What’s Really Keeping You From Fluency?

Do you ever feel stuck in your learning? Or even in your life?

Don’t feel alone, you are not the only person which has experienced the same feelings. It can be awful, frustrating and it can make you feel that it is time to give-up.

When we are learning a language like English, and we hit a spot – we feel like no matter how much we practice, we remain at the same level – we barely progress.

The reason why this is such an unpleasant feeling is because when we first start learning and using English our mind is only set for “I can speak”, it is a great feeling to know that a native speaker can understand me. Soon, however, what were before great achievements, become common place. They no longer seem like something to feel good about. This period is not permanent and it can be changed. How? you might ask. Who is to blame?

I think about these questions, throughout 12 years, being an ESL teacher in Indonesia I have heard many students tell me that they would love to follow some dream, to study abroad, to live in America ( Land of Opportunity) – but they can’t.

Why not?

I have heard many different reasons: Because of money, Their not good enough with English, I cannot speak English, Indonesia doesn’t offer many opportunities for them…

Ok,  What’s really keeping you from fluency. Is  it fear? Fluency comes from practice. As the old saying “Practice makes perfect”.

Our values then changed.

Prioritizing our values.

Have you heard the saying “The same old thing produces The same old results.”? Yes, stagnation can also be a result of one’s values. I’ve met several people, both students and acquaintances who have told me that they wanted or needed to learn English, but they just don’t have the ability, money or time. And in some cases I have seen these same individuals get the money and time to enter class with me.When in class, they just sit and stare at me or look at their smart phone; no participation.

I ask this question: Why? The answer has been I can’t speak English, so why should I try.

This leads us into the argument of time. How much time do we waste watching TV, playing video games, surfing the pictures in Instagram and texting on our favorite social app.

The reason that we do this is simple (even though it might be hard to overcome). A life of comfortable stability is safer than actually following our big dreams and desires saying someday.

  • Someday, I’ll learn English.
  • Someday, I’ll take an English course.
  • Someday, I’ll tell my boss that I quit.
  • Someday, I’ll ask my girlfriend / boyfriend to marry me.

You only have this one life; don’t live it with regrets.

“There are seven days in a week and someday is not one of them.” – Douglas Shaw

How to overcome excuses and live our dreams and achieve our goals.

I think we have talked about the excuses enough; now let’s spend some time talking about a solution.

There are many important steps that you can take to make yourself more productive and successful (in everything you do) such as, setting goals, going on a diet, learning a 2nd or 3rd language. It is very easy to say – tomorrow I will start on a new diet but when tomorrow comes, the diet is not started.

Why say, I will do it tomorrow? A solution for this is very simple. Just do it.

To succeed and achieve our goals we need to do things that make us uncomfortable. I never said that the solution would be easy, but going that extra step and stretching yourself is the quickest way to get closer to any goal. Yes, you can stay in that spot where you feel comfortable, but you can only expect the exact same results that you have had. No change!

However, if you have ever complained because you wanted things to be different, then you’re going to have to push yourself beyond your current limits. You will have to make yourself uncomfortable.

Like when learning a language, if you keep doing the same comfortable thing, your level will probably stay the same as it’s been. But when you really push to a level of discomfort is when you have the quickest growth and you learn the most. For example, the first time you open your mouth and speak you are terrified about so many things….

  • am I saying this wrong?
  • do I sound stupid?
  • will the listener laugh at me?

If you want to get better, then you will have to push through the discomfort until it becomes natural. Remember it is through our mistakes when we learn the most. Here are some suggestions for you to try to stretch yourself in English.

  • Shy – speak to someone.
  • Online in your social networks – Make friends and speak to them (Caution – only speak to people that you can trust).
  • Make notes of the difficult phrases and repeat them aloud to yourself until they are natural.
  • Sing

Remember: Each day the experiences that you go through is a new chapter in your book of life. A new chapter is wrote when you step beyond your comfort zone.

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I wrote this article to empower you and those in need of encouragement. My golden rule to life is this: “If you believe you can, then you can but if you believe you cannot, then you cannot”. If you consistently stretch yourself a little bit, try to be a little bit better everyday then, little by little, you will achieve your goals and reach your dreams.