The Importance Of Confidence For Language Learning

_A few weeks ago I was asked to do an online interview by the author of a Bulgarian blog called TrueLady.

I don't speak Bulgarian, and I suspect most of you probably don't either, so I've reposted the English questions and answers here._ You can see the Bulgarian version here.

1. What is your daily routine? How do you spend your day?

I don't have much of a routine. I wake up when the sun rises, I go to the office when I feel ready, and I leave when I feel that I've completed my work for the day. Sometimes I exercise in the afternoon. Some days I run in the morning. I like consistency, but I don't like routine... if that makes any sense. 🙂

2. What motivates you?

Life is short. My brother died at 27 years old. I was just 18 at the time, so that made it clear at an early age just how unpredictable and short life can be for any of us. I plan for the future, but I don't obsess over it. The most important thing we can do for the future is simply to not waste the present. If I have an opportunity to do something crazy today, I will probably give it a try. I take risks. Some people believe in a heaven and an afterlife, but I'm just not willing to risk my short life gambling on such things.

3. Do you feel lucky? What is the secret of happiness by your opinion?

Yes. In the lottery of life, I've already won. I was the sperm that fertilized an egg. I was the fetus that was born healthy. I have two arms and two legs, ten fingers and ten toes. I see and hear without trouble. So my hair isn't perfect or my face isn't shaped like Brad Pitt... who cares? I have all the tools anyone could ask for in life, and that's all the luck I need. The rest of my life is only what I make it. In my opinion, that is the secret of happiness — being satisfied that the opportunities in front of you are sufficient and that you have the potential to do amazing things, whomever you are.

4. People say that a happy man doesn’t wear a watch. Do you have a watch?

Great question! I haven't worn a watch in many years. In fact, two years ago, I put all of my clocks in the trash can. I don't wear a watch, I don't wake up to an alarm, and I don't follow a schedule. Some might say I am fortunate to have a job where that is possible, but they're wrong — the truth is, I refuse to accept any job where my time must be so scheduled.

Recently, I was dressing nicely for an event and I put on a watch because I thought it was a necessary accessory for the outfit. It felt strange to have this thing on my arm. At some point during the evening, someone asked me the time, and I looked at the watch only to find that the battery was dead! I had been wearing this watch and never even considered whether or not it was working correctly. 🙂

5. Is it easy to achieve your dreams?

If it's easy, you're not dreaming big enough. I dream big. I want things that other people call impossible. There's no point to doing the easy things. No one is impressed. No one respects you for doing what everyone can do. People respect you for doing the things they can't do... or won't do.

6. What about difficulties in life?

Difficulties in life are what make us who we are. I am not the product of my success or my luck. I am the sum of my pains. I have experienced more difficulties in my life than most people I know, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. I learned valuable things from every experience — these are the things that make me who I am.

7. Tell us about old and new friends? Do you have any time (desire) to see old friends, when you live in way that suggests meeting of new and interesting people?

New and interesting friends are fun and exciting. I am blessed to meet so many people from whom I can learn so many new and interesting things, but it's important to keep some old friends around. True friends survive the test of time. When I want to share some exciting news, or when I need advice on some important decision in my life, it's not the fresh new friends whom I call... I call the old friends — those who know me best.

8. What is the last thing that you have learned?

The most recent thing I learned — actually, I am still learning — is the importance of letting other people know that I hear them, before I try to make them hear me. People don't listen to someone when they feel that person is not listening to them, so it's important to make sure that you're not just listening, but that you're showing people your attention.

9. What are the most important things about the process of learning languages?

The most important thing about learning *anything* is to be interested. This is true about languages, but it applies to everything in life. When you are truly interested... when you are truly curious... when you truly have a desire to know about something, it is easy to learn! You ask questions, you seek teachers. You find ways to get to the knowledge you want.

With languages, this is not a problem for me, because more than anything else, I love communication. I want to learn about other people, and I want to tell people about myself. There's nothing more exciting for me than connecting with other people, and with every new language I learn, I increase my ability to do that! Just this week I had an online chat with someone in Greek, and in spite of my poor Greek skills we were able to connect in a meaningful way. Last week I made a new friend at work because I speak Spanish. A few weeks ago, I received a postcard from Irkutsk, Russia. I am touching people's lives, and allowing them to touch mine, all as a result of the (relatively small) investment of learning some foreign languages!

10. What do you wish to happen to you?

That's the most difficult question yet! I am happy. I am healthy. I have a good life, good friends, and a good job. I live in a nice home and I have everything I need. Only a greedy person could ask for more. I don't need money or fame or power. If there was one thing that I wish I could have, it would be the ability to help other people in a more significant way than I do now. I wish I could motivate other people to do the things they think are impossible. I wish I could give people the confidence to follow their dreams, to let go of their worries, and to feel comfortable with themselves the way I feel with myself.

So... what do I wish would happen to me? Simply: I wish I could be a better person, more capable of inspiring others. But I know that I can, and with every new day, I am sure that I will get closer to that. This is clear every time I receive an email such as yours, inviting me to share my experiences. I thank you for the opportunity, and I hope you find some value in the responses I give to your questions.

Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.

Author: Yearlyglot
I'll lead you through a 12 month journey from knowing absolutely nothing about a language to having professional fluency.

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