Lesson Transcript

Becky: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned all about tipping points.
Becky: ...Which are small victories or signs that let you know you’re on the right track.
Peter: For example, when you’re studying a language on a Friday night...
Becky: ...Or when your free time gets consumed by learning language...
Peter: ...and outweighs everything else that you normally do in your free time.
Becky: That’s when you’ve hit a tipping point.
Peter: This time, listeners, we’re talking about the dog days of learning a language.
Becky: Peter, what’s a... dog day?
Peter: You’ve heard the expression, right? A dog day is an idiom that actually originates from the Roman times for a really hot summer day...
Becky: Right...
Peter: But more so, it refers to a day where you just don’t want to do anything. And typically, really hot days will do that to you.
Becky: Have you been going through that, Peter? Skipping out on your Spanish learning?
Peter: Skipping? Becky, I am an unstoppable force on this mission! But, I have been feeling the heat this past month.
Becky: Oh?
Peter: And I’ve realized it’s one of the BEST times to sit down and study.
Becky: So listeners, today, we’re talking about...
Peter: Why your worst days are actually the best days to learn a language.
Becky: And in this Inner Circle, you’re going to learn...
Peter: One – exactly why these bad days happen. Or at least why they’ve happened to me this past month.
Becky: And Two:
Peter: Why you’ll get your best work done on your worst days.
Becky: But you still hit your goal, right?
Peter: Well... it was a struggle this time. I barely hit my 13 minutes.
Becky: What’s most interesting to me is that you had a really good streak going.
Peter: That’s right. March, April and May were all great months.
Becky: And you hit tipping points which meant you were on the right path. So, where are these bad days coming from?
Peter: Great question, Becky. And I think a lot of our listeners can relate.
Becky: Listeners, let us know if you’ve experienced days where you just didn’t want to work on your language. Why do you think it happened?
Peter: To answer this, let me give you some background info.
Becky: Alright. Here we go.
Peter: So up until now, my learning routines have been expanding. That’s how I hit the tipping points.
Becky: Right, that makes sense. So what do your routines look like?
Peter: On weekday mornings, I do 30 minutes of SpanishPod101 lessons on my commute with the Innovative Language 101 App. That’s 5 days a week.
Becky: Alright. How about evenings?
Peter: On Weekday evenings, Monday to Thursday, I’ll fit in another 30 to 40 minutes of self-study. Usually around 9PM, after the kids are asleep.
Becky: What do you do?
Peter: I work on the assignments given to me by my SpanishPod101 Premium PLUS teacher. I’ll send her any questions I have. Or, if I’m done with a reading, I’ll let her know. She’ll send me questions about the reading. I also review SpanishPod101 lessons and work with my own textbook.
Becky: What about your Skype lessons?
Peter: Those are on Friday nights. So Fridays, I’ll do an hour lesson with my Skype teacher.
Becky: I see. So, 5 days a week. And over 6 hours a week in total, right?
Peter: Exactly, so as you can see, my routines have grown these past few months.
Becky: They sure have!
Peter: The other side of tipping points is that you have a bigger workload. So...
Becky: ...some days, you don’t want to do it at all huh?
Peter: Exactly. You can definitely say that. It feels like work.
Becky: Or like a big essay that’s due tomorrow. That you haven’t started yet.
Peter: So, let’s get to that first point.
Becky: Why bad days happen with language learning.
Peter: When I say bad days, I don’t mean when you get too busy or when life happens. Those are unavoidable. These are bad days because you’re just not in the mood.
Becky: But otherwise... it’s a perfectly good day. The sun is shining. No bad news.
Peter: Right. But you just can’t get yourself to study.
Becky: You’re just wasting the day.
Peter: So, here’s why they happen. Or at least why they happen to me.
Becky: Listeners, you may have your own reasons as well.
Peter: Think of it as eating pizza every day for 5 days a week.
Becky: That’s a really unhealthy example, Peter.
Peter: But a really good one! The first 2 slices are great. But, by the third one...
Becky: Ugh... you’re probably already feeling greasy and unhealthy.
Peter: So doing it for 5 days a week, you’re getting sick of it. It’s work!
Becky: I see.
Peter: It’s the law of diminishing returns. You reach a point where the benefits...
Becky: ...Or the benefit of enjoying that pizza, in your case...
Peter: ...starts to decrease with each bite, or in the case of Spanish, language learning - time.
Becky: Alright, I can understand pizza, but how about language?
Peter: Well, it’s not that far off. Diminishing returns also applies to language learning. Basically, at first, your progression is quite fast. But, the better you get, every minute invested gives you a little bit less return. So when you first start, your progress is...
Becky: ...leaps and bounds.
Peter: But as time time progresses and you’re getting better, some days, you don’t feel like you're making progress.
Becky: I see. And that definitely affects your mood, I think.
Peter: And it also affects your motivation.
Becky: Diminishing returns of motivation.
Peter: Hmm. Um, Yeah, maybe there’s economist out there that could help us. That could work. But it’s tough to confront, mentally. It’s like dreading going to the gym. You did it yesterday. And you’ve got to do it again today.
Becky: Right. With your heavy routine, I can definitely understand.
Peter: And finally, I think, it’s just a natural occurrence. You have good days.
Becky: And you have bad days.
Peter: You can’t be “ON” and at 100% all the time.
Becky: That makes a lot of sense.
Peter: But, Becky, it’s not ALL bad. Listeners. Let’s get to the second part.
Becky: Why you’ll get your best work done on your worst days.
Peter: This is what helps me reach my goal and finish my assignments every month.
Becky: Can you go into that? How does someone get work done on a bad day?
Peter: Well, here’s what happened this past month. These past few weeks, I’ve started taking longer and longer to complete my Premium PLUS assignments.
Becky: How do they usually work?
Peter: Normally, my Premium PLUS teacher will send me an article. I’ll read it and reply “Done” by the next day. Then, she’ll send me a list of questions based on that reading. And she’ll send a new article to read.
Becky: So it typically takes you 1 day to read....
Peter: Exactly. And 1 day to send her back the questions. So, on a good week, we’ll do 3 to 4 articles. These past few weeks, I’ve started falling off. Last week, it took me 5 days to read an article and get back to her.
Becky: Ouch. Did she notice that you were falling off?
Peter: She didn’t at first because, I’d take 2 days to respond. Then 3 days to send her the answers. Then 4. As the turnaround time grew, she noticed!
Becky: Uh oh.
Peter: Luckily, we have a system in place. My SpanishPod101 Premium PLUS teacher knows to get strict with me and send me email reminders. So she gave me a strict deadline of Friday night to finish her article and answer the questions.
Becky: Wait, don’t you have your Skype lessons on Fridays?
Peter: I do. So, that quadrupled my Friday night workload. And I really didn’t want do it. But, I had no choice.
Becky: Ouch. So, how did it work out?
Peter: See, and here’s the thing with bad days. Remember how I said it’s tough to confront? And how you dread it before you start?
Peter: It’s tough to confront but once you take that first step. Once you pick up that pen, it’s not that bad. Think of the gym. You might dread going all day long. You don’t want to do it. But...
Becky: ...once you’re 15 minutes into your workout
Peter: ...it’s not so bad anymore.
Becky: Yeah, that’s so very true.
Peter: And this might be a little personal, but for me, those are the most rewarding days. When you didn’t want to do it but...
Becky: But, you did.
Peter: So, last Friday, I finished my Skype lessons at 9PM. I barely hit my 13-minute goal. Then, it took me another hour to sit and read through the article and answer all of my Premium PLUS teacher’s questions.
Becky: Wow. That’s 2 hours total!
Peter: But... I finished it all and sent it off!
Becky: So, in the end, it wasn’t so bad, was it? You got it done!
Peter: Not only was it not that bad, I felt so good after hitting that send button. And I felt even better the next morning. We have a new feature for our Premium PLUS program.
Becky: Badges!
Peter: Exactly. So when I woke up in the morning to check my teacher’s response...
Becky: You saw the badges.
Peter: And that my effort for the previous month that much more rewarding.
Becky: Great! Listeners, this is a brand new Premium PLUS feature.
Peter: When you complete a task from your Premium PLUS Teacher...
Becky: ...such as sending an introduction, or sending in a writing assignment...
Peter: ...You get an achievement badge marking your accomplishments.
Becky: And listeners, if you’re a Premium PLUS member, you can find them in “My Account” under “My Report”
Peter: There, you’ll see a tab called “Your Badges” that shows you all of your achievements.
Becky: That’s actually very useful for motivation!
Peter: Becky, it really is! In fact, the next day, the teacher had reviewed my work, and i got my badges.
Becky: Great! But why exactly did you do your best work on your worst days?
Peter: I think, a few reasons. First, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of it is self-imposed. You’re dreading doing it.
Becky: ...But 15 minutes in, it’s not so bad at all.
Peter: And a lot of times, once I hit that “it’s not so bad,” I can actually focus and concentrate better than when i’m looking forward to something. I don’t know why. Second, it’s overcoming a mental barrier. For example, I never considered studying on a plane. My mind automatically labeled it as movie time.
Becky: And most people don’t think of studying on Fridays.
Peter: Right. But once you do it, you overcome that mental barrier. So, if you work on a bad day...
Becky: You don’t take these “bad” days too seriously anymore.
Peter: You can muscle through them. And you’ll get good work done.
Becky: Right, they’ll happen anyway.
Peter: Third, it’s your best work because working on a bad day only strengthens your habit of language learning.
Becky: And habit is what will help you master a language over time.
Peter: Exactly. If you can stick to a habit on a bad day....
Becky: ...Your habit only gets stronger. And your habit leads you to your language goal.
Peter: And that’s why I call it your “best work.” It’s the fact that you get it done on a bad day.
Becky: I see.
Peter: Finally, Becky, it just feels good to overcome it.
Becky: It does feel good to accomplish something that you were hesitant to do.
Peter: Listeners, how about you?
Becky: How do you typically deal with bad days?
Peter: This is extremely common with language learners, students...
Becky: ...as well as athletes and anyone who's working on a goal every single day. Alright, Peter. You’ve hit your 13-minute Spanish conversation goal. What’s next?
Peter: I’ll aim for 15 minutes for the next month.
Becky: Sounds good! Listeners, be sure to set your monthly goals as well.
Peter:... and email us at inner dot circle at InnovativeLanguage.com
Becky: Let us know how your goals are progressing...
Peter: ...and how you deal with bad days.


Becky: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Becky: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.