Breaking Through: World Records, Language Learning and the Power of Self Belief

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Thomas BachmanАнглийский
26 января 2018 г.
264
2 минуты
Where do you start when you want to learn another language? I'd like to put forth that it isn't where a lot of people might think. Not with this book or that website, but it's within you; it's your mindset.

Why is this so important?

For people that are just beginning their journey into a second language, they can fail before they even begin. Let me explain through a true story about the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes.

For a long time, it was considered not only dangerous but literally impossible to run a mile in under 4 minutes. That was until in 1954 a man by the name of Roger Bannister shattered that mental construct for the world.

What Bannister realized and did differently was that he began visualizing himself breaking that 4-minute marker. He truly made himself believe that he could do it. The key was he focused on the mental side just as much as he focused on his physical side, maybe even more.


This in and of itself is interesting, but what's even more interesting is that after he broke this  ("impossible") feat, it seemed all the top guys could do it. Within just a couple of years, after he broke the record that no one had ever broken in all of recorded human history, 37 more people broke it too.

Why did this happen? Most of the runners contemporary to Bannister hadn't worked on the mental side of the equation as much as was needed, but, when Bannister broke the 4-minute mark it made those runners think "i'm a runner, if Roger can do it, surely I can do it". They also started believing. This thought is really powerful, in any activity, but also (and maybe especially) with language learning.

Many language learners hold an unshaken belief that they are not "language people", but they still want to brute force it, for a job or test or whatever it may be. They think that it is substantially harder for them to learn another language than it is for other people. I think this is total b.s.

I have a parallel with Bannister's story in my own life. I'm the youngest in my family. Growing up I saw my sister live for a year abroad in Belgium. About 8 months into the year we went as a family to visit her and I was absolutely amazed. She had gotten really good at French in those 8 months. As a 9-year-old I wasn't sure what to make of it, but I thought it was cool that she could speak in this 'code' called French.

The following summer she went to Germany to be a counselor for a summer camp. When she came back she was speaking German. 3 - 4 months and she was already really good.

This pattern kept going and she's never looked back. I'm not even sure exactly how may languages she speaks now, maybe 9 or so to varying degrees.

People used to be so amazed by her, to the point where it started annoying me. It made me have that same thought that those other runners had "if she can do it, surly I can do it".

When I was 15 I did a similar exchange program, but I went to Brazil. I had absolutely no doubt that after a year I would come home speaking fluent Portuguese. That's exactly what happened.

Many of the native English speakers that were also doing the same exchange program didn't learn nearly as much Portuguese as I did.

This isn't to boast, but more so to highlight the fact that I don't believe I was any smarter than other students there, it was just the fact that I truly believed I could do it and my actions mapped that belief. I believe you can do the same thing too with your language goals.

If you genuinely believe you can do something you act a whole lot differently than if you don't believe you can.

Don't start with a book or a podcast, start with your mindset and don't underestimate its power and significance to your success!

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Thomas

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Английский
globe
США
time
Новинка!
Английский
Родной
,
Португальский
C2
,
Испанский
B2
,
Французский
B1
,
Вьетнамский
A2
Hey everyone! My name is Tom and I'm from the U.S. I really enjoy learning new languages and the culture that is in them. I like to share my own culture and world view when I teach English as well, but also learn more about yours. I have a bachelor's degree in Communication and minors in Portuguese and Economics. I also have a TEFL certification, with distinction. My teaching style? I want to squeeze as much value out of our teaching time together, but not get overwhelmed either. I think lots of speaking/ listening is a great goal of an online class because it's the hardest to do on your own! Of course reading and writing have their place too, but I want to hear you speak! When I approach a new language I try and break it down into small pieces to focus on, and then work at manipulating those pieces until I feel I've grasped them and can expand. I believe in letting your curiosity guide you to learn what interests you most so I try to work with students to create an interesting curriculum to work through, based on their interests.
Flag
Английский
globe
США
time
Новинка!
Английский
Родной
,
Португальский
C2
,
Испанский
B2
,
Французский
B1
,
Вьетнамский
A2
Hey everyone! My name is Tom and I'm from the U.S. I really enjoy learning new languages and the culture that is in them. I like to share my own culture and world view when I teach English as well, but also learn more about yours. I have a bachelor's degree in Communication and minors in Portuguese and Economics. I also have a TEFL certification, with distinction. My teaching style? I want to squeeze as much value out of our teaching time together, but not get overwhelmed either. I think lots of speaking/ listening is a great goal of an online class because it's the hardest to do on your own! Of course reading and writing have their place too, but I want to hear you speak! When I approach a new language I try and break it down into small pieces to focus on, and then work at manipulating those pieces until I feel I've grasped them and can expand. I believe in letting your curiosity guide you to learn what interests you most so I try to work with students to create an interesting curriculum to work through, based on their interests.

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