by Marc Anderson

9 Obstacles to Learning English and How Top Rock Songs Can Help Turn Obstacles Around

Sharing their sound with the fans

Just Give Me a Reason (Pink) to not learn English.  I’ve heard them all. Emotional Obstacles. Check. Mental Obstacles. Check. Time restrictions, organizational challenges, motivational obstacles.  Check. Check. Check. Lack of mental flexibility.  Heard that one. Unrealistic expectations.  Yup, that one, too. Negative self-talk…negative self-concept.  Haven’t we all been there, before?  Cost factors.  Who doesn’t think about money?  And on and on and on…

  1. Emotional Obstacles: Feelings of defeat, worry or fear when you think of studying a language or when you first start.  These emotional states will block your ability to learn a language, that’s for sure.  Language learning is natural and should be somewhat easy for anyone to learn. You need to Feel this Moment (Pitbull) and be positive.  Think about the positives of learning.  It’s interesting to learn a language and a culture, you meet new people and you can explore new opportunities.
  2. Mental Obstacles: Starting from the Bottom?(Drake) Thoughts of I can’t learn this…I can’t memorize…I’m not smart enough…I’m wasting my time…I’m too old….I’ve done this before and it just does not work, etc. These reoccurring negative thoughts about learning actually prevent learning.  There is little truth to them and the more your mind thinks about these things, the more you tend to believe they are true. Replace them with the thoughts I can learn anything! I can learn everything!
  3. Time restrictions: Everything seems so fast-paced. Every day.  There is never enough time. With a demanding work schedule, long commutes, obligations to family and relatives, there seems to be less free time in your life.  There is less time for yourself, that’s for sure. How to fit in exercise or a dinner out?  How to find quiet time with your spouse or significant other?  How to enjoy the day, the week and month, the season before it slips into the past.  But perhaps you can juggle a few responsibilities or trade-off some of that “wasted time” like if you watch a lot of television or play video games or maybe you sleep a lot.  Tell yourself that language learning is a positive choice in our life and that It’s Time! (Imagine Dreams) Think of it this way, learning another language is a healthy outlet for you.  It’s good for your brain.  It’s good socially.  With so many choices of learning, you can learn from your home and any time of the day 24/7.  So maybe you can agree that time really isn’t an issue after all and that you just might be saving time in learning a language.
  4. Organizational Obstacles: Don’t know of any materials or programs. You think that there aren’t programs and materials that can help teach you. You think it’s old-fashioned to study and somewhat boring.  Or you might need some study tips on how and what to study. You’ve forgotten what it takes to study, to memorize, to build on learning and move forward.  Well, that’s fine.  That’s what your teachers are for.  They can help you succeed.  There are hundreds of ways to learn English; you just need to start on The Way. (Ariana Grande) They can outline an individualized program just for you.  And you can have a say in what you want to learn, how you want to learn it, and when you learn best.
  5. Motivational Obstacles: Motivation is Gone Gone Gone. (Philip Phillips) It’s okay.  You can be honest.  Maybe you don’t really want to learn another language or about another culture.  Maybe you don’t enjoy languages and study.  Those are internal motivators.  Are there some other things that motivate you to learn a language?  Maybe there are some external motivators?   Think for a while.  How about a way to move up in your job or to get a job that you have always dreamt about?  How about a means to relate better to those acquaintances, friends or business associates (and maybe even in-laws or relatives) who speak English?  How about the avenue to complete college or graduate study in meeting necessary requirements of foreign language study? Or maybe a good friend or your spouse wants to study with you?  Try to think of something to get you going.  Reward yourself along the way.  Imagine yourself succeeding and then you can get that job, speak freely to anyone who knows English, graduate from that program, enjoy time with your friends/spouse in learning.  And you can have a final reward for electing to study and doing well.  A trip? Some material item you always wanted?  A fancy dinner out?  It’s up to you.  You’ve earned it.
  6. Lack of Mental Flexibility: Are you mumbling that expression “Can’t teach an old dog, new tricks!”  So, that’s what you think.  Haven’t you read about all those people who accomplished things later in life? Well, Cruise (Florida Georgia Line) along with me and I’ll share a few stories. Some of these you may have heard. Some might be new.  Anyway, some you might agree are worth repeating.  Take Grandma Moses, for example.  In her 70’s Grandma Moses began to paint and at age 88, Mademoiselle named her “Young Woman of the Year”.  She was awarded an honorary degree from Philadelphia Moore College of Arts. How about Clara Barton known to the soldiers as an “angel on the battlefield”?   Clara Barton at age 60 founded the Red Cross and led this organization for 23 more years.  Have you heard of Peter Roget? Peter Roget at age 73, in retirement after being a successful medical doctor, invented the thesaurus known as the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. He worked on this listing until age 90. Most people just call this book a thesaurus these days.  And Colonel Sanders at the age of 65 launched Kentucky Fried Chicken after dropping out in 6th grade and “failing” at dozens of jobs.  Sanders cashed his first social security check when his luck ran out and he did not have a job or income. With that, he opened a franchise.  And then another one, right down the street.  Ten years later, there were more than 600 restaurants in Canada and the US; restaurants that were bearing his famed picture.  In 1964, Sanders sold the company for 2 million dollars.  Today, KFC is in 109 countries at 15,000 locations.  So you want to think twice about saying that an “old dog can’t learn new tricks?”  Tell yourself that you can do it.  And it will happen. It is never too old.
  7. Unrealistic Expectations: So you hear those commercials and read the ads about learning a language in 3-easy-steps or mastering Chinese in 7 days?  Or maybe you think that learning is so laborious and endless that you will never learn it in a million years!  Let’s look at the situation realistically.  Both of these thoughts are to the extremes. You can’t master a language in such a limited time and it is not out of the question to learn. It is within your reach.  There are millions of people the world over who speak multiple languages.  It is actually quite common.  So it is very realistic to expect you to learn, too.  Just take the first step to sign up Next to Me (Emeli Sande) and you will be on your way.  It doesn’t really matter how long it takes to learn, just that you are learning something and progressing.  And with the right mindset, that is exactly what you will be doing. Just expect it and it will happen.
  8. Negative Self-Concept and Negative Self-Talk: Okay.  We’ve all been there.  If only we were smarter or taller, if only we were faster or younger, if only we were more attractive or skinnier or wealthier, etc. These thoughts waste time.  We will never be able to do anything new or out of the norm, if our mind is filled with such convictions. If we spend more time on wishing we were a certain way rather than taking actual steps towards any goal, it will never happen.  Tell yourself that you will do it and that you are capable, and then begin.  In fact, tell yourself that again, and even Scream and Shout! (Will.i.am) That’s one way to gain confidence.  Now go to that bookstore and buy a dictionary (or thesaurus, thanks to Roget) or look at some language programs and software online, and take a few minutes to browse online English programs like TalktoCanada.com and read about convenience, choices and cost.  Add a few positive steps and you’ll have a positive self-concept to match, and then you’ll be on your way to learning English and positive talk from now on.
  9. Cost Factors: Okay, I know. I know. I get it.  Money is tight these days for everyone.  But language study is more affordable than you realize.  Check out some programs and see for yourself.  Or you might want to ask for those lessons for a birthday or holiday gift, reward yourself with English studying after reaching some goal you reached in life, or manage to put a little aside from each paycheck and purchase the language learning plan you want.  And then you will be ready to Come and Get It. (Selena Gomez)

 

 

Now, I dare you to Just Give Me a Reason (Pink) not to study English! Come join the over one billion people from around the world who are speaking English today. Decide right now.  Write to me and let me know. What does it feel like now that you have made up your mind to study English and that you are on your way to learning English? Maybe you want to take a break from reading this online blog and listen to some of your own favorite songs?  But first, can I ask you to do something? It will take a few seconds. Please read a few more comments about what English study can mean and do for you:

I Love It! (Icona Pop)

Can’t Hold Us (Down)! Macklemore and Lewis

(I’m) Alive! (Krewlla)

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As for me, I need to Carry On (Fun) while it’s still Daylight (Maroons) and get some things done for TalktoCanada.com.  You might want to check us on the web when you can. Write to me and I’ll tell you more about the variety of programs, materials, teachers, choices, prices, and anything else you want to know. We offer 100% satisfaction.  Read some student testimonials of how helpful the program has been and what has worked for them. Maybe you are in the same situation and that it is motivating to read what other students have said. Work with us and we can make it happen.  Remember, our goal is to make it work for you. Classes can be arranged around your schedule and within your budget. Together, we’ll help banish those obstacles for good.  Here’s hoping that you will see the Beauty and a Beat (Justin Beiber) in language, and studying English will give you Wings (Little Mix) to soar to new adventures – whatever and wherever that may be.

About the author:

Marc Anderson is the co-founder and CEO of TalktoCanada. Since founding the company in 2006, he has grown it to over 25 staff with operations in 50 countries. Marc spends his time outside of TalktoCanada travelling, playing with his son and working on new business projects.

  • Yes, I’ve come up with my share of excuses over the years…
    Nice article – thanks!

    • We’ve all come up with excuses that stop us from achieving success in English and life 🙂

  • Yes, I’ve come up with my share of excuses over the years…
    Nice article – thanks!

    • We’ve all come up with excuses that stop us from achieving success in English and life 🙂

  • bahdon

    hi there