07-13-2010 08:15 AM
Buenos Días Alumnos - Good Morning Students
Welcome back to the class.
Here is a little reading I would like for you to do to prepare you for the program and for language learning in general. I will be posting your Spanish lessons periodically.
As always, don't hesitate to ask questions. (Como siempre, no duden en hacer preguntas)
Hasta Pronto, (Until Soon)
Creator of Macmillan Audio's Bestselling 'Behind the Wheel' Language Programs in Fifteen Different Languages
Getting Off the Ropes and Into the Fight for Fluency
by Mark Frobose
© 2010 Mark Frobose - All Rights Reserved
We’ve all seen the movies a hundred times. Rocky Balboa is getting pounded by Apollo Creed. He’s knocked down, bleeding, with a broken nose and a swollen eye. It looks like he’s out for the count.
Then all of a sudden, something sparks from within him, and he gets up and knocks the daylights out of his opponent.
Steven Segal, in one of his many movies, states to his group of commandos who are facing an impossibly powerful enemy, that their team’s greatest asset is not their training, or their equipment, but a ‘superior attitude’.
A ‘superior attitude’?
Just the sound of it is inspiring, isn’t it?
A superior attitude is precisely what you will need to enter and win your war against being tongue-tied the rest of your life.
Below are the critical elements of a ‘superior language attitude’.
- No apologies. You’re not asking for and you’re not giving any apologies to anyone. You’re here to become fluent in another languages and anything goes as long as it’s legal and ethical.
- Thick skinned. No more hypersensitivity. Mistakes are just that. Mistakes.
They’re temporary stepping stones towards fluency. Stop whining.
- Get over it. Whether you just failed or you’ve been failing to learn a new
language for a lifetime, it doesn’t matter. Today is a fresh new opportunity to build fluency and the past does not equal the future.
- On the offensive. The best defense is a great offense. From now on, you are a victor and not a victim. You look out and not in. You attack first and take no prisoners. You ask for corrections before you are corrected. You’re in charge. You chose to be here. You’re proactive and you’re confident.
- Whatever it takes. You’re willing to do whatever it takes to become fluent. Not just what is convenient at the moment, but whatever it takes. If it takes buying three language programs, taking a night course, downloading CDs to your IPod, conversing around the world for free on Skype, or making new friends that speak the language you want to learn, YOU JUST DO IT.
- No excuses. From this point forward, you stop making excuses for not learning to speak a new language. It’s your fault and nobody else’s if you don’t get the job done. You are the master or mistress of your language universe. If you fail, you allowed it to happen. If you succeed (and you will)
you get all the glory.
- Fear into fluency. You now understand that the anxiety you feel from
the emotion of fear is actually a power that you can harness to propel you to higher levels of fluency when you turn it outward and focus it on your language goal. You advance and never retreat in the face of fear.
- Determination. You’re totally resolved to do the thing you cannot do. You refuse to quit. You now view all failure as temporary and good. You now laugh at your critics, smile when corrected, giggle when not understood, and are ecstatic when enemies ask you why you haven’t learned that new language yet. You turn all negatives into positives. You are unstoppable!
- Attack wasted time. You now turn off the television and turn on the DVD player with a foreign movie. You now jog with headphones playing your latest & best language CD. You now take advantage of a 5 minute commute to the corner grocery store to accumulate more language ability while driving.
10. Harness frustration. Frustration is a jewel because it tells you that where you are is still not where you want to be. You are thankful for frustration, and you welcome it and embrace it as a true stimulus for fluency. You realize that unless you become sufficiently frustrated with being monolingual, you won’t do what’s necessary to move forward and truly learn another language.
11. Gratitude. You are grateful for every new word, and every new sign of language improvement. You allow your gratitude to increase your motivation. You look at where you were and where you are now. Better yet, you now focus on where you’re going and what you’re going to be. Fluent in another language!
12. Beat your own record daily. You are running this race against yourself. As long as you are doing your very best and beating your own record daily, you’re succeeding and you’re happy. You keep trying and making corrections until you succeed and become fluent in at least one new language.
The Choice Is Yours
Either you adopt a superior language attitude and become a language winner, or you join the sad and beaten ranks of the monolingual masses with a disempowering mindset.
I think your decision was made the moment you purchased this book, so I’m proceeding on the assumption that you will work hard to adopt a superior language attitude. Please read on as the new language winner you are now becoming.
What Stops Us?
Many obstacles appear to stop us from becoming fluent in other languages. However, the root cause of what stops most of us is our fear.
- Fear of criticism.
- Fear of failure.
- Fear of success.
- Fear of being different.
- Fear of leaving your comfort zone.
The best way to deal with your anxieties and fears is to look them in the face and move forward anyway. Take action anyway. Buy and daily use the language program anyway. Practice speaking a new language with a native speaker anyway. Try new approaches anyway.
My Philosophy of ‘Avançar Não Retrancar’ (Advance Don’t Retreat)
Acknowledge that you are afraid, and do what the Brazilians say to do:
Avançar, não retrancar = Advance, don’t retreat
I was twenty five years old when I first heard that phrase.
I, the romantic language traveler and adventurer was on a small ship leaving the Brazilian port city of Belém, located at the mouth of the great Amazon river.
For three days, all I did was speak Portuguese and play chess with the other passengers on board as we cruised inland through the untamed Amazon jungle towards the Brazilian city of Menaus.
There was one guy in particular who was impossible to beat at chess. In fact, I lost every game of chess I played with him during that long voyage.
Then I finally got smart and asked him what his secret was.
His simple and direct answer added a major piece to my language puzzle and helped me lay the foundation for my ‘superior language attitude’ philosophy.
He said ‘Avançar, não retrancar’. Advance, don’t retreat.
I instantly understood from his illustration on the chessboard that what most of us do in life and in language learning is retreat in the face of challenge. The main reason we do this is because we’re afraid to advance when we’re under pressure. The problem is that when we retreat, whether it’s in chess, life, or languages, we lose the game. We have assumed a ‘defensive’ rather than an ‘offensive’ position, and now we’re in ‘reaction’.
It’s really all about control. Who is running the show, so to speak.
Let’s face it. We all live in a ‘stimulus-response’ world.
You either choose to take charge by taking daily actions based on your desires, or you surrender control and let others push you around as you give in to your fears.
In life as in language learning, we must constantly choose to act or we will be constantly acted upon and forced into the role of puppet instead of puppeteer, a servant instead of a master, a tongue-tied idiot instead of a fluent genius.
‘Avançar não retrancar’ solves that problem. You’re scared, you’re intimidated, and every cell in your body is screaming out to you to run, run, run and you move forward anyway. You advance and stubbornly refuse to give an inch. You constantly take daily action towards your goal of fluency in spite of your daily fear to do the exact opposite. You turn your fear into fluency.
But like any other muscle, your ‘fluency muscles’ flex and grow with daily use. Your superior language attitude slowly takes root, and soon you’re taking actions and getting results that would have been impossible just weeks earlier.
Once you have mastered this technique, you will have taken a major step towards gaining your essential ‘superior language attitude’ as well as a giant leap towards fluency in the languages of your choice.
07-15-2010 08:49 PM
Your remarks above are so true and can be applied to any endeaver, not only language. I read through your remarks with great interest.
I found myself caught up most of my life in this fear of failure sydrone. We are expected to be good, get high grades, exceed others, and a necessity to please others with our accomplishments. And we also get mixed messages that we don't have the talent, or education, or background or anything else. I have heard that your ability to learn a new language declines in your teens and gets worse as you age.
Well, I'm 70 years old and I don't care anymore and I also don't care if "theoretically" I'm at a disadvantage. The time for me is now! And you know I'm discovering that all those things I didn't think I could do or do well, I can. Now how is that for a superior attitude!
07-16-2010 04:45 PM
Me gusta mucho la frase: Avanzar; no retirarse.
Muchas gracias. I will print it off and put it above my computer for a daily reminder.
07-31-2010 04:16 PM
Thank you for this reading. I teach students with special needs and I think I will read this to them on the first day of school. It applies to a lot more than learning a new language! Thanks for the inspiration.
08-01-2010 10:40 AM
De nada - You're Welcome
I agree that my philosphy can apply to all areas of life.
I wish you and your students the very best.