To succeed in any field, you must above all be passionate about your subject, it is well known.
But has the following happened to you: you are passionate about a field, you devote all your time and all your energy to it, and despite this you don't progress? Me, it happened several times, but I think I found the reason why it happened to me, and at the same time the remedy for it. I will give in this post an example: How I started to make significant progress in learning English? But you can apply this method to any learning.
I will start with a memory of my adolescence. When I was 12 to 18, I was fond of the game of chess. More than that, I was a real addict: I spent hours there to the detriment of any other activity. I dreamed of one day becoming a great champion, and when I wasn't playing, I worked alone: I analyzed master games, I learned opening's variations and final's techniques.
I had for professor Moshe Czerniak, an international master, who had been several times Israel's champion. One day, I told him about my disappointment at making little progress, while I was spending my days analyzing dozens of master games.
He answered me as follows: I understand that. It starts with you from a good intention which is that of not missing anything and learning as much as possible. But as we say: "Who embraces too much, badly hugs!" This is not the right way to progress! When you analyze dozens of games, in fact you are just daydreaming: you don't learn, you run into the same pitfalls all the time, and you miss the real questions. My advice to you is to analyze one game at each time, only one, but to tear it up, to slaughter it, to assassinate it, I mean to examine it from every angle. Don't just scroll through dozens of moves one after the other: Focus on that game. Think about the moves that weren't done, but could have been. Think about the openings, combinations and finals of that particular game, etc. Between us, I did not follow his advice and I was probably wrong.
Today I am retired. I am writing this blog, and I have given myself the challenge of translating it into English, a language that I do not speak well. But for that, I spend a large part of my time studying the Shakespeare' tongue.
At the beginning, I made the same mistake as before with chess: In order to be sure to acquire the maximum and not to waste my time, I started to watch films, one after the other, to read books, to listen to podcasts, to learn words, to listen to songs in English, to review my grammar, and to subscribe to loads of websites. I quickly realized that despite my efforts, I was making very little progress.
And then, one sleepless night, to which I am accustomed in parentheses, I had this flash of genius: I remembered the advice that Moshe Czerniak had given me, peace to his soul, and I wondered if he hadn't been right after all. I decided to take only one text in each of my study's sessions and to assassinate it.
If you are interested in the details of my method:
- I subscribed to the site www.ted.com whose members can receive a link to a text on YouTube every day.
- At the same time, I discovered an excellent site: www.youglish.com which allows you to submit links from YouTube, then listen to them, with English subtitles, and the possibility of clicking on any word, in order to discover its meaning, listening to the text by doing as many backtrackings as you want.
Then I "assassinated" my first text as follows:
- I read the text for the first time with the subtitles.
· Vocabulary: I checked the meaning of new words, their synonyms and their pronunciations.
· I asked myself a thousand questions not only about words and expressions that I didn't know, but also about those I knew and which often gave me problems: For example, when do we use "do" instead of "make", "in", "by" instead of "for" and vice versa, etc.
· I paid attention to the grammar points I encountered.
· I paid attention to the points of phonetics.
· I have read the text and I have recorded myself.
· Then I concentrated on the general meaning of the text.
· I took notes.
· I summarized the text.
· I checked if I was able to talk about my text, while reading my notes, or even without reading them, to my English teacher.
- Then I decided to review my text after a week, paying attention to all these points again.
I did my best, knowing that I will not achieve perfection.
For this text, the recording of which only lasted only a few minutes, I worked hard for two hours.
I noticed the following things:
- The more I worked with this method on new texts, the easier it was, and the less time I needed.
- When now, I start listening to a text, without working on it, for example when I listen to a film or the news, it's much easier for me.
I explain all this by the fact that I have created automatisms for myself, which now function as reflexes.
I warmly recommend this method, you will tell me about it! I only ask you not to report me to the police as a serial assassin 😊