Psychology Behind English Language Success Ep 591

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English Listening Practice - How To Instil Success and Achievement In Yourself

Language learning success and achievement don’t just happen, they are the product of psychological growth. When we understand the psychology behind success and achievement we can better develop intrinsic skills and qualities that lead to self-motivation, discipline, focus, determination, and hard work. How to handle and guide your brain's growth is the topic of today's English lesson.

The research shows that achievement comes as a result of setting goals and taking continuous steps towards them. Humans are hard-wired to keep moving toward a goal and success. You should understand the psychology behind this inclination and apply it to your life when you want to achieve something.

We are living in a world where celebrity culture is becoming more and more pervasive, and it is all about being rich, beautiful and famous, which leaves a distorted sense of what real success means. Children must be taught the value of hard work and determination. They must also be taught time management skills to avoid procrastination. You need to instil in your children the importance of being independent thinkers and problem solvers, not just consumers of information.

✔Lesson transcript:

Adept English is your go to recourse for English learning and success. Our aim is to help you maximize your English language learning abilities, in a busy mobile phone world. We are a highly effective and state of the art language education organisation, committed to aiding learners to achieve their goals. Subscribe and follow us today and start your path to English language success.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Celebrity: A famous person.
  • Perseverance: Continuing to do something even when it's hard.
  • Mindset: The way you think about things.
  • Imposter: Someone pretending to be someone else.
  • Grit: Being strong and determined.
  • Culture: The shared beliefs, habits, and traditions of a group of people.
  • Solvers: People who find solutions to problems.
  • Esteem: How much you respect or value something or someone.
  • Inclination: A feeling or desire to do something.
  • Intrinsic: Coming from inside or from a thing itself.
  • Instil: To slowly put a feeling or idea into someone's mind over time.

Most common 2 word phrases:

English Language3
Language Learning2
To Instil2
To Achieve2
Hard Work2
Be Taught2

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Transcript: Psychology Behind English Language Success

Hi there. Today let's talk about the psychology of success and achievement and how to instil it in yourself and your children.

These are important psychological ideas, if you are an adult and you want to learn something, or if you are a parent and you want your children to learn and be successful. Whether that's in language learning or in other areas of your life. So listen on and get all that good stuff.

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The quality of 'perseverance' is very important

So I was reading an interesting article this week on the importance of something called 'perseverance' and learning how 'to persevere'.

This is really important to our success and our ability to achieve things in life.

So the noun here is 'perseverance', P E R S E V E R A N C E, and the verb is 'to persevere'. So P E R S E V E R E. And 'to persevere' means 'to keep going even when it's difficult'.

So our 'perseverance' means 'our capacity, our ability to carry on through difficulty'.

And the article, you'll find the link in the transcript on our website at - this article talks about how very important the ability to persevere is, if we want to be successful.

This is an issue for us as adults, especially as adult learners, but it's also an issue if you are parenting children. How do you teach them to have perseverance?

As children, we need to learn to do a lot of things. It might be learning to use a knife and fork, learning to swim, learning to ride a bike, how to tie our shoes, how to do friendships, how to learn maths.

In fact, as a child, we've got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of things to learn, at school and at home. And how we do learning this stuff probably determines to a large extent how we feel about ourselves. This happens from early on in our lives, from a young age.

What and how we learn determines our self-esteem

If we have a good start in life and we have lots of positive experiences of learning to do things, being rewarded for our efforts, then probably as a child and as an adult, we'll have what we call 'good self-esteem'. So that's self and then E S T E E M. And if you have good self-esteem, that means that you feel positively about yourself.

But if you're not so fortunate in your experiences, then you may end up with what we call 'low self-esteem'. So you have many more negative feelings about yourself and about your likelihood of success or achievement.

What experiences we have as a child affect our self-esteem as an adult. That feels terrifying for parents, perhaps! Parents want their children to succeed, but they also don't want to put too much pressure on them. So how best to instil self-esteem in your children and perseverance?

The meaning of 'Grit'

There is an interesting book by an author called Angela Duckworth. She's also done a TED Talk on the same topic. Her book is called 'Grit', that's G R I T. And Angela Duckworth defines 'grit' as a combination of perseverance and passion.

Angela Duckworth started out her professional life in quite a high flying career. She was a Management Consultant, but at the age of 27, she gave that up to become a teacher and she started to teach seventh graders - this is in the US. Seventh grade maths.

What she noticed was that the children who did best in her maths class were not necessarily the most intelligent ones. She noticed that the most intelligent children didn't necessarily get the marks. So achievement and success is not just about intelligence.

She began to see how important the capacity to persevere, perseverance - how much that dictated who succeeded and who didn't. She was so interested in this, she went and trained as a psychologist in order to conduct research into this area.

The idea of the 'growth mindset'

She talks now about something called 'growth mindset'. So G R O W T H and M I N D S E T. What she means by 'growth mindset' is the awareness that if you work hard at something, your brain, your mind will get better at doing it. You're not constrained by how good you are right now, or how bad you are right now. Things can improve with practice. That's having a 'growth mindset'. How good you are is not already determined. It can get better if you try hard, if you work at it.

Listening Lessons

Intelligence is no protection against self-doubt and may open you up to 'Imposter Syndrome'

I would echo this too. One of the things I've noticed in my practice that I find really interesting - some of the most intelligent people are the ones with low self-esteem and most self doubt. That's D O U B T. I've worked with people who are studying at the highest levels in academia. They're in universities pursuing a PhD or a doctorate.

So these are the really, really clever people, else they wouldn't be doing what they're doing. But bizarrely, they seem to be the people with the least self-esteem and the most self doubt.

They also seem often to suffer from what's called 'imposter syndrome'. An 'imposter', I M P O S T E R is someone who's 'pretending to be someone else'. They're not the real person. They're not the real deal. And often PhD students can find themselves feeling as though they're an 'imposter'. 'Sooner or later, everybody's going to find out that I'm not that intelligent and I will be removed from the university' or whatever. That's 'imposter syndrome'.

Why do some very clever people suffer from so much self doubt?

OK, so how does this happen? Well, the sense I've made of it when I'm doing my psychotherapy work is that these things are connected. This cleverness, this intelligence, super intelligence, if you like, and the self-doubt are somehow connected.

If you are very clever, super brainy as a child, the adults around you probably pick up on this quite quickly. It's obvious and you get praised for being so intelligent. It becomes 'your brand', if you like. So you're praised for your natural ability, the innate intelligence that you already have. It's the ability that you were born with.

If you're clever, if you're intelligent like this, then you're probably less likely to be praised for putting in effort for how hard you work, even if you are failing, even if you're not succeeding.

You're less likely to be praised for doing badly at something and picking yourself up and having another go. That's the experience that most people have. But if you're super clever, perhaps less so.

So 'normal' people, hopefully in a good environment, get praised for their perseverance. Very clever people get praised for their ability.

Failure can be catastrophic if you're not used to it

Often people who're studying for something like a PhD, may never have had the experience of failing at something, and they may live in absolute fear and dread of failing. Sometimes the first experience of failure is a failed driving test. And it 'knocks them for six', as we say. That means they have a really, really hard time getting over, failing their driving test.


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The advantage of not succeeding!

So it's the children who are less brainy, less clever, less naturally good at things who tend to learn. ' Oh dear, right? I'm not very good at this. I'm going to have to put some more effort in. Maybe I'll be able to do it then when I've worked at it'.

And these children often have the experience of that effort being rewarded. They get better. They succeed, they improve.

And this is quite powerful. When the praise comes, these people, these children know that they've earned it. They know why they're being praised. They've put in a lot of effort and this can really build your self-esteem and your confidence.

You feel more able to tackle difficult things if you're confident that your hard work has paid off in the past. And if you're familiar with failing or not doing very well initially, perhaps it doesn't put you off so easily. You just persevere.

But clever children don't get so much of this experience. Their natural talent, their innate ability is a little bit more mysterious. It doesn't necessarily feel under their control in the same way.

'Cleverness' doesn't feel under your control

And sometimes these very clever people worry 'What if I can't do it? What if my cleverness deserts me? What will people think, then?'

What makes it worse is that the clever people are known for being clever. That's possibly all they've ever had praise for. So they're very identified with being smart, with being intelligent.

There's quite a lot of expectation from other people on these intelligent human beings. So these people, these clever people suffer from having high expectations, their own high expectations and other people's high expectations. So any prospect of failure feels catastrophic.

So what does this mean for those of us who are parents and how can we treat ourselves better to improve our self-esteem?

Praise mainly for effort, rather than intelligence

Well, if you have a clever child, it's fine to praise them sometimes for how smart they are, how intelligent they are, how clever they are. But it's really, really important to find opportunities to praise them for the amount of effort they put in.

Praise, the hard work rather than the result, even when they haven't succeeded. In fact, it's even more important to praise them when they haven't succeeded than when they have, if they're clever. Make effort the thing that gets the good parental attention.

And turn this on yourself. Notice when you've made a lot of effort and you've worked hard for an improvement - that should earn you some self-esteem.

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Encourage the notion of the 'growth mindset'

Encourage also this 'growth mindset' idea in your children. Demonstrate to them, give them examples of how if you work at something, you get better at it. Often when children are learning a musical instrument or in sport, that's a good lesson in how pretty much everybody is bad at these things to begin with. You only get good through practice, through effort. So if you're bad at something at the start, don't be put off, accept that that's a normal stage in the development process. No one wakes up in the morning and suddenly speaks fluent Spanish when they didn't already, or fluent English for that matter. It takes effort!

So let your children see that you struggle with things. You have to work at things too.

Resist 'rescuing'

And don't rescue your child always when they're struggling. They need to experience things being difficult and not being put off. I don't mean something that's impossible, but let them experience difficulty and let them struggle with it a bit. That way children learn not to be put off by a challenge.

Of course, highly relevant to language learning!

And of course, I don't need to tell you that all of this is highly relevant to language learning. You learn English according to the amount of effort you put in.

With effort and the right type of learning activity, like Adept English, you will succeed in your language learning. I've got much more on this topic if you're interested. So give us some feedback, let us know!


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

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