Why You Should Stop Trying To Learn A Foreign Language

I'm not kidding. Stop trying. If all you're willing to do is try, you'll be happier and better off if you just stop now.

There was a cute little muppet once, who famously said in his signature zen-like way, "Do, or do not. There is no try." No one has ever said it better.

Do, or do not.

That word "try" is loaded with meaning. Whether you tell people, "I'm trying to learn Spanish," or you tell them, "I'm trying to quit smoking," or "I'm trying to lose weight," you're really telling them a whole lot more.

That devilish little word "try" is telling them that:

  1. Failure is an option, and
  2. You are okay with that

In other words, saying "I'm trying," is nothing more than a complicated way of saying, "I am not going to succeed at this thing. I'm happy to be an underachiever. Please tolerate me for a few weeks while I make my token effort."

So really, if you're trying to learn a new language, do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from this blog, because I'm not going to feed your excuses or distractions. I'm not going to talk about video games on here, so save yourself the trouble.

There is no "try"

For everyone else, banish that word "try" from your vocabulary. Never try anything ever again. You're better than that, and it's time you admitted that to yourself. Own it. Make it yours.

Tell people, "I am learning a foreign language." I, for instance, am learning Italian. You will never see me say that I am trying.

Even better, I've shown you right from the start that you already speak a foreign language. You don't have to learn to speak it and you certainly don't have to try. So for a real confidence boost, and a massive shift in perception, start telling people you are learning more.

I am not trying to learn Italian. It's only been a little more than a month, but I already speak Italian. I can pronounce words, I can read them from a page, and I even know what some of them mean! At this point, I am simply "learning more Italian," and because I say it like that, I also think it like that, which is why I know I will succeed in my goal.


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