There are so many people who struggle to learn languages or who just progress too slowly. One of the key factors that define these people is that their passion for language learning is low. Maybe they are keen, but their experience just keeps turning them off. What many people don’t realise is that you are more likely to get to your goal easier and faster if you have a passion for learning the language.
The bulk of energy in our life comes from our emotions and feelings, not from our intellect. Just compare the energy you had when you met “the love of your life”. How much sleep did you need then? Compare that to being with someone you find somewhat attractive – that is not going to give you much energy at all. It’s exactly the same in learning a language (or doing anything for that matter that requires your energy). Passion will give you the energy to get to where you want to be and make you do things that otherwise you wouldn’t do. With all areas where people become outrageously successful, passion was identified as a key ingredient.
Struggling to express yourself in a second language is for most people something that does not come naturally! It will take some time before you can express yourself as easily in a second language as in the first. It’s the passion that will keep you going in a way that will keep you focused and positive.
You may say that you have some passion for learning the language you have chosen …or maybe none… Well if you haven’t got a lot, my suggestion is that you go and get some more! It’s not something you can buy at the corner shop, but it is something that you can do something about if you want to. The critical thing is “if you want to”!
There are ways to come to passion. One is more to do with what the language can give you. And the other is more to do with the experience of learning itself.
I will provide one possible way that may work to build your passion in the first of the ways. Don’t rush or skip over this exercise as you will be doing yourself a great disservice. If you really want to take your learning to the next level give yourself some time to go through the technique below. Whatever happens, I can assure you that you will gain greater clarity over your life. In addition, the distinct possibility exists that you will find a new sense of purpose to your language learning. This change, as I have been explaining in these pages, is a gold mine.
Firstly, you need to sit down in a chair and take a few minutes to really reflect on how important it is for you to learn this language. Take some time over this. You may feel a strong urge, maybe nothing really, or you may be somewhere in between.
Having done that, I suggest you now:
Take out a piece of paper and write down all the reasons why you want to learn the language. It’s important here to be clear about the level you want to achieve. Maybe you were told to by your boss, maybe you emigrated to another country, maybe …etc etc. These are all good reasons that contribute to you finding what are your main drivers, the reasons that provide the zing. In this list, there will be a few that are the ones that will fire you up. So once you have put down all the reasons (and make sure you have done that!) … go on to the next step.
Write down, on another piece of paper, 100 ways ( yes, 100!) how your life would improve if you learned this language to the level you want to get to. You may well find this task challenging but you will find that the more improvements you write down the more compelling will be your reason to learn this language. One reason per line!
Think of the doors it would open to new friends, career, travel, be able to help your children, be respected, be more independent, have more self-worth, etc etc. Keep going…it might take some time to get the list to 100. Ask friends and family about what they think if you get stuck ( don’t tell them what you are doing… just ask them over coffee as part of a conversation; Google the question if need be, etc)
Once you have done that, go through the list and asterisk the ones that really mean something to you, that make you feel a bit of a buzz or a slight quickening when you read it. Spend some time again on these few and reflect on how your life would be different and let the positive feeling permeate you. What will you feel when these changes manifest in your life?
Now write these outcomes down on a small card and carry them with you in your bag or wallet etc and look at them as often as you can and visualize/ feel how your life would be different when these outcomes happen. Do this at least once a day, two if you can manage it.
Passion for something comes because we identify with the object of our passion so much that we can’t really see our life without it. It’s like we are drawn towards it from the very essence of who we are. We get energy from what we are drawn to and that energy enables us to work harder, stay up later, do the things we thought weren’t possible before. This exercise is designed to help you find that connection and stimulate and grow that energy.
It may well be possible that out of this exercise you may decide that really learning this language may not be what you want to do right now. That’s fine too. Better that than waste your time doing something which really is not in your best interests to do … at this point in time … and then you find yourself frustrated and unhappy about your progress.
If you haven’t started yet, do it now. Nothing like the now to get things started. If the time or space is not there to do it now, write it down in your diary as an appointment with yourself. It will be one of your best appointments! Then you will be surprised how your language learning passion starts to increase.
The other way we can come to passion is through how we learn. This is possibly more important than the first way as even if we start off with passion that can come to naught if the way we are learning is turning us off! Just consider the teenagers who endlessly play video games. They are passionate about it as the experience itself is so rewarding. That is what you need to find in learning languages. The trouble is that so many ways of learning language, in fact, do the exact opposite. So you need to find ways of learning that you are drawn the to…that way you can start to grow your language learning passion. In many other posts ( I have linked to 3 in this paragraph, for your convenience) here you will read that you can come to it in many ways. Do spend some time on getting to better understand this as your results will depend upon it.