How psychology and your mindset will boost your Spanish

Your psychology will define your success in your Spanish learning. If you really want to be fluent you need to change your mindset.

Is your goal to speak Spanish in 6 months or less?

Do you feel embarrassed, nervous or frustrated whenever you try to speak Spanish?

Do you feel that Spanish is difficult and sometimes even boring?

Have you felt frustrated because Spanish native speakers talk too fast for you?

Let me tell you something:

There was a time when I felt just like you feel right now. In my case, this happened to me when I tried to learn the international language of the world: English.

Today, if you watch one of my videos in English, you will hear me speaking fluently, and without any kind of problem to express myself. There have even been people who have thought that I’m a native English speaker, however, this wasn’t always like that.

Here’s my story…

When I was about to finish high school, I could only speak my mother tongue (Spanish). However, in school, they required me to get a high score in English to graduate.

Obviously, my parents wanted me to graduate, so they paid an institute to teach me English. I went to this place for 6 months.

At the beginning of the course, I thought that after so much time, I was finally going to fulfill my dream of learning to speak English once in for all.

Six months later, I found out that I knew many grammar rules, I could even read English well, but I couldn’t speak fluently.

Whenever I spoke English, it didn’t sound natural. I couldn’t pronounce the words correctly and even worse, I couldn’t understand native speakers.

After I finished my English course, I didn’t have any problems to graduate because most parts of the final test were written, and I got an excellent score on that test.

My problem was when the teacher made me speak, like in the final oral test.

I had to stand in front of the class to tell them how to make a salad in English… Thank God those days are gone!

The bottom line is that I finished high school without knowing how to speak English.

Up until that point, it was just a frustrated dream.

And then something changed…

It turns out my cousins from the U.S. came to Colombia to visit us. Despite they were 9 and 5 years old, they could speak English and Spanish fluently and perfectly.

I was so shocked…!

My parents paid an expensive institute for me. Nonetheless, I end up speaking like an android running with windows 95 as an operating system.

Now, these little girls were perfectly speaking in both languages and making fun of me all the time.

However, because I loved English, I tried to speak in this language with them all the time.

We played, we hung out and we had a lot of fun, but their visit lasted only one week.

It was a very short time,but I had learned more English during this week than in the 6 months that I spend in the English institute… What was different?

I wasn’t in school, but I was a kid again

When I took the English course, classes were three hours a day sitting on a chair.

I remember feeling bored listening to the teacher, and anxious when speaking English with classmates (especially if they were girls).

I just wanted to go home as soon as possible.

It was very different when I spent time with my cousins.

We were always doing something fun.

We laughed and played games, they tried to drown me in the pool,

Yet, and most importantly: We spoke English all the time.

From the institute, I can only remember a fun teacher who spoke really loud, but from the short week that I spent with my cousins, I can even remember exact phrasesthat I learned from them.

Your psychology and mindset to learn Spanish

Looking back and after having read research and methods by AJ Hoge and Stephen Krashen, I can tell you this: My psychology changed when I hung out with my cousins, why do I say this?

Well, there were two clear differences when I went to the English institute to when I met my cousins.

  • During class: I was bored, frustrated, I was a shy person so having to interact with people caused me anxiety, and also (I must admit this…) I was too lazy to study English.
  • When I learned English from my cousins:It was really fun and we were having fun all the time.

In his book, Effortless English: Learn To Speak English Like A Native, AJ Hoge says that positive thinking helps us learn a language faster and easily,just like me when I was learning English with my cousins.

We were smiling, laughing and jumping all the time. Everything was positive!

I hope you don’t consider my next request useless because, I promise: This is going to help you learn Spanish, just as hanging out with my cousins helped me when I wanted to learn English.

Your ritual to learn Spanish

Before you take any kind of Spanish lesson or any Spanish course, do something that increases your energy, something that makes you feel happy and positive, for example:

Do some physical exercise, yell, smile, move your body and whenever you feel good or positive, that’s the time for you to start using your Spanish lessons.

If you notice that your energy drops down, maybe you start to get bored or feel sad, then it’s time for you to go back to your “ritual” like moving your body, stretching, smiling and yelling.

You need to create positive emotions to connect them with Spanish.If you do this, you’d be doing the same thing I did unconsciously, when I really started to learn to speak English with my cousins, remember: I was having a good time, and it was all positive when I played with my cousins.

Remember: Create a ritual for your mind before every Spanish lesson; do this by using positive emotions to increase your energy and then get to work on your Spanish.

Diego Cuadros is a blogger and a Spanish online teacher. He uses stories to help Spanish lovers understand fast-speaking native speakers, so they don't freeze and panic in conversations.

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