One thing which I can say for myself is that I am not afraid to be foolish. In fact, I try to embrace this part of my personality, looking at it as an opportunity to learn. Once I have decided that it is okay to be silly in a situation, I enjoy myself, I don’t panic about how I am perceived, and I learn a lot more than I would if I was tense and guarded.
For instance, when I’m trying to learn Bosnian, I learn better by stumbling through a sentence and making countless grammatical errors than carefully planning a sentence in my head and saying a limited amount of words. If I act seriously when I speak in Bosnian, no one feels comfortable correcting my errors (which, believe me, are always present). However, by presenting myself in an open and cheerful manner, I can convey the message of, “Hey, I know I sound ridiculous right now, and if you can do anything to make me seem slightly more normal I’d be really grateful!”
I’ve also discovered that reading children’s books aloud very slowly and dramatically also helps me improve my pronunciation skills. In fact, I narrated the story of Simba and Mufasa to my friends Amila and Katie several weeks ago. This week I’ve advanced to Adventures with Nemo. Who knows how far I’ll go? Perhaps next week it’ll be Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
However, just because I assume a light-hearted attitude the majority of the time doesn’t mean that I don’t think seriously about life or the world. I worry about the upcoming U.S. election and try to follow international politics as closely as I can. My internet homepage is Al Jazeera’s website, so that I can see world news every day and stay informed. I am also a passionate feminist, environmentalist, humanist, and cellist. Moreover, I hope to study conflict resolution and the roles religion, ethnicity and gender have in peace-building.
All in all, I like to balance my life between serious thought and comical learning. My main point is that there is nothing wrong with being silly. As for an everyday attitude, an optimistic one seems to work well. I think I will do all in my power to maintain that.
“Those who are clever, who have a Brain, never understand anything.” ~ The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne