Does this sound familiar? Well, if you're a human, then it probably does. This type of thinking is why most people quit trying to learn English.
When something is hard, we usually think it's our fault.
When faced with a challenge, we often think, "I'm not smart enough. There is something wrong with me."
To make matters worse, we don't stop there. We take this one problem and blow it out of proportion. Now, we say, "I'm too stupid to learn anything."
Of course, we continue to pity ourselves and think, "I'll never be able to learn anything new."
In short, when faced with challenges, we tend to be pessimistic.
The thing is, when you find something difficult, the reason is never that you're not capable. It is most likely that you a) need some help and/or b) need to study more.
Learning English is not a question of how smart you are.
Plenty of smart people never learn another language.
What's truly important is building a daily practice habit that challenges you to get out of your comfort zone and the patience to continue it, even when things are hard or when you don't see immediate progress.
This is where deliberate practice comes in. Deliberate practice is when you do things that are beyond your current level.
Imagine that you're learning to play the piano, and you're currently capable of playing songs with your right hand alone. It's much harder when you add your left hand.
What do you think is more likely to help you get better? Playing 100 songs with only your right hand or playing just two songs with both hands?
When learning English, we typically take the "play 100 songs with our right hand" approach.
We passively watch hours of TV, listen to podcasts, or read to get a general idea of what is happening but ignore all the hard parts of what we consume.
We talk to people using what we've already learned but can't use anything new because it's too hard to remember new things in a fast conversation.
Why do we do this? Because it's easier and more satisfying. Understanding 70% of a TV show is enough to make us feel good about our English, and it's entertaining.
Spending 10 minutes repeating sentences out loud is painful and reminds us that we still have more to learn.
Improving your English is hard because you experience all the pain now, but all the satisfaction is in the future.
I know that deliberate practice is the best way to improve and that it will feel hard. With that in mind, I work with you personally to give you the support you need to persevere even when things are difficult.
I'll guide you through real-life presentations, demos, sales calls, and meetings so you know what to practice every day, how to do it, and finally see progress.
In other words, you won't be alone. 🧡
How to say goodbye to pessimism
Now that you know it's not your fault English is hard, and everyone experiences these types of doubts, you can do something about it.
The next time you don't understand how a word is used, think, "this is hard. Let's try to use it again and see if we get it right this time."
The next time you think you're simply bad at languages, think about how far you've already come. (After all, you're able to understand most of what I'm saying.)
The next time you think you'll never improve, think, "this feels hard now, but if I keep practicing, it will eventually feel easy."