I can’t speak English (YET)!

The older you get, the more adept you become at learning languages. Wishful thinking or reality?

The inclusion of a single word, yet, at the end of a limiting belief determines how we frame our limitation. Without ‘yet’ the statement reinforces our current state of incompetence and concludes this to be our perpetual status. However, when we include ‘yet,’ we acknowledge our current skill deficit and (subconsciously) commit to applying the effort needed the alter this state of being. These two mind states are the subject of this month’s blog about having a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. And how learning English with Flowently can put you (as a non-native speaker) in a position to reap the benefits of being in the growth mindset category.

Challenge for experts

After spending years building your professional career to a point where you consider yourself competent, it can be daunting to suddenly be asked to acquire a new skill. The fear of possibly losing face or making mistakes can evoke a prevention-focused attitude that causes you to avoid the vulnerability associated with learning something new. These feelings are characteristic of a fixed mindset. The good news, however, is that these aversive feelings need not persist, especially when the new skill you need to acquire is a new language.

Getting older, growing smarter

Although some of our mental faculties tend to diminish as we age, learning languages seems to be an exception to the rule. Studies have shown that as they age, people tend to grow their vocabulary and understanding of grammar in their native and foreign languages. So what does that mean for you? Well, for starters, it is an open invitation into the world of growth-minded individuals by using language to initiate your transition from a fixed to a growth mindset.

If fear of learning a new language has placed you in the category of a fixed mindset our intention is not to make you feel dejected, because this would only perpetuate the characteristics of this limiting belief system. Instead, our intention is to highlight that it is possible to shift from a fixed to a growth mindset. In contrast to those with a fixed mindset, people with a growth mindset are learning-oriented. They are promotion-focused, seeing the profit and personal advancement that come as a direct result of applying effort to the attainment of a new skill. Learning (business) English is thus the perfect catalyst to begin this transition.

Language hack, learn English to improve your mother tongue

Learning a foreign language has been proven to strengthen native language vocabulary and proficiency. This effect is particularly strong when the foreign language is English, reinforcing the far-reaching positive effects of increasing your English proficiency. This, combined with the knowledge that the older you get, the more adept you become at learning languages, should give you the confidence to step out of the fixed language mindset.

However, if you remain hesitant to take up English as a new language, rest assured of Flowently’s dedicated and skilled English tutors’ commitment to helping you enjoy the innumerable benefits of a growth mindset as we guide you through the process.

Written by Mike Plaatjies


Sources: Word knowledge in the crowd: Measuring vocabulary size and word prevalence in a massive online experiment
Emmanuel Keuleers , Michaël Stevens, Paweł Mandera, and Marc Brysbaert
Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium
(first published online 9 April 2015 in THE QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY)

Published by: Flowently

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