To ingratiate themselves, nobody wants to ask “stupid” questions. Then, how do we raise our intellect, unless we unabashedly ask questions? My daughter tells me how she feels butterflies when she passes by tuition centres; afraid to ask more questions for fear of being labelled. This has only reinforced my opinion that what may seem dense to one person will make sense to another. Thankfully, my daughter has moved on. So, I say seek clarification. You never know – the teacher’s pet may thank you for it.
Still, I see the lack of self-expression in local school kids, but one of conformance. You cannot be somebody else so why bother? When I first meet my tutees, I look for expression and flair, what needs tweaking and take steps to up their game.
If it is worth doing, or you have no choice but to take a subject – LIKE ENGLISH – you might as well as do your level best. All things being equal, it is your communication skills that will set you apart in this world. Remember to stay relevant, and express your thoughts with style.