There are many things that make learning a language difficult.
Take inspiration from stories of persistance and follow 3 tips to improve your resistance and reach your goals!
Never give up!
Learning a new language is never easy. Whatever your age or background, there are a number of factors working against you.
You know you need to practice, but you don’t have time.
You feel bad because other people you know speak the language better than you.
It`s so difficult to remember those words, and the grammar is really complicated.
Sometimes we just think that we will never be as good as we want to be. Why waste time and money trying to improve when it’s so difficult, BUT…. look at these examples of persistence – successful people who suffered but never gave up and now are world famous.
3 people, 3 facts – You try and match them up.
These are the famous people:
Walt Disney – the creator of Micky Mouse and the Disney Empire
Thomas Edison – the inventor of the electric light bulb, amongst other things
Jack Ma – Asia`s richest man and the founder of Alibaba
Listen to these facts and decide which one is about which of these people.
- He was fired for having no creativity and was so poor that he had to eat dog food.
- He was not allowed to go to school because his teachers thought he was mentally deficient.
- He was rejected by over 30 companies and tried to get into university 10 times. Each time he was told that he was not good enough.
Answers at the end of this podcast.
There have been many studies made into why some people are successful at learning a foreign language and others aren`t.
The factors include:
Your home background – Did you grow up in an environment where people spoke more than one language?
Teaching style – Is your teacher`s style or approach effective or not?
Motivation – How much do you want or need to learn the language?
Intelligence – Are you a clever learner with a good memory and ability to analyse and understand?
However important these factors are, none are as important as the ability to persevere and, in this podcast, I am going to give you some tips on how to improve your ability to persist and never give up.
- Involve other people in the process. It is much easier to learn a language if you are part of a group. The group could be you and your VivaLing coach, it could be you and your partner or children, you could participate in VivaLing group seminars or chat groups, or the group could be you and your workmates. The fact that you can practise together, share successes and talk about the obstacles you have to overcome is very important. If you start to feel like giving up, the support will keep you going.
- Look back at the success you have made. When we are learning a language, the improvement is gradual. Sometimes we feel frustrated. Am I better than I was 2 years ago? I`m going nowhere, so maybe I should stop. It`s not true, but you just don`t see it. It`s like watching children grow. Because you see them every day, sometimes you don`t notice the difference. Go back to one of your VivaLing classes from one year ago and watch the video again. Go back to a film you watched on Netflix two years ago and see if you can understand more this time. When you can see the progress you have made, it motivates you to improve more in the future.
- Focus on disciplined achievable steps. Your goal may be to become fluent in a new language, but this goal is too big. It will feel as if you will never get there. Climbing a mountain is not about reaching the peak. It`s about the next 5 steps. After that, you focus on the next five steps. Eventually you will reach the peak. It`s the same with language learning. Do something small today. Set yourself a target for today or this week. You decide the goal. Listen to a podcast, listen to a song and follow the lyrics, watch a film or 10 minutes of a film, or force yourself to think in the target language when you are cooking. And celebrate your goal by giving yourself a reward – maybe a nice chocolate – and by telling somebody what you have done.
I am sure that these simple steps will help you but listening to tips is not good enough. What are you going to do today, now? Get a piece of paper and write down three actions that you will take as a result of my tips.
Now, it’s time for us to go back to our question from the beginning of this podcast.
Which of these famous people, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison or Jack Ma,
- was fired for having no creativity and was so poor that he had to eat dog food?
- was not allowed to go to school because his teachers thought he was mentally deficient?
- was rejected by over 30 companies and tried to get into university 10 times?
The answers are ….
Walt Disney was fired for having no creativity and had to eat dog food.
Thomas Edison was sent home from school because his teachers thought he was mentally deficient.
And Jack Ma was rejected by 30 companies and 10 universities.
Curiously, Thomas Edison was sent home from school with a letter for his parents to read. His mother read it out to him. It said, “Your son is a genius. We can`t teach him here. You need to teach him at home or find another place for him.” Later, after his mother had died, Edison found the letter. In fact, it had said, “Your son is an idiot. We can`t teach him here,” but his mother had protected him and look how wrong his teachers were.
The message is, as the author Roy T. Bennet said, “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. All that matters is you get up one more time than you were knocked down.”
Thanks for listening to the VivaLing English podcast.
Credit photo: unsplash / Brett Jordan