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Episode 11: Staying Motivated

So, catastrophic thinking is when you think 'oh I already did something bad... I'm going to keep going..."

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Episode 11: Staying Motivated

All right! All right welcome everyone thank you for listening again to this episode from Sound Practice Language Learning. Apologies! Sorry! It’s been so long since I’ve recorded anything. Life has been a little bit busy. I’ve just been thinking how doing this podcast is like language learning. Actually, you know when you decide to start learning a language, in your case English I guess, maybe this was you once? You decided: hey I’m going to start learning English. And then… or other people decided for you and who knows… iBut there were some points where you were really serious about learning, and you put in a lot of effort, and then other times you know you lose that motivation. And you can blame life you can blame external things, like too busy with work, you don’t feel like it, other things you want to do with your free time besides language learning. Sometimes you feel like you’re not making progress, you’re just doing the same thing again and again. And I’ve really experienced that with language learning, especially with different languages I’ve tried to learn, and also with this podcasting. Going through and making a script, I don’t know if anyone’s actually reading it. That takes a lot of time I am feeling a bit motivated though because something like 500 people have listened to the podcast, so I think I’ll keep going.

Maybe today I’ll just not talk about one story, I’ll talk about my own experience learning languages and how I’ve felt this kind of feeling like I’m going to give up. Well the first language I started off with was French, and I still can’t speak French very well. I can speak other languages better than French, but I’ve come back to it every few years. I mainly focus on reading. I can’t usually find people really motivated to practice speaking with me. Well, I’ve even given up on French a few times, and then I’ve come back to it. Spanish was the next language. I’m probably strongest in Spanish, actually. It was easy in the beginning and then it got difficult, and then other languages I wanted to learn. And then I abandoned… I gave up on Spanish for the time being. Just recently I started learning Spanish. Re-learning it. Or not re-learning it… I could already speak it like an intermediate. But I was trying to push to be more advanced. Just the other month I was watching Netflix. I watched a few series in Netflix—on Netflix—and I read a book and I was listening to Game of Thrones, Juego de tronos, in Spanish, and you know from George RR Martin. And that’s a good 30-40 hours for each book. I improved a lot, I think. But the speaking ability and even the writing ability… that’s so slow.

It’s so easy to get discouraged and there’s something called catastrophic thinking. You know, like catastrophe, like something really bad… Catastrophic thinking… This is what people on a diet, when they’re trying to lose weight, they have this catastrophic thinking and this happens with language learning too. And in my case, making the podcast… So, catastrophic thinking is when you think oh I already did something bad I’m I’m gonna keep going on… I’m going to go ahead. And, so if you’re on a diet, you have maybe one piece of cake or something… a chocolate bar and then you decide I’ve already had one, I’ll just have another one. My diet is ruined. And that catastrophic thinking makes it so you go deeper and deeper into the hole, or further and further away from your goal. So, I think catastrophic thinking with language learning is probably that… thinking that you aren’t making progress, and then that stops you from putting in as much time as you could with your language learning. With me the catastrophic thinking with the podcast was just thinking nobody cares… nobody wants to listen… and not doing it. Ah, I’m going to do it! And not have catastrophic thinking, and just put myself out there. Like with language learning. So, same thing with you. You should put yourself out there a bit more with language learning.

In fact, there’s someone who made me think about putting myself out there a lot and, he just recently passed away. Actually his name was Moses McCormick. So, Moses McCormick lived in Ohio in the United states in Akron, I believe, in that city. So Moses McCormick was very popular on YouTube and he was really famous for learning many many many languages to a conversational level, and making lots of friends, and practicing speaking, making YouTube videos. He’s got over one million subscribers on his YouTube channel… really famous guy. Anyways, I think from a heart condition or of some heart problem… he passed away regrettably. Very very at a very young age… and I was just thinking about him right before I made this podcast episode. And I think that people like him, people who put themselves out there and make videos of themselves speaking a language, connecting with people who speak languages… We can learn from those people, and put ourselves forward, and not be scared of people thinking less of us, and we will do well. I think so.

I’m putting myself out there right now with this podcast. And talking about my own experiences with language learning, and I hope that you will continue to do that. Look at my YouTube channel. You can find it if you look for a Sound Practice Language Learning. If you search for that on YouTube, you’ll find me. Also, I put the link in the description below and you can come and check it out. You can see myself trying to speak Vietnamese and a few other languages on there… not really good… but I’m sure you can speak English probably a lot better than I can speak many other languages. So, I think that is fine. We’re all at some level, at some stage in our life. It’s like a snapshot. Like a snapshot with the camera. A snapshot in our lives. And yeah… So this podcast is themed… it’s not a story.

Let’s go back maybe to language learning. Every year I also decide I’m going to learn X number of languages. I’m going to learn for X number of hours every day. But I don’t keep up with that. It’s just really difficult sometimes. But I still have a lot of strengths with different languages, and I’ve held them over the years, and one day maybe I’ll go back to them and continue re-learning.

So, to sum up, we’re all on some kind of journey together with language learning, especially if you’re listening to this. I encourage you to put in some time every day. Or if you can’t do it every day, then just do it when you can, and you’ll start making a lot of progress. And don’t let yourself fall into the trap of catastrophic thinking. Try to be good to yourself and try to be very positive about what you’re doing because it doesn’t matter to other people like it matters to you. So, be positive and you will make progress and be nice to yourself!  

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