Welcome! Today’s article is about the frustrations we all face when learning a language. You’re not alone! But there are a few mindsets you need to get rid of before you can become a fearless and successful learner.

Fearless Learner

Become a Fearless Learner: The Five Things You Need to Stop Telling Yourself


Learning a language is a journey. Don’t expect to follow a straight and smooth path to success. You will encounter ups and downs, and sometimes even bumpy roads. This is why you have to be prepared to face some frustrations when things don’t go your way.

These frustration can be a real problem sometimes, and some learners even give up because of them. So it is important to know them and to anticipate them. Here are the most common complaints you’ll hear a language learner say and that you should remove from your vocabulary. Check out Cédric’s video below, or watch it directly on our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe!


5 Thoughts You Have to Push Out of Your Mind

“I am not making any progress”

You took the plunge and you started to learn a language. Fast forward to a few months later, and you are not motivated any longer because you don’t feel that you have improved at all.

Consequence: you are not motivated and you want to give up.

Cause: most probably, your goal was to “learn this language” which is very vague.

How can you accurately measure your progress if you’re not able to compare your skills with a concrete goal? This is why it is important to define a clear and precise goal at the beginning so that you can actually compare your current situation with both your starting point and your target point. It is crucial to take a step back and realize how much progress you’ve achieved every once in a while. But this will make a lot more sense if your goal is clearly defined. Memorizing a certain number of words in 3 months is for example easy to track. Speaking the language in three months is way too vague.

“I feel like I keep on forgetting everything”

You will complain about this one when you are practicing and you notice that you have forgotten quite a few things compared to the last time you practiced.

Consequence: you are not motivated and you want to give up.

Cause: Of course we all have bad days sometimes. You will have some days when you’ll be awesome, and some other when you’ll feel you can’t say or understand a single thing. Depending on your mood or your physical or mental condition, you might experience times when you are confused, even if you understood the topic perfectly just the day before.

However, this might also occur when your practice sessions are not regular enough. Your memory will not be stimulated enough of a time and you will face difficulties repeating what you’ve learned. Again, focus on regularity, even if this means less work. Too much of it and you may lose your motivation over time.

“I can’t find the right word when I want to speak”

You eventually found an opportunity to speak after all this time learning. And… you’re not even able to say a single thing. So all that work for… nothing?

Consequence: you are not motivated and you want to give up.

Cause: Theory and practice are two different things, and if you want to be a fearless learner, you have to get your hands dirty. You can learn as many words as you want, and practice a language for hours on your own but if you don’t practice with a real person in front of you, all this work won’t count for me. It’s like reading about swimming and actually swimming – totally different experiences! If you want to get rid of this feeling, you need to speak as soon as possible when you start to learn a language. Get a language partner online and start slowly. You will gradually feel more comfortable as you develop a habit of speaking in a different language. Check out this video about online language exchanges if you want to know more.

“Natives don’t understand when I try to speak”

The situation is similar to the previous one, it’s just you don’t have a problem expressing yourself. The person in front of you who has question marks in their eyes. The native speaker doesn’t understand you even if you repeat what you say slowly.

Consequence: you are not motivated and you want to give up.

Cause: Pronunciation is usually overlooked when learning a language. Traditional methods don’t focus much on the topic and you tend to guess pronunciation from reading rather than from hearing. That’s exactly how you develop bad pronunciation habits. This is why it’s important to check your pronunciation of words by comparing it with that of a native.

You might encounter new sounds that are not familiar to you because they don’t exist in your mother tongue. It is important to practice these as soon as possible in the learning process.

“This grammar is crazy! I will never wrap my head around it”

So you decided to dig deeper into the grammar of the language you are studying and started reading a book and doing some exercises. Two days later, you haven’t understood much more and you have a bad headache.

Consequence: you are not motivated and you want to give up.

Cause: grammar is one of the most technical parts of a language. Again, this is a case of theory versus practice. Grammar is the theory on how to speak and write correctly. The thing is you are going to make mistakes when you will be practicing, a lot. That’s why memorizing a lot of complicated rules won’t help at the beginning of your studies.

It’s better to practice by listening and repeating and to consult grammar rules when it’s really necessary. You will actually pick up on quite a bit of grammar as you practice without even knowing it. So don’t worry too much at the beginning if it looks scary to you. Yes, I’m looking at you, German grammar! Like I said I’m facing a lot of frustration about German grammar at the moment.


Ready to become a fearless learner? The first step is to admit your problem: what are your frustrations related to language learning? Let’s talk about it in the comments and until then, have a good one and happy fearless learning!