Change your attitude to learn a language more easily

The other day, I was working with one of my students on an exercise debating the difference between "Übung" (practice) and "Begabung" (innate talent). She had written a little text on the subject and included this beautiful image I wanted to share.

Begabung ist wie eine Wurzel. Man muss graben, um sie zu finden.
— Talent is like a root - you have to dig to find it.

The image is lovely, and doesn't it just ring so true? Innate talents rest in all of us, but we cannot expect them to manifest without our own contributions. Practice is a little bit like digging in that sense - you have to work hard on finding the roots and then the best talents can grow.

In that sense, I decided to collect a few more great sayings from various languages which sum up how practice and talent are related. Do you agree with them?

— More practice means improvement - Chinese saying
Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.
— No master has ever fallen from the sky - German saying

I find that many learners, and language learners too, feel as if they have to be perfect right from the start, and forget that it is in fact practice which makes you better at your craft. Languages are no exception in this: Remember: there is no gene, there is no innate magical talent, there is a benefit to practice. As another student quoted recently:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
— Wayne Gretzky, hockey champion

The secret to easy language learning in changing your attitude. Stop willing yourself to be a super-fast learner. Stop thinking you have to prove you're smart by remembering all vocab the first time round. Language is about so much more - it's a way of life, not just a school subject and certainly more than a competition. Take the scenic route.

The last word for today goes to a truly inspirational Twitter post: