Do you ever find yourself struggling and feeling stuck in your language learning journey? Learning English can be challenging, and sometimes you might wonder what the missing ingredient in your practice is.
Well, wait no more because in this week’s video, I want to spill the secrets of the three essential traits that I believe are the key to succeeding in English.
How did I come up with these 3 traits? After working with thousands of amazing students over the past 14 years, I began to notice the similarities among successful learners, and those that stayed “stuck”, and today, I’m excited to share those traits with you!
Now, of course, if you have these 3 traits, it doesn’t mean that you won’t experience times of feeling stuck, frustrated or tired. It’s completely normal to face these challenges along the way. However, what sets successful learners apart is their ability to overcome these obstacles and achieve their goals, even if they face some setbacks.
Are you curious to know what these three traits are? Let’s go! Watch the video now:
Welcome to the InFluency Podcast, I’m Hadar. And this is episode number 331. And today we are going to talk about what makes an English learner successful.
Hello, dear listener, how are you doing? I hope this podcast finds you well today, wherever you’re at, if you’re in your car or doing the dishes or walking your dog. And today we are going to talk about something that is really, really important when it comes to succeeding in… well, I want to be dramatic and say “succeeding in life” because I think the things that I’m gonna talk about today are relevant not just for English. But to tone it down and not to be overly dramatic, which I tend to be sometimes, I’m going to say “succeeding in English”.
Because as you already know, if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, English is not just about learning grammar effectively or practicing your pronunciation. There’s a lot that goes into making this beautiful, exciting, challenging, sometimes tedious journey a good experience, a positive experience, and a successful experience. And it has a lot to do with a person you are.
And I don’t mean by that if you are talented in English or you have a lot of experience, or if you live in an English-speaking country, I’m not talking about this. I’m talking about the qualities that a person should have to be able to have a successful experience in whatever it is that they’re doing.
And it goes beyond the content. It goes beyond your circumstances even, whether or not you’re exposed to English. It really is about the qualities or the characteristics that you’d need to have to be able to see the results that you want. And these characteristics or traits are not traits that you’re born with, they’re traits that you acquire with work. And in this episode, I’m inviting you to see if that could be a good fit. So that you could improve your experience learning English, and obviously, the results that you’re gonna see.
So we’re gonna go ahead and listen to today’s episode. But before that, if you enjoy the podcast and you find it valuable, please rate and review the podcast on whatever platform you’re listening to. Because when you do that, then it basically tells the algorithm and tells other listeners, who are like you, that this podcast is going to be valuable for them. So take a minute, rate and review the podcast, and I would be completely grateful.
All right, so let’s get started with today’s episode: the three traits that successful English learners have.
How come some English learners engage themselves in conversations rather easily? They get the job of their dreams in English, they make friends, and ultimately, they feel very confident and comfortable in English. While other learners, no matter how much time they spent learning, they try out the newest strategies, they still feel like they’re stuck in an endless loop of frustration. What is the difference between learner one and learner two? The resources are the same, the language is the same. So how come one person’s experience is so significantly different than another’s?
In this video, I’m going to talk about what makes a successful learner. Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of students in person and online from all different backgrounds, and I’ve noticed three consistent traits that my most successful students have. Those are not traits that they were born with – they were acquired. So, if you are interested in creating a much better and more fruitful experience for yourself learning English, make sure you watch this video until the end.
The first trait is thinking about their future self rather than their present self. Let me explain. You already know that for you to be able to acquire a new skill or learn something new, you have to spend time learning it and practicing it. Now, this requires consistency, determination, persistence. And it’s not easy, because we’re human beings. And when we try to do something that doesn’t give us immediate reward, like learning English, I mean, after speaking English for 30 minutes or speaking with someone else for 30 minutes, you’re not gonna feel immediate difference or improvement. You will have to do it over time, consistently for you to start feeling the compound effect of your practice.
So this is why when you try to build that habit, or when you try to practice daily, what happens is that you start feeling uncomfortable. And then there are all these feelings and thoughts of, “I don’t feel like it”, “I don’t wanna do this”, “What’s the point?”, or “Maybe tomorrow”. And that is your present self speaking to you. Because at this point it just doesn’t feel like something you wanna do.
And usually, we listen to these voices. So we do a little bit, but we’re not fully committed. Or we do it for a little bit and then we stop, because the habit of not doing it is stronger than the habit of doing it. However, when you think about your future self, when you imagine yourself a confident, successful speaker of English, that person feels good about speaking English, that person practices English or uses English daily.
To be able to get there, you have to start somewhere. I once saw this quote by Mel Robbins. Mel Robbins is an author and a speaker, and she wrote, “What can you do today that your future self will thank you for?” And I always come back to this quote. Because it is so true. Right now I don’t feel like doing something. But I know that if I do that thing that I know I need to do, my future self will thank me for it because I will turn that in my reality.
Do the things today that your future self does. If that means speaking English every day, do that. If that means practicing and learning every day, you start doing it today. Focus on your future self and not on your present self, and I guarantee that it will make your English learning experience so much better.
The second trait of highly successful English learners is: not looking at failure as proof for their incapability of achieving real fluency. Now, let me explain. When I talk about failure, I often talk about making mistakes, and getting stuck often, and not progressing quickly enough. And a lot of times people use that as evidence, as proof for their worst thoughts about themselves, right? So if someone has a thought that their English is not good enough or that they will never be fluent, every time they get stuck or every time they make a mistake, they will use that as an opportunity to say, “See? This is not working, I’m still not there. This is really hard.”
Versus successful learners, that use failure as an opportunity to grow and learn. And also they just see it as a natural part of the process. Because it is! Learning a second language requires you to make mistakes and get stuck, and sometimes embarrass yourself, and sometimes say the wrong thing, and sometimes feel uncomfortable and very vulnerable.
Because you are exposing yourself in a language that you weren’t born into, and that is okay. But if you use that, that natural element of learning a language, as proof for your incompetence, then how will you ever feel good about this journey and how will you ever be able to break through?
My students who were able to transform their English, they never get hung up on those mistakes. They never feel like, “This is it. This is how it’s going to be from now until eternity.” No, they understand it’s just a stage in their development.
So don’t get me wrong, both successful English learners and frustrated English learners, they both experience failure. It’s just how they go about it that matters. It’s what you make of it. It’s how you interpret it. That is mindset. And if you decide to obsess over it and to get frustrated and to beat yourself up for all the things that don’t work, instead of just saying, “Okay, let’s try better next time”, then it will completely keep you stuck in the loop of frustration.
So if you want to turn yourself into a successful learner, one of the biggest things that you need to change is how you perceive mistakes and how you perceive all the things that you consider as failure.
The third and last trait, and maybe the most unexpected one, is that successful learners find joy in the process. So many people believe that learning is hard, that learning is tedious, that it’s not supposed to be fun, that you have to just sit down and do the work and stick to it. And as soon as you’re done, that’s it, you know, you can go, you can feel good now. But no. This is something that we have learned maybe in school, maybe from past traumatic experiences that we’ve had as kids learning with certain teachers, getting certain feedback.
But the truth is, that it’s not supposed to be hard, that it’s not supposed to be boring, and that it’s not supposed to be painful. Research shows that the brain retains information a lot better when it’s associated with a certain emotion. And of course, if it’s a positive emotion, it’s more likely that you’re going to learn something more effectively.
So if your emotion, when you’re learning English, is frustration and impatience, then you’re probably not gonna learn effectively. Your brain is just not gonna remember the things that you’re trying to learn. It will, but probably not in the most optimal way. So why not change the experience of learning?
Because learning English has to be fun. It’s not something that you have to do, and that you keep pushing it to the end of the day because you don’t wanna do it. It is something that you want to look forward to. It is something that is designed to provoke curiosity and joy and development, personally and professionally.
This is how you learn effectively. This is how English becomes not something that you have to do, but a tool to become a better person, really. Because it opens doors and it offers you a world of knowledge. And if you look at it that way, and if you deliberately do things that make you happy, then you are a lot more likely to stay consistent, to do the work, and to learn better.
In my programs, we put so much emphasis on learning with joy. We have fun exercises and assignments. And the way the content is taught is supposed to get people curious and excited, and not bored and tired and sleepy and disappointed and confused. Because when you feel all those negative emotions, of course you’re not gonna wanna do it the next day.
So, if right now you feel like your English practice is boring or painful even, then change it. Do something different. Try out different things, explore, challenge yourself, but do something different. Because it doesn’t need to feel hard, it needs to feel fun and exciting.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Successful English learners still struggle, and they fail. And they feel frustrated, and sometimes they feel like they’re stuck in a plateau. All of that is relevant for successful English learners. So it’s not that they’re more talented or anything like that. It’s just that they have a different mindset that allows them to go through this journey with success and to thrive.
And if you’ve been feeling like your English is not enough, like you’re not enjoying the learning process, like you deserve better and more, then consider changing your mindset, and owning those three traits yourself, because it is possible.
Now I wanna hear what you think. What do you think sets successful English learners apart from frustrated English learners? What would you add to that list? Let me know in the comments and let’s start a conversation.
Thank you so much for watching this. Again, if you enjoy this video, consider subscribing and sharing it. And definitely come check out my website at hadarshemesh.com. You can also follow me on social media where I share daily lessons and tips.
Thank you so much for being here. And remember, it’s all up to you. If you want to succeed in English, it’s not too late. You can start today.
Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.