Automatic English For The People
Hello and welcome to the next lesson “Emotional Mastery 2.” So in Emotional Mastery 1 we learned about changing our physiology, changing our bodies to change our emotions. Remember in that less I said there are two ways to change your emotions. Number one is physiology, we talked about that. There is something else you can change so you can be in a peak emotional state as you learn English and that is your focus, your mental focus. What you think about consistently, that will change your emotion also. So what do I mean by mental focus? How do you change your mental focus? What should you focus on? What should you not focus on?
First, let’s talk about the negative. What should you not focus on? Try to remember when you were in school in your English classes. What did you focus on when you were in school? What did you think about, worry about, consistently, frequently? Well probably tests, right? That was one I always thought about. You probably were focused on tests a lot. “I gotta pass this test, I gotta pass this test.” Tests, and then grades.
“Will I get an A? Will I get a B? Will I get a C? Will I fail this course?” So you were thinking about judgment, other people judging you, the teacher judging you, getting a grade, getting a score. How did you feel about that? When you think about tests, tests, tests a lot and you think a lot about a score, a grade, A, B, C.
Or maybe now you’re thinking about the TOEFL exam and you’re worried “What number will I get on the TOEFL exam?” How does that affect your emotions? Do you feel more relaxed or more stressful? Well, most people feel more stressful, of course. The more you think about judgment, the more you think about a test score, the more nervous you become, the more worried you become. And that’s not good. You actually learn more slowly when you’re worried. You learn more slowly when you’re nervous, when you have anxiety.
Again, I’ll talk about Dr. Stephen Krashen, our favorite researcher. Anxiety is a major part of his research. It is the single number one most negative factor in language acquisition, in language learning. Anxiety means worry or stress and there are many, many studies about this. They study different language learners, study different English learners. And they put them in a situation where they are more stressed or more worried. And they have others that are in a more relaxed situation. And the relaxed students always learn better and faster.
So let’s say after six months the relaxed students will have better grammar, better pronunciation, better listening and understanding, better writing skill, better everything. The anxious students, the worried, nervous students, the stressed students, of course, have worse pronunciation, worse speaking ability, less vocabulary, worse writing, less listening comprehension, listening understanding. So what was happening in school was you were actually learning to fail. You were training yourself to be stressed and nervous. You were training yourself to focus on things, tests, grades, teacher’s opinion of you, that make you feel nervous and that nervousness made you learn more slowly. So you don’t want to focus on that.
Something else you don’t want to focus on. You don’t want to focus on every small step to reach your goal. Your goal is to speak excellent English, to feel strong and confident when you speak. That’s a great goal. But what happens if you focus on everything you must do to reach the goal? For example, you think «Oh god, to become a great speaker that means I’ve got to study every day. I’ve got to learn 20,000 vocabulary words. I’ve got to listen to 2 or 3,000 hours of English.” How does that make you feel? Probably a little nervous, probably stressed, right, you think «Oh my god, it’s too much.” So you want to focus on the little individual steps because it’s going to seem huge, it’s going to seem so big it’s going to kill your motivation.
What else do you not want to focus on? Problems. Problems, so many students focus on problems. In my classes in San Francisco they come to me «AJ, my pronunciation is bad. AJ I make grammar mistakes.” Well, of course you do. You’re a student. You’re learning. It’s normal. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have problems sometimes. You’re going to make a mistake with your pronunciation. I do, I’m a native speaker, I’m an English teacher. I make mistakes all the time. It’s normal. You can’t focus on it. If you focus on it, if you focus on the negative, if you focus on mistakes, if you focus on problems your emotions become weaker and weaker. You actually get worse. So you just need to relax about this. Everybody is human. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s a normal thing.
Finally, you do not want to focus on the past. Most of my students have very negative experiences with English from the past. Most did not enjoy their English classes in school. When I ask about their past with English «Oh, oh, it was terrible.” People tell me, students tell me «I’m not good at English. I was always bad in my English classes. I’ve studied for 6 years, 8 years, 10 years, still I cannot speak well.” Focused on the past, well the past is not the same as the present. The past doesn’t equal the future as Tony Robbins likes to say.
And it’s true. In the past you used very old traditional methods that made you feel bad. Sitting in a class still, not moving, being graded and tested constantly. Studying boring grammar textbooks, that’s not a method for success for most people. Some people succeed with that but very few. So the past was different. You’re now learning in a very different way. You are different now. Don’t focus on the past.
Alright, so enough of what not to do. What should you focus on if you want to be happy, if you want to be excited, if you want to learn very quickly, faster than before. What should you focus on? What should you think about consistently all the time? Well number one, instead of focusing on the little steps and all the little problems, instead focus on the end result. The final result, that’s what you need to focus on. Focus on your ultimate success.
So in other words use your imagination and see yourself, imagine yourself speaking English fluently, quickly. Imagine yourself smiling as you speak English with a native speaker. Imagine yourself feeling strong and confident as you speak English easily, effortlessly. Every day focus on this thought, the end result. What you will ultimately reach, ultimately achieve, what you will finally do. Focus on the end result every day, the final result. Do not focus on the little steps you must take every day. Focus on the final result every day.
Second, focus on the purpose, the reason you are learning English. I mean why? If your purpose is to take the TOEFL exam, you’re going to be stressed and depressed. Nobody is excited about a test, nobody I know. That’s not a good emotional thing to focus on. It’s not a good reason to learn English. Taking a test is a terrible reason because it makes you feel stressed, nervous, tired and bored. You need bigger, better reasons. Yes, maybe you need to take the TOEFL exam but why? Why do you want to pass the TOEFL exam? Maybe you want a great job that requires English, where you can use English in international trade perhaps.
Maybe you want to study in the United States, go to a University in the United States, have a great adventure in another country. Well that makes you feel good, right, thinking about that? Imagine yourself in New York City or in San Francisco, meeting native speakers, talking effortlessly, easily. Making new friends, a great new job with more money, now those are great things to focus on. So you want to focus on compelling strong reasons why you’re learning English, why it’s important, the benefits, things that make you feel great. Do not focus on a test, please.
So those are the two things, you focus on the end result and they’re related, they’re basically the same thing. Number two you focus on the reasons why, the purpose. So you have to imagine very vividly, very strongly in your head what it is you will finally do. See the end result. And then feel the emotions. The last step is you want to see the end result with emotion, let yourself feel that it’s real. So when you focus on speaking great English, feel the emotions. Feel proud. Feel happy. Feel confident. Smile big. Imagine how you will feel speaking excellent English.
Okay, so let’s review very quickly about focus. The main thing about focus, it’s very, very simple. You’re going to focus on the end result, the final result. You want to focus on the thing that makes you feel great, the situation, the benefits, all the great things that will improve in your life by speaking excellent English. That’s what you need to focus on every day. Write it down. Write down, make a list of all the great things that will happen in your life when you speak excellent English.
New friends, maybe? Maybe great new travel experiences. Maybe living or working abroad. Maybe a better job. I don’t know, you have to make your own list, but make it a big list. Write down all the great things that will happen in your life and then every day focus on those. Review those every day. Teach your brain to focus on these positive inspiring things, not on these negative things, not on problems, not on the past.
Okay, so that is it for this main speech on «Emotional Mastery 2.” Focus. Next let’s listen to the vocabulary and then we’ll have the mini-story.