Is this why you’re not motivated?
Why you need to repair your relationship with English today
Almost every student who is learning English is highly focused on the technical aspects of the language, the tiny details of grammar or vocabulary. And since English is probably the most researched and learned language in the history of the world, it means that there is an incredible amount of resources available to students, for free, to master all those technicalities. With such great advantages, learning English should be easy.
But there are two problems with this thinking.
The first problem is that language isn’t just a collection of technicalities. It is art.
The second problem is that learning is a human activity. It’s done by real people, who have real lives to navigate: work, family, health, the ups and the downs. And different people have different interests. No amount of content will help if you don’t have the only true learning tool: motivation.
And motivation is a very fragile thing, especially in adults, and especially if the activity is something that takes years to show results, like learning a language. It’s the reason that most people pay gym memberships, but never go to the gym.
And it’s the reason that many students fail to learn English, even though they have all the resources they could ever need.
What is your relationship with English?
Now is the moment for you to really examine your relationship with English. And when you ask yourself this question, be brutally honest. Your success depends on it.
How does the idea of studying English make you feel?
Do you still carry your negative experiences from your past: the typical diet of workbooks, memorisation, repetition, and testing? The classes you had at school? The courses you paid for and never finished? The exam you didn’t pass? The feeling of shame when you couldn’t participate in a conversation, even after years of study?
You have to repair your relationship with English before you have any chance at success. Why? Because nobody can make you learn. A teacher can show you things, but the decision to learn them is yours.
Success is not forever
In many cultures the idea of success is directly related to the idea of forever. If you write one book, and then you stop, you’re a failed writer. If you are a musician who only makes one album, you are a failed musician. And if you learn English at one point in your life, and then you stop, you are a failed learner. And this will be the word that you carry around in your head: failed.
But this is against the very essence of language. Language was created through necessity. When languages are no longer needed, they disappear. When things happen in your life, and you stop learning and using English, it’s because you don’t need it.
And that’s ok! Eliminate those feelings of guilt, and shame, and ‘wasted’ time and effort. You’re not a ‘bad’ learner, you’re just a human being. Forgive yourself.
Today’s the day to find your reason
If you’re reading this newsletter it means that you still have that spark: a deep, and maybe mysterious interest in English, and that is a special gift.
True language learning is when you use language as a tool to communicate about things you care about. This is something you can do with 100 words, or 10,000 words. But first you need a reason to communicate.
The Greek philosopher Epicurus said: “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”
I say: “We should look for someone to speak English with before learning to speak English.”