When someone comes to me and wants to improve their language skill I firstly ask them WHY. As you know I am a huge believer that "Your English is good enough"(video link). And what it means for me is that: first: you should try to do the thing you are afraid to do with your current level of English and only after discovering what doesn't work, fix it.
So assuming you did the step one and you still want to improve your English, what next. Firstly, I ask you why you want to achieve what you want to achieve. We get caught up in all this development that does not result in anything. We get hyped buying new courses and acquiring new knowledge in our shopping carts, just to turn Netflix in our native language next time there is a chance to do something with those educational materials. That is why I start with the WHY question.
And do not get me wrong I am not looking here for some existential knowledge that will touch your whole being, you know, Simon Sinek style. What I am looking for are emotions. We as humans are incredibly beautiful creatures who optimized their brain for efficiency. Which means that if your brain, your mind is not hyped, if there is no fun and no thrill in it, your mind will discard any new activity that you put in its path. You can hate your brain all you want, but you know that it is true every time you are reaching for Cola in the shop and not for refreshing water. The hope of the thrill is there! Even if the thrill could possibly end in diabetes.
The question then is, how to hack it! How to hack your brain to do what you want it to do. In this example you are the board of the company and your brain is the CEO, Chief EXECUTIVE officer. It is in charge of what gets done. There are many ways to do that, but all of them are connected with emotions. You can get your brain afraid or excited, your choice.
I have a friend who started training like crazy after his grandmother had an accident and could not recover quickly. He made a decision that no matter what, he will be flexible when he is old to prevent such accidents. It worked out for him and now he also finds pleasure in his activities.
I have another friend. Every time he feels like he doesn't want to do his language exercise in Swedish imagines that he is walking into the shop in Sweden and talks to the shopping assistant. He is a very social person and as he envisions this scene he is overflown with emotions of connection and mutual understanding. This really gets his juices flowing as he opens the learning app.
What is your WHY then? What emotions you want to feel when you are using English? Do you want to feel inadequate, afraid to speak, shy and lacking confident? I think enough of that! Let's feel empowered, confident and brave! No matter whether you want to write a blog, speak on the conference, or maybe just share little more of you with your work colleagues. Choose the emotions you want to feel and you will soon gain new motivation to do that one more Duolingo exercise!
Words & Photos by Mathilde. Meme created with imgflip.com
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