Today’s post is going to be a quick but hopefully powerful post about the kind of mindset you need to have in order to achieve your various language learning goals. This is lesson is an extension of the rule You will learn the language you need.
Get Rid of that Safety Net – Did you know that research has found that bikers that wear helmets bike less safely? They assume that this safety device will keep them safe and it causes them to act differently. A lot of times when we head out to accomplish something in our target language we have some one a long who speaks more of the language just in case. We are sure we we should not need them but just in case we get ourselves into some trouble they will be there. And this like the bike helmet changes how we act. Have you ever noticed that every time you build in this kind of safety net, you need it? You are planning to need this help. We need to go out and have to achieve this on our own. No more taking a better language speaker with us just in case. No more asking the person if they know any English just in case.
And Ditch that plan B – A lot of times we have a back up plan. If this doesn’t work out I can always do something else. We say things like I can set a different goal, learn a different language, or get around with out it. These back up plans have to go. To learn by immersion you have to buy in completely. You are not testing the waters with your toe. You are jumping in headfirst. It is this kind of mind set that will take any and everything and turn them into a language learning activity.
You need desperation – Finally I think every language learner needs a little desperation to inspire more learning. We need awkward silent dinners with people we can’t communicate with. We need things we really want to speak to friends but we have no idea how. We need to be stuck in stores or out in public where people are yelling trying to communicate something to you that you cannot get. This is what will cause you to figure out what is happening and to try and learn. And as great as a smart phone can be typing everything you see or hear into a translator is kind of the opposite of desperation.
What I am trying to say here is we as language learners need some trial by fire. It sounds hard because it is.