Episode 65: When Progress Isn't Helpful


9 April 2024

26 mins 5 secs

Season 4

Your Hosts

About this Episode

As language learners, we always want progress, right? We all want to move forward, learning new words and taking in the grammar. Yet, many times in my language journey, I've found myself making some progress just to look back and realize that the progress I made was actually the opposite of helpful. Instead, it was holding me back from reaching my goals faster and in a more enjoyable way. And it really comes down to hanging on to tools, methods, or resources that just aren't right for you and your goals. I'm talking here about ignoring red flags.

We all want to make progress in our languages, but if we’re making progress in a resource just for the sake of finishing the resource or just because someone else said it’s good or because we’re afraid of change, then that progress isn’t the type of language advancement that we want. I've forced myself, several times, to keep using a resource just because I was seeing some results. I was learning new words. I was remembering a few things. I did learn some of the language. But, I hated opening the program. I dreaded coming back to it. But I was afraid that ditching it would be worse because I was making some progress. Looking back, it's easy to see that I would have been better off leaving the thing behind and seeking out language tools that were more effective for my needs and that would lead to greater progress. Looking back, it's easy to see that those negative feelings of dread and loathing were huge red flags screaming at me to change things up. But instead, I let my fear of failure get in the way, and I stuck it out far longer than was helpful...because there was some progress.

It doesn’t help anyone to stick with something that just isn’t working. If there are red flags, do not stay. Move on to a new method, a new resource, a new tool. Sometimes "progress" is actually an illusion. Sometimes progress is slower than it needs to be. Sometimes we keep progressing, but we're simultaneously forging a negative bond with our languages because of the negative feelings we have for a resource. So today I share some of my experiences making unhelpful progress and provide some questions you can ask yourself if you find yourself in the same situation with your language.

Related Episodes:
Episode 16: Forging A Joyful Bond With Your Languages
Episode 29: Sunk Costs in Language Learning

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Love, Joy, and Languages Blog
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