Every time that Benny Lewis posts on his fabulous blog, Fluent in 3 Months, I feel incredibly guilty. That because he puts all of us language learners to shame by his dedication to speak a language fluently in 3 months. He somehow juggles working full-time with learning a language and still has an active social life.
But this isn’t a post of how in awe I am of Benny, but instead a reflection on his last post, which talks about getting out of your comfort zone on a daily basis to improve your language learning. He writes about the frustration we all feel when we try to speak and negotiate our way through life in a foreign language. Instead of looking at the frustration in a negative way, like I’m guilty of, he turns it into a positive. The frustration you feel is a motivator to improve your language learning. The more frustration you feel on a more frequent basis, the better. This is because you are constantly challenging yourself instead of remaining in your comfort zone.
I raise my hand of being guilty of pretty much everything he mentions when talking about staying in your comfort zone: going to class but letting the teacher or other students speak most of the time, only doing homework prescribed to me, not really pushing myself when speaking German and at the end of day bitching to my expat friends in English about how challenging I find German. Guilty as charged!
However, after seeing that I’m doing myself no favours by trying to learn German this way, I’m going to endeavour to frustrate and embarrass myself more in an effort to give my German a good kick along. I really want to become conversational in German so I can participate more in German life and if that takes some personal pain, then so be it. Will it work? Who knows, but I figure it’s worth a shot.