Loving The Plateau

In many areas of our work, we can reach a plateau. We get stuck in a rut. We know we’re working hard, but it feels like we’re not moving forward.

For me, it’s the dreaded “intermediate” level plateau when studying languages. You can advance quite quickly through beginner’s level, but on reaching the intermediate level it’s difficult to move towards an advanced level and eventually mastery. 

I found this when I was studying Spanish at A Level. I feel the same now that I’ve been learning and studying German at uni for just over 2 years. The basics seem “easy” in comparison to when I started, yet I feel a long way off a confident level of “fluency”. I think I’ve been at this stage for around a year now. It’s hard. It’s demotivating.

But we need to learn to love the plateau.

It’s another season of the learning journey. It won’t last forever. As long as we persist – putting in the daily, hard work – it matters. It can be easy to give up at the plateau when we don’t feel like we’re improving. But this is the tipping point. We must persist and consistently challenge ourselves.

For my German, I need to practise speaking more. Ideally, with native speakers because I can’t travel and immerse myself in the country and the culture right now). I need to keep listening to podcasts, watching Youtube videos, reading the news, watching films. I can make daily choices to immerse myself more in the language. What I consume on Netflix, the music I listen to, the news I watch – it needs to be in German as much as I can.

Have you found ever reached a plateau in your work or knowledge about something? How did it feel?

How did you move beyond this point in the past? If you haven’t, how will strive to love the plateau?