Did you know that mastering English is not just about pronouncing sounds or learning vocabulary and grammar?
It’s so much more!
How we think about ourselves and the way we feel about our English are equally important (if not more important) than learning the correct sounds, words, and grammar rules.
It all starts with your mindset.
There are two mindsets in English: growth mindset and fixed mindset, which I talk about in my latest episode.
Professor Carol Dwek, an American psychologist, talks about these two types of mindsets, and how our mindset ranges between the two.
- A fixed mindset means believing that your talents and abilities are fixed traits that are innate and unchangeable — so if you’re not good at something, you believe you’ll never be good at it.
- A growth mindset means that you believe your intelligence and talents can be developed over time with hard work, smart strategies, and good mentoring from people.
Can you guess which mindset helps you succeed more easily?
Unlike learning new language skills, which takes a lot of time and effort, a shift in mindset can happen instantaneously. All it takes is awareness.
In this episode, I’ll show you some challenging scenarios like difficulty finding a word, speaking in front of others, and handling criticism — and explain how these are perceived through a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset.
I will also give you the tools you need to develop a growth mindset so that you feel more excited about learning and stay focused on constant improvement rather than perfection.
Watch this video you’ll learn how to:
– recognize the triggers that influence you and hold you back
– reframe them from a growth mindset perspective
– always accept challenges, knowing they can help you improve
Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar. And this is episode number 201. And today we are going to talk about one of the most important things when it comes to your English fluency. And that is mindset.
Hey, hey, everyone, what is up? I hope you’re doing well. And that your day has started well, and you are well, and content, and happy today. And even if you’re not, then I hope that you have the emotional resources to deal with that. Yeah, what is that thing of always, you know, everything’s okay when we’re happy, and when we’re not, it’s not okay?
Because most of the time we are striving to be happy. Which means that in most cases we’re not necessarily happy. Right? We are trying to get there. It’s the process that matters. We need to be content with whatever emotion we’re experiencing. Even if it’s sadness or frustration or shame or angst. That’s an emotion that I connect with very deeply – angst and worrying, worrying about things that might happen. Like all these crazy scenarios that could potentially happen at every or any single moment. So yes, I’m dealing with dealing with that type of worrying and angst. But for now I feel pretty happy. I have to say. I’m just sitting here, talking to you. And especially about a topic that I love talking about.
Now, this episode is going to be about mindset and English fluency. But I, you know, before we go into the full episode – and as you know, what I’m sharing is the audio of the video that I’m also sharing on my blog and on YouTube. So, I’m sure you’ve noticed that there is a difference in the audio because we’re playing the lesson here. So I feel like this is an opportunity for us to connect on a different level in a way that I don’t on the actual episode in the video.
So, I want to tell you why I think this is so important and especially why I’m, one might say, obsessed a little bit with this idea of mindset. And why this was not the case for me, let’s say, three, four years ago. And definitely, longer than that, you know, when I started teaching 12 years ago. Where I was all about, “Let’s get you sounding like a native! Let’s fix all those sounds, so no one can hear that you’re not American.” Yeah, that was me like 10 years ago. I had to take off some of the content that was on my website and I’d forgotten that it’s there. And all of a sudden, someone sent me and said, “Is that yours?..” Cause it said, ‘speak like a native’. Anyway.
So, the reason why I’m so passionate about talking about mindset is that, one – I had to make some serious changes in my life and in my business. And it had nothing to do with business strategy. It had everything to do with mindset. And once I decided to invest the time and the energy into working on that, the outcome was astounding in my business. I’ve seen a lot more growth, everything felt effortless, I enjoyed it so much more. I made wiser decisions, I was a lot more confident. And I had the sense of trust. And that alone made me make much better decisions in my business.
And that made me become a better human. And make sure that I manage my time properly with spending my time between my business, my students, and my family. Right? So I had become a lot more available and present with my daughters and with my partner. And all of that is a result of me making some internal changes and transformation that impacted every aspect of my life. And then I started incorporating that into my training. I actually created an entirely new program because I felt that it had to be a part of the journey. Right? It’s not something that you add as a bonus. It’s not like something that you talk about in-between the lessons. No, that’s the work.
And once I started including that, I saw that the results my students have been getting have become far better, far more impressive than before. So if before we felt, you know, change and like, they were more confident than they were happy, now we’re talking about like serious life transformation. Right? Starting from working on English fluency, but making some serious internal shifts. Or shifTs, with the T, if you’ve noticed that I dropped it. Both are legit, by the way.
So, they’ve started making these serious shifts internally, and that has impacted how they show up in English. And that has created a lot more opportunities and had a ripple effect on other aspects of their lives. And I was like, “Okay. Yeah, that’s why it’s important.” So this is why I talk about it a lot. And I know that there are some people who may come to someone like me and say, “Just teach me the stuff. Just teach me pronunciation, please. Just teach me how to improve my vocabulary. Just teach me how to improve.”
And I was like, I can teach you all that, I have it. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know how to teach you pronunciation, but it’s not going to serve you if you don’t have the courage to open your mouth in the middle of a meeting because you are not sure how you’re going to finish the sentence. Or you’re afraid that you’re going to make a mistake. It’s not going to help you to know how to do connected speech and aspirated P’s. It’s not going to help you.
I know so many people who have very unstandard American accent or British or any standard accent, and they are fluent, confident, they’re magnetizing other people, they impact people. And usually, it’s like these people that you see doing stuff out there in the world. English is not the issue. Now, yeah, I’m not going to say that, Oh, just work on your mindset and then everything’s going to be amazing, and you’re going to be fluent. No, you still got to do the work. Yeah, I mean, let’s put it in perspective.
You can’t sit on your couch and visualize yourself speaking in front of a thousand people without doing any work and expecting it to happen. No. You need to practice, you need to work. You need to… You do need to improve your pronunciation. You do need to understand what grammar structures are difficult for you and improve that. Yes. But it cannot happen alone.
So this work is really integrated. And for those of you who have been doing a lot of the technical stuff, like pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and all of that good stuff, then I would recommend for you to start playing around with this type of work. And I think this episode is a good start. Basically, identifying where you’re at on the ‘fixed mindset – growth mindset’ spectrum. And if you don’t know what that is, then this is what this episode is about.
Before we listen to the full episode, I just want to take a moment and say, thank you. I really appreciate you being here, listening to this; making, you know, small steps towards limitless fluency. And for letting me be here, guide you. And, yeah, it’s a huge honor. I get a lot of private messages and DM’s and emails saying how much they liked the podcast, from people saying how much they liked the podcast. And this means the world to me.
And I think that on the podcast, there’s like a different connection, a different way of interacting. And that makes me really happy and grateful. So, I just wanted to take that moment and say, thank you, truly. That’s it. So from this moment of gratitude, let’s go ahead and listen to today’s episode.
Have you had this feeling that no matter how much you learn or practice or use English, when the time comes that you need to actually speak it and use it, you simply cannot deliver? You feel consumed by your mistakes, you feel stuck, you feel frustrated, and like your English is never going to be good enough.
So if that’s the case for you, then I want you to know that it’s not just you and you’re definitely not alone in this. Because as speakers of a second language, in addition to managing our pronunciation and vocabulary and grammar and practice, we also need to manage how we think about ourselves as speakers of English, and how we feel when we communicate in English. In other words, we have to, have to work on our mindset in English.
And let me tell you this – the real breakthroughs happen. And, listen, I have worked with thousands and thousands of students over the past 12 years. The real breakthroughs happen not when you master all the sounds of English and acquire an American accent. And it doesn’t happen when you no longer make grammar mistakes. The real breakthroughs happen when you are able to develop the right mindset in English. That’s when you start feeling this limitless sense of fluency.
A few years ago, I had a coaching session with my students, and this student came on to the call. She lives in the US, she’s originally from Colombia. And she started talking about how frustrated she feels. Like she never sees any progress, she is super self-conscious about her English. She does not feel safe when communicating in English and she definitely feels like her English is preventing her from advancing.
Now, while she’s speaking, I’m thinking to myself, This woman sounds to me super clear, very fluent; she has this vast vocabulary that she’s using and tapping into easily. Yet, she feels horrified by her English. And after a few questions, I realized that her environment at work was not a safe environment. Her boss was criticizing her constantly – not on her English, but on other things. But she immediately associated it to English. And her experience of herself speaking English had to do with self-deprecation, sorrow, and shame.
This is not a very healthy environment to be in. But most importantly, when you are constantly experiencing these emotions about yourself in English, how will you ever succeed? And how will you improve? How will your brain retain any piece of information that you’re learning? And how will you dare and be courageous and grow? Because to grow and to improve, especially in the workplace, you need to take challenges. You need to dare more, you need to speak before you’re ready. And when you don’t feel like that’s possible for you, you will not do it.
So, the real work, or a big part of the work, is to make sure that you know how to distinguish between a mindset that does not serve you to a mindset that does. And this is what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the difference between having a fixed mindset to having a growth mindset when it comes to your English experience.
Now, if you’re new to my channel, then hello and welcome. My name is Hadar. I, myself, had to overcome a lot of mental and psychological barriers when it comes to communicating in English, because I am not a native speaker of English. And it wasn’t always this easy for me to turn on the camera and start speaking to people in English. It not being my first language, let alone, teaching pronunciation.
But some of the work that I’ve done, and I’ve done with my students, have led me to realize what you really need to improve. And this is what I’m here to do – to help you speak English with clarity, confidence, and internal freedom. If you want to find out more about my work, then first of all, I highly recommend that you subscribe to my channel.
You can also follow me on Instagram at @hadar.accentsway, where I share a new piece of content every single day. And you can also check out my website hadarshemesh.com, where you’ll find a ton of free resources to help you grow and improve in English. Back to mindset.
First, let’s define mindset. Mindset is a set of beliefs about our talents, intelligence and abilities, that shape how we interpret the world and ourselves. This influences pretty much everything about how we behave and think and feel in any given situation.
Professor Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, talks about two types of mindset: fixed mindset and growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, the belief is that the talents and the intelligence that you’re born with is innate and unchangeable. And there is nothing you can do to improve or change that. What you get is what you have, and that’s it. And someone with a growth mindset believes that with the right strategies, with mentoring from people, with working hard, then you can actually develop and improve anything about your abilities and talents, and even intelligence.
Now, it’s not like a person has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, but you want to think of it more like a spectrum that goes between 1 – being a fixed mindset and 10 – being a growth mindset, believing that everything is changeable and you’re capable of reaching your goals with the right strategy and with the work that is needed.
So, when you think of that, I want you to think about yourself in English, and about your abilities. Now, obviously you’re not a one, you believe that change is possible. You believe that you’re capable of learning, right? Because otherwise, you wouldn’t be here listening to this. Right? But at the same time, if you still feel like there is something that is holding you back and you interpret situation like that woman that I was talking about, it didn’t matter that her English was fluent and clear and even powerful, right? She interpreted it as not enough.
So I want to see where we’re at on that spectrum. Again, 1 – being hardcore fixed mindset, and 10 – being growth mindset 100%. Right? So we want to see where we’re at on that spectrum, but also to look at certain situations and see where we’re at and how we’re interpreting situations, right? In a way that is more fixed mindset or growth mindset. So this is going to be a lot of fun and really interesting.
Now, I really want you to let go of cynicism and resistance. Because I’m sure it will come up, especially for people who are not thinking about this on a daily basis. And really try to put in the work and put in some thought into it. Because at the end of the day, we see people in powerful positions, where we say to ourselves, “My English is a lot clearer than his or hers. Right? So why are they capable of putting themselves out there? Why these people don’t let failures deter them or quit? Whereas for us, sometimes we feel like we can never do this unless we improve, or until we improve.” So these are questions that we need to ask ourselves, you need to ask yourself, to be able to reach that breakthrough.
Now, by the way, if you stay with me until the end, I will tell you how I can help you with a free Bootcamp. I highly recommend for you to check it out because we are going to create an entire event designed to help you understand how you can develop the right mindset in English and build powerful learning habits. So I’ll talk more about that at the end.
Okay. So now, like I said, before we even get started with the examples, I want you to think about a number, again, between 1 to 10, that suggests where you’re at on that spectrum – between fixed and growth mindset. So, I want you to put it in the comments right now, somewhere between 1 and 10. 1, again, means that you feel like, you know, you’ll never be able to learn English because you’re not talented or, you know, your brain just doesn’t get it. And this is how you were born, and it’s impossible to change, and why bother. And 10 – being, “I can learn anything, I just need the right strategy and method, and put in the work. And I can do everything: I can train my brain, I can improve.” So that would be 10. And 1 would be, “This is not for me”.
By the way, one more thing that I want to talk about in this aspect, maybe that would help you decide on the number, is that when it comes to failure or when it comes to doing something that is not successful, people with a fixed mindset will interpret it as proof for, you know, them not being capable of doing these things. Right? And usually, they won’t take any risks simply because they know that they would just fail and not succeed. Whereas people who operate from a growth mindset, they see failure as an opportunity to learn and to improve and to see what hasn’t been working and what they can learn from it.
So this is another thing to look at. Are you a person who lets failure stop you from doing the things that you want, or the fear of failure to keep you from, you know, daring and doing things that you feel are almost impossible? Or are you the type of person who thrives despite failure or thanks to failure, because you learn and you keep doing and you keep taking action? So, another thing to think about.
So now let’s look at a few situations where we can look at them through the lens of fixed mindset and growth mindset, and how people with different mindsets might interpret that one situation. Now, again, remember, you can have a growth mindset in other areas of your life, but in certain situation you will operate from a fixed mindset.
So, it does not mean that you are a person with a fixed mindset if, you know, some of these situations would indicate that you’re operating from a fixed mindset. No. But it just means that in English, in these situations, probably because of your history and past, and maybe things that you don’t even remember that influenced how you feel and think about English, probably all of that is the reason why this is how you interpret such situations.
So the first scenario would be: you are in the middle of a conversation and you’re trying to remember a word, and the word just doesn’t come up. Right? You can think of that word, and you get stuck. A person with a fixed mindset might completely stop, not continue the conversation, or cut the conversation short, or apologize for getting stuck. Because in their head, they’re not intelligent enough or, you know, their English is not good enough. And, you know, it’s just proof, “Oh, I’m discovered now, it’s just proof that you know I’m incapable in English.”
Whereas a person with a growth mindset might stop, think about the word, try out a different word. Ask for help, start over, say that, “Oh, I can’t think of the word.” Right? Acknowledge it. Because that person knows that it’s important to use that to learn and to improve. And that it doesn’t mean anything about their abilities or their English. It just means that you forgot a word or that you don’t know it. So what?
Another example is, let’s say you’re sitting in a meeting and there are a lot of people, a lot of your colleagues or customers, and maybe your boss is there. And you want to say something. Now, a person with a fixed mindset would say, “Oh, if I say something and I get stuck and I can’t explain myself, cause I don’t have all the words, that means that I would fail. And failure would be, you know, proof that I’m incapable or not good enough in English.” Or, “Why bother? Because I won’t be able to express myself freely anyway, because I’m not good at English.”
And the person with a growth mindset would probably say to themselves, “Okay, I have something to say, I’m going to say it no matter what. If I get stuck, I’ll just ask for help or I’ll figure it out along the way. Because that’s how I learn. And more importantly, I need to say what I have to say, right? And I can figure it out. And people can help me.” So, this is another way of interpreting the same situation, where you want to speak, but you don’t know exactly what you’re going to say.
And how about receiving criticism? Let’s say someone says something about your English. A person with a fixed mindset would see it as proof that their English is not good enough, that would make them feel upset and sad and incapable. And they would say to themselves, “Okay, I should just stop learning anyway. Because I’ve been working so hard and I’ve been doing all this work and it’s not changing, it’s not improving. So what’s the point?”
Whereas a person with a growth mindset either will know to deflect criticism that is irrelevant, right? And say, “I know what I’m doing, I’m working hard. Thank you so much. But I feel that I need to speak like this so I can improve.” Or might receive that criticism and say, “What can I take from this? What can I learn from this? How can I improve without it making me feel horrible and frustrated and incapable?” And without going into that loop of self-deprecation and self-judgment, right? So again, same situation, different interpretations.
Now, here’s the thing. And that is the most important thing that I want you to remember. No matter where you’re at on the spectrum, interpreting something is only up to you. You are the thinker of your thoughts, and how you see the world and how you think about things and how you feel about things. Because, you know, feeling is a result of a thought. It’s all up to you.
So, yes, the circumstances have led to you feeling this way, and maybe you have some limitations and limiting beliefs because of how you were brought up or what your teacher said about you. All of that is valid. And, you know, you need to feel all the feelings and think about this and try to process it. Because it’s really important if you want to become fluent and have that internal freedom. But how you interpret situations is up to you. And you can change that instantaneously.
You can decide that you are going to operate from a growth mindset at any given second. It takes practice, it takes work, it takes consistency. Because of course, it’s always easy to go to what’s comfortable. And comfortable is always the safe place. And, you know, being safe is not speaking, ultimately, because then you can’t make mistakes. But that’s not what we’re here for, and that’s not why you are here for listening to this video.
So I’m inviting you, first of all, to start thinking about your English from a growth mindset perspective, and I’m going to link some resources for you to explore that idea even more in the description, plus a few more videos about mindset that I’ve created. But I also want to invite you to an event where I will help you step into that fluent mindset that is definitely a growth mindset in English.
The event that I’m talking about is the Fluency Bootcamp. In the Bootcamp, you are going to train with me every single day. So, I will be delivering a training every day for 15 minutes. And then you will have exercises for another 15 minutes, all designed to help you build strong foundation for learning and speaking English confidently and fluently. We will talk about building strong learning habits, what keeps you stuck, the things that will help you break away from bad habits in your English, but also in your learning experience. We’re definitely going to talk about growth mindset and fixed mindset, and all of the elements that can help you develop a growth mindset in English.
We’re also going to learn how you can build the ideal strategy for yourself in English. Because every person has their own personal path. And you need to know what’s right for you to be able to do the things that actually get you the right results. Or any kind of results, right? So, this Bootcamp is absolutely free, but if you’re watching this after the Bootcamp is finished, that I’m still inviting you to click the link and sign up to get my weekly lessons to your inbox.
Okay. So I’m waiting to see where you’re at on that spectrum. And if you want to share with me more of your experiences, then I’m inviting you to do that in the comments. I really hope to see you in the Bootcamp, it’s going to be amazing. I forgot to say that we’re going to have a ton of speaking practice and opportunities to put into practice what you’ll learn, which is the best way to learn and to improve. And the best way to do it is also not to do it alone.
And you’ll have my support, and my coaches’ support. So, it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be an English fluency Bootcamp party. So I hope to see you there. I hope this was helpful. And I will see you either in the Bootcamp or next week in the next video. Bye.
With a growth mindset you’ll find that obstacles seem to disappear and you’ll start giving yourself more permission to speak. And before you know it, you’ll be owning the language.
Fixed mindset is my serious and critical challenge not to improve this language. We really have adequate words (though most are passive vocabulary) to use but we stuck in the middle of our communication and cut our story short due to negative mindset we have. So, I found this episode so helpful for many people like me. In this regard, “you hit the nail on the head”.
My sincere gratitude
Really I am glad to be one of your students
I do not know how to develop my language English especially when I want to speak I think all my speeches are wrong and fill nervous and upset
I hope we can speak by messenger program or any program you see suitable
WhatsApp program is good
best good regard
I’m very gald to be one of your student. I can surely improve my english. I just need time, I’m going to practice in every time possible.
Thank you so much ??
Hello Hadar, thank you for your amazing wisdom I love reading and listening to this group because I have a heart close to learning English language. I needed more practice and learning so I can improve and develop myself and thank you for the growth mindset this is what I like to do it’s comes with hardwork just like no pain no gain .
8. I’m just trying to admit I’m a little apprehensive trying to communicate with non-native speakers, but it’s that I believe you have a positive outlook and are probably able to bridge any challenging thoughts that may arise.
Hi Hadar ! Thanks a lot for the excellent video. As a full time researcher in brain sciences in my active life period, besides my main laboratory work I had been doing also psychiatry for decades. In Europe we perhaps consider the concept of “mindset” with a bit less behaviorist tone than psychologists do in the USA. Nevertheless, you are absolutely right the proper dynamics of the growth mindset is inevitably necessary in learning a foreign language. For me, that is portrayed the best by the fabulous short novel of Bertrand Malamud: “The German Refugee”.
I’ve been learning english for a few months and I see results but it’s not enough. I practice every day even for 10 minutes. What I need to do in addition? I’m from Israel btw.