I work with a young man who immigrated from Venezuela to the United States last year. It was a big transition for him and he knew minimal English when he arrived here in our beautiful country.

If I didn’t know English, well, I wouldn’t have applied for a server position, but hey, I guess he was either brave or desperate, and sure enough he got out there and started taking tables.

It was funny watching him at first. That sounds bad, but the guy would say some hilarious things and I couldn’t help but to laugh. What I respected though, was his persistence. He never gave up and most importantly, he was never afraid to ask me questions.

Every shift he’d sneak into the sushi bar and ask me , “Paul, how do I say…?” Whatever it was that he didn’t understand he asked me about it whether or not it embarrassed him, and I believe that is how he developed a strong hold on the English language. He would ask the experts.

I recognized what he was doing and how much he was improving and saw that I could be asking more questions too.

Now, if I have a question about Spanish, which I am currently learning, I ask my coworkers who would know. If I don’t know something about sushi I ask my fellow chefs to see if they would know. If I don’t understand something in jujutsu, then I ask my coach or fellow students and I learn.

That’s the thing, if you don’t ask, you won’t know. Sure, you could wait for the answer to come to you or you could look it up, but I think the best way to go about it is to ask the experts and get direct teaching and experience.

If you’re learning a language or whatever it is you’re interested in and you’re too afraid to ask questions and to apply what you’re learning, then the reality is that you’re not going to improve.

I used to heard my coworkers say something in Spanish and I would try to figure out what it meant with context clues. Often I’d have to make a guess or wait until the next time I heard it to make yet a second and hopefully more accurate guess.

The problem with that method is it takes way to long! I was learning at a snails pace and then I would see Miguel taking initiative and asking questions, and I realized how much more superior his method was and so I took it as my own.

It’s really not that bad, and once you have a firm grasp of what you’re learning you’ll see the value of of being vulnerable and asking questions, and it won’t phase you as much. The joy of mastery will eventually be more powerful then the fear of vulnerability and asking questions will excite you.

So if you’re learning a language or skill or whatever it is you’re interested in, then ask the experts questions. I have seen the direct results of this method of learning and I can vouch for its effectiveness.

Now get out there and ask questions!



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