6 Things Successful Language Learners Never Believe 6

6 things successful language learners never believe

Do you sometimes feel that something hard to define is stopping you from making progress in the language you’re learning? Do you feel that you’re putting in the effort but things are not working out as you would want them to? Perhaps you’re bothered by limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs are things that we make ourselves believe, and which constrain us in some way or stop us from achieving our true potential.

Let’s take a look at some limiting beliefs that many of us may sometimes hold. By naming them, you can take your first step on the way to getting rid of them!

1. “My past dictates my future”

Successful language learners don’t believe that because they struggled with something in the past, they will struggle again. They fail and make mistakes but they don’t let it stop them from tackling the problems they’re trying to solve again, and again, if necessary.

I used to think I could never learn German because I found noun cases extremely difficult when I was 17. That was when I was 17! Even if it was last year or last week, though, today is a new day and a new opportunity to make something difficult into something easy!

Never think that any of your past failures or mistakes will hold you back. You can be successful regardless of your language learning history.

2. “I don’t have the time”

Successful language learners don’t have more time that you do. They just make time (instead of making excuses). How much time have you spent scrolling down your Facebook feed without any specific purpose in the last week? How much time have you lost refreshing your inbox?

Successful language learners are aware of how they spend their time and where they can make efficiencies, and then make the time to learn their languages. If you need some inspiration, check out my post with some great productivity tips for language learners.

3. “It’s too difficult to achieve X”

Do you remember the time before you learned the first word in the language you’re learning? How ‘difficult’ would you find having a conversation in that language with a native speaker? Well, considering that you didn’t know a single word, probably quite difficult.

The more you learn and practise a skill, the less ‘difficult’ it becomes. Difficulty is in your head – it’s a perception rather than an absolute quality of something. Remember – nothing is difficult in language learning. There are just concepts, words and skills that you haven’t discovered or practised yet.

4. “Other people judge me”

Successful language learners don’t believe that other people judge them for their level of competence or fluency in the language they’re learning. If they did, they would be anxious about speaking, they would take fewer risks and, as a result, learn less and be less successful.

Don’t worry about what people will think about your level of fluency – they will most likely be impressed!

5. “I’m not naturally talented”

Do you have to be naturally talented to learn how to ride a bike? Probably not! Learning to ride a bike involves learning some basic principles and putting them into practice, and then practising a lot. Some people go on to become professional cyclists in the Tour de France and spend every waking hour training and getting fit. Just as some language learners go on to become polyglots.

Learning a language takes time and effort, and I really believe everyone can do it. Successful language learners don’t give up because they think they’re not talented. Instead, they identify the obstacles that are separating them from fluency and focus specifically on them.

6. “Other people find it easier to learn”

Everyone is different and everyone faces different challenges when learning a language. It’s true that what I’m finding difficult about Japanese is something you may find really easy. I’m sure, though, that I could find things I can grasp really quickly and you’ll take longer to understand.

It’s a massive generalisation to say that other people find it easier. Do you know what’s happening behind the scenes of their language learning journey? Maybe they’ve got methods or routines that you haven’t tried yet. Nobody becomes fluent overnight. It’s hard work – for everyone.

Are any of these beliefs something that you’ve ever thought about yourself? Share your experiences in the comments below!

P.S. You’re awesome and I believe in you!




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  • aziza

    My dear Agnieszki Murdoch I have read your article about ” 6 Things Successful Language Learners Never Believe”. It was written on 18 Jan, 2016 in Other bits and bobs tagged language learning. I completely agree with you because all 6 tips met during in my life. The great German poet Goethe once said: He who knows no foreign language does not know his own one. That’s why I think, if I intend to get knowledge of a foreign language, I should be hard worke, energetic and motivated. Furthermore, I always try to take time into consideration, I mean, time – management is one of the important case in learning language. But I want to say, LEARNING LANGUAGE is not easy for me. According to the your article I understand, I shuold not afraid from difficultes. I do not afraid to say may opinion in foreign language. I learn from your article I should believe in my myself. If I work more on myself, my knowledge will be betterand better. In additionally, I take very useful information for my learning style. I want you will write other articles about learning language. Because this kind of article helps to learn languages with enjoy. I concluted with quotes – “Happiness is learning a new language”.

    • Hi Aziza! Thank you for your comment! I like the Goethe quote you referred to – learning a foreign language gives you an insight into your own and into the way other people think and perceive the reality around them.

      Language learning requires hard work but hopefully with the tips in my post, it will seem easier because you will feel like there are no barriers – only new goals to set yourself and to achieve 🙂

      Take care and good luck!

  • I totally believed I wasn’t naturally talented for many years despite others telling me the opposite, then I realized that I spoke my English naturally and I was already speaking Russian very well.

    Great post Angieszka, thanks for sharing the wisdom!

    • Thanks for your comment Caleb! Sometimes it’s easy to go through life always learning but never stopping to reflect on what we already know. It’s important to celebrate our own successes, no matter how little they are!

      Take care and good luck with your future language pursuits.


  • Artha Dewi

    I love your article! thank you for sharing.

    I have always interested with languages since i was a kid. English is not my first language. I learned English since primary school, but i’ve never had a chance to completely use it. A few years back, i started to have foreign friends and it totally helped me to improve my English. And now English is part of my daily life.

    • Thank you for your comment Artha!

      It’s great to hear that English is becoming a more integral part of your everyday life. Making friends is a great way to learn languages – even if they’re just online friends 🙂

      Best wishes,