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You ARE What You DO!

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog!

I’m Robby, obviously, and in today’s video we’re going to talk about a very simple matter indeed. Namely – YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO.

Do You Want to Become a Fluent English Speaker?

I know – this may sound very simplistic – “You are what you do.”

Well, what’s the big deal? It’s common sense! What you do determines what you are, who you are, right? But, just think about this guys.

I still keep receiving plenty of emails on a daily basis asking for one basic thing:

“Robby, tell me how I can start speaking fluent English? How do I improve my spoken English fluency? Basically, how do I speak in English?”

So the basic need, the desire that is the common denominator among all those people, maybe including even you, is your desire to speak fluently.

Basically, that’s WHO you want to be. You want to become a FLUENT ENGLISH SPEAKER. So, if we go by the equation – you are what you do – going by that logic, it’s not difficult to draw a simple conclusion:

If You Want to BE a Fluent English SPEAKER, You Have to DO it! You Have to SPEAK!

But this simple conclusion is almost impossible for a lot of foreign English speakers just because of the traditional language teaching industry.

And I keep blaming that industry every day of the week and I will never stop blaming it because the whole thing is still an ongoing process. It’s a never-ending story. People are misled on a daily basis and they’re told that if will engage in a lot of reading, writing, grammar studies, they will somehow become fluent in English.

Yet, nobody tries to determine the actual need that those people have and most likely the need is to become a fluent communicator, to be able to speak fluently! So, if you want to BE that, you have to DO it.

You have to speak in order to be a good speaker, you have to speak, which means engaging in a lot of spoken English practice. I really sound like a broken record, right, because I’ve been going on about this in almost every video I put up on the YouTube channel and on my blog!

But, I still have to keep repeating it because those emails are still coming in every day. Maybe you don’t believe me, but it’s true my friends. Every day, I keep getting the same question – “How can I become a fluent English speaker?”

BEING Equals DOING!

Take Action and Start Practicing Spoken English!

The simple fact that you are what you do wasn’t really obvious to me up until a few years ago when I read a blog post published by a guy called Randy (and it’s only NOW that I realized I’ve named this blog post after Randy’s original, I hope you don’t mind, Randy?)

He’s into language learning. Now he’s not as active as he used to be. But back in the day he was publishing very regular blogposts in relation to the whole language learning thing.

He was learning Italian and Russian himself if I’m not mistaken, right? And then one of his blogposts was about you being what you do. And he was using parallels from the fitness industry, and he was specifically referring to running and weightlifting.

And here is what he had to say.

For years, he wanted to be stronger and bigger, yet all he did was engage in regular running. But he didn’t kind of seem to realize that you are what you do.

If you run, then that’s who you are. You are a runner. Obviously, your body adjusts to it. You become more sinewy. You possess bigger stamina, but you don’t necessarily become bigger and stronger. Yet, for whatever reasons, Randy didn’t realize it up until one fine day he started thinking and realized, hold on a second, he had this light bulb moment.

He went, “If I want to become stronger and bigger and add some more lean muscle to my body – I just have to start lifting weights!”

If I Want to BE a Certain Way, I Have to DO What’s Required in Order to Make It Happen!

If You Can Dream of Something, You Can Achieve It!

This simple logic can be applied pretty much on anything in life, spoken English included.

If you want to be able to speak in English fluently, you have to speak. No other activity is going to bring about this goal of yours.

If you read or listen to a lot of English, it’s not going to make you a good speaker. It’s going to make you a good listener, a good writer, right? But, if you want to speak fluently, you have to speak because you are what you do. And let this slogan sink in, my friends.

You are what you do ❗

And it can be extended beyond spoken English performance and can be applied on pretty much any other discipline in your life.

Suppose, for example, you want to become a successful businessman, right?

The thing is, no matter how much you study business, no matter how much you keep questioning other successful people, no matter how hard you are trying to analyze the whole thing and figure out what are the traits of character that are commonly found in successful entrepreneurs, you’re not going to make it because you don’t do it.

If you want to become a successful businessman, you have to become one. You have to start your business. Make the first step, and then another one, and then the next one.

And obviously there’s always a chance of failure. But unless you do it, unless you start doing it, nothing is going to happen.

It will always just remain a distant dream!

So, if you want to be something, do it. That’s the only thing that’s going to bring about that goal. And, obviously, it’s not always simple. It’s hard. And that’s the most important thing – it’s hard. It is!

DOING It Isn’t Easy…

And going back to spoken English performance, yes, it is probably hard for someone who is not used to the whole concept of spoken English practice.

It’s hard for them to open their mouth and just start speaking because it’s going to be struggle. The first time, second time, third time around, it’s going to be struggle.

And that’s obviously something that holds people back and they go back to their comfort zones because they’re more comfortable just immersing themselves in passive English learning, which is listening and reading and writing to some degree, even though writing involves some activity – you are actively thinking and putting your thoughts down on paper, but anyway – you’re not using your mouth and your mouth is pretty much the only means you can actively engage in English, right?

So, on this note, I’m going to finish this video and let this mantra sink in, my friends.

You are what you do!

Time to Take Action and Start Developing Your Spoken English Fluency

And thanks for watching my video. If you have any questions or comments whatsoever in relation to English improvement, please publish them in the comment section below and chat to you soon again!

Bye-bye!

Robby

P.S. Here’s a follow up video where I’m responding to Juhapekka’s comment below – it’s called Why Is It So HARD to Realize You Have to Speak in Order to Speak?

P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Now, that’s something completely new to me – the concept of “selfish genes” – but I have to tell you I find the idea fascinating!

    Thanks for such a long and in-depth comment – I read it carefully and I can definitely see sense in your reasoning.

    I simply don’t have much time to delve upon all points you mentioned in your comment, but you can rest assured, I value every single word you published!

    Thanks so much Juhapekka for giving me food for thought!

    Cheers,

    Robby

  • Juhapekka

    Hi Robby,

    I’d like to add one last point to the discussion for the sake of completeness because you said that humans interpreting evolution the wrong way is actually beyond this discussion and you were simply looking at how human brain works and how people make their decisions, and at the idea you borrowed from the book that there are two “layers” of our brain – the ancestral, instinct-based part and the more recent, intellectual part.

    Yes, It’s true that the things I told about humans interpreting evolution are beyond this discussion but they are not necessarily so beyond as it may seem! Just for the sake of a repetition I recap all these things we have mentioned: unwillingness and laziness to engage into a lot of spoken English practice without being in a real situation where we’re FORCED to speak, passive listening without paying the sufficient amount of attention unless we’re FORCED to understand what is really being said, eating too much, resting too much, tendency to choose an easier option, Social-Darwinism in countries like Germany during the World War 2, school shooters acquiring fatal thinking patterns from Darwinism and people who are getting a pretty bad treatment in countries such as India if they’re lacking of spoken English skills.

    So it may seem that there is nothing in common between all these things but they all can be the consequences of the same phenomenon: Namely, our selfish genes are affecting to our behaviour and to our mind and interpreting evolution the wrong way only reinforce this phenomenon and some humans are using the wrong interpretations of evolution theory to justify their harmful or selfish behaviour. This is possible because there isn’t any kind of moral code in evolution but these humans ignore the fact that you can’t say something is good just because it’s natural or something ought to be this way just because it is this way. These principles are known as “appeal to nature” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature , “naturalistic fallacy” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy or “Hume’s guillotine” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem .

    In conclusion, the wrong interpretations of evolution are the consequences of how human brain works and the consequence of the fact that there are two “layers” in our brain – the ancestral, instinct-based part and the more recent, intellectual part. Understanding our selfish genes and our selfish memes we can understand better why these all things had happened and why some of these are happening right now. In other words doing a lot of spoken English practice or being more altruistic would be a way easier if we were genetically “programmed” to do that kind of activities. Luckily our situation isn’t so doom and gloom because there are other factors in the play such as mirror neurons that are helping us to experience other person’s situation as if we were experiencing it ourselves but many evolution biologists such as Richard Dawkins have warned us from expecting help from our biological nature because the genes are “programmed” to be selfish, not altruistic but we have an opportunity to change it. That’s why we have to set up our mind above the evolution and what is the best way to do that is much more than only a million dollar question!

    And in a case you don’t remember or know what a meme is: It’s simply some kind of a “cultural gene” if this description makes sense. I’d personally understand that meme is only imaginary conceptual tool that biologists are using when they’re trying to understand human evolution better and trying to popularize evolution to the public audience like for me who aren’t experts in this field. And the term “selfish” gene is also a metaphor: “Selfish” genes aren’t necessarily selfish in a way we normally understand but the genes are behaving for some reason or other as if they were selfish!

    We may also ask what does selfish genes have to do with spoken English practice??? Well, my idea is that it’s obvious that selfish genes explain why some of us aren’t altruistic to other people and why they don’t care or love others and why certain people help each other due to the fact that they carry the same genes but selfish genes can also explain why we don’t sometimes care or love even ourselves. It explains why we don’t do things that are good for us such as spoken English practice. In other words, we are not programmed to be selfish but our genes are! Our selfish genes serve only the survival of genes, not survival of individual human being or not even the survival of species as people usually think. In summary, there are at least three stages of survival: the survival of genes, the survival of individual human being, the survival of a larger human group and finally the survival of the entire human race. It may seem that genes would serve the survival of individual human or the entire human race but it’s not necessarily the case: Selfish genes serve only the survival of genes! If selfish genes served individual humans, doing spoken English practice could be an awful lot of easier and effortless! That’s one possible interpretation of evolution to approach the problem of spoken English practice and by understanding this phenomenon better, we can possibly also practice our spoken English better. It may seem a really far-fetched possibility and maybe I’m talking only total nonsense but it can be the explaining factor.

    And speaking of the “wisdom” and “intellect”, I understand the problems with these concepts because they are difficult to define precisely in a form that exact sciences require. Especially emotional intelligence or wisdom, for example, are much more difficult to define precisely and to measure than logical intelligence. That’s why scientists have a tendency to forget the whole concept of wisdom altogether and to pretend that it doesn’t even exist. More clearly and even exaggerating a little bit in a some sense: Only things that are measurable exist for science and what is non-measurable doesn’t exist for science. This is the great strength of science but also the great weakness of science. When science is developing, some problems will be solved in the future but maybe some problems won’t! Only time will tell. This is just a common sense but I said it as a side note.

    My final conclusion is that all of these things which were mentioned in our discussion are interconnected to each other and consequences of the same phenomenon but, of course, this isn’t the whole truth because there are other factors in the play as well like aforementioned mirror neurons in our brain and many other things such as our emotional intelligence or some religions which all can explain somewhat better why some humans are unbelievably altruistic and not selfish but I stop to this because otherwise this discussion would expand way too much.

    And lastly, I promise that I’ll try to stay on a topic much better in the future.

  • Thanks for your understanding! 😉

  • Juhapekka

    Misunderstandings occur and it’s very natural for us and few of my sentences are ambiguous if they aren’t read very very carefully in the context of my comments.

  • Sorry about that, I really must have gotten it wrong!

    Perhaps didn’t read your comment as thoroughly as I should have and I guess it’s this part of your comment that made me think you don’t really agree with the evolution theory and the fact it’s our instincts working against us: “We have to set up our mind above the Evolution theory and interpret it rightly and appropriately: We don’t need to be the slaves to our genes or the slaves to the interpretations of evolution theory that are fundamentally only the creatures of our own mind, not much more.”

    I guessed what you were saying is that the entire evolution theory is something we’ve just made up in our minds but now that I read it once more I understand completely what you mean.

    And I totally agree with you! We ARE the only species capable of defying our genes and acting smart, so it’s a shame so many of us don’t…

    Sorry Juhapekka for the confusion, it won’t happen again! 😉

    Cheers,

    Robby

  • Juhapekka

    Hi Robby,

    I don’t understand what is the purpose of your last two sentences because it seems to me that you have understood me wrongly.

    I don’t know what else is working against us than our instincts and it’s exactly what I said in my previous comment or at least I meant it. So, yes our instincts are working against us and, of course, I don’t deny that just KNOWING what you SHOULD do doesn’t always translate into DOING it and this was exactly what I said in my previous comments. And when it comes to my opinion that I may disagree that it’s all a result of evolution, I really didn’t say anything like that. I specifically assumed in my previous comment that it’s all a result of evolution.

    I’m a bit confused because it seems you really got my comment wrongly but why did you believe that I disagree that it’s all a result of evolution? What I really said was quite the opposite!

  • Hi Juhapekka,

    Humans interpreting evolution the wrong way is actually beyond this discussion – I was simply looking at how human brain works and how people make their decisions, and here’s the idea I borrowed from the book in question – there are two “layers” of our brain – the ancestral, instinct-based part and the more recent, intellectual part.

    Call it “intellect”, “wisdom” or whatever – but the point I’m making is:

    It’s hard for the average Joe to do the right thing because oftentimes his instincts will tell him to do quite the opposite.

    All right, you may disagree that it’s all a result of evolution – everyone is entitled to their opinion – but I guess you won’t deny that just KNOWING what you SHOULD do doesn’t always translate into DOING it!

    So, if it’s not our instincts working against us, what is it?

  • Juhapekka

    Thanks, Robby, I have to add the book you mentioned to my reading list although I have a lot of other interesting books in my
    list I haven’t read yet. Evolution theory explains surely many things much better than any explanation before it and it can explain the reasons why doing spoken English practice demands sometimes so much effort but it has its own pitfalls and dangers or to be more specific it’s been human beings who have wrongly interpreted the Evolution theory, transferred it to the form of some kind of religion and applied it wrongly somewhere where it doesn’t belong to.

    The reasons behind this are quite difficult to explain properly but maybe you have already some kind of idea what I’m talking
    about. You can probably guess what I mean without my explanations but I mean that the careless and blind applying of Evolution
    theory can cause unbelievably serious harm and damage or so I at least believe although I think it’s not only a belief but it’s
    the fact because there are so many examples of this during history and unfortunately also during previous years. Namely, I mean the unsuccessful application of Evolution theory to society: Social-Darwinism in countries like Germany during the World War 2 and before it and there are many examples in our own 21st century where few school shooters have killed many tens of innocent people in school massacres and those school shooters have adopted thinking patterns from Evolution theory and applied them in a
    way which is insanely disturbed and sick.

    Of course, we can’t really blame Evolution theory for it but those murderers have acquired a part of their fatal thinking patterns from Darwinism. It’s possible to deny the influence of Evolution theory to their decisions to be mass murderers but I
    think the influence has been undoubtedly clear when I had read the writings of school shooters from Finnish newspapers. Maybe
    there isn’t anything in Darwinism in itself that could advise that the weakest people must die but it’s too easy to interpret it in such a way if an interpreter is a person who has very little or even no empathy at all. It’s the dark interpretation of Evolution theory and that’s why we all have to take this fact into consideration in the learning materials.

    We have to set up our mind above the Evolution theory and interpret it rightly and appropriately: We don’t need to be the slaves to our genes or the slaves to the interpretations of evolution theory that are fundamentally only the creatures of our own mind, not much more. It’s absurd if someone is the slave to the creature of their own mind but unfortunately I think those
    school shooters were just like that; paradoxically the victims of their own mind. I found also a good quote for this context:
    “Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have a chance to upset their designs,
    something that no other species has ever aspired to do.” The quote is from The Selfish Gene (1976, 1989) by Richard Dawkins. It’s just like you said that our intellectual mind can’t override the much more prevalent, instinct-based part of the brain – only very intellectual people are capable of that. But I have to add that I’m not sure whether the high intellectuality is
    needed because the pure wisdom can be enough. Like the old proverb says that there is a fundamental difference between intelligence and wisdom. But when I think about what is wisdom I can’t really say but perhaps it is only own kind of high intelligence which can’t be measured in IQ tests at all. This explanation makes kind of sense for me because there are many different kinds of intelligences (spatial, visual, kinetic, mathematical-logical, emotional and what more but wisdom is only very hard to measure) or then it’s as possible that wisdom isn’t intelligence at all but it’s something fundamentally different.

    My intention wasn’t to ramble around this topic and to paint the devils on the wall but these things appear to my mind when Evolution is mentioned.

  • Hi Juhapekka,

    And I have to thank you for posting all these comments – that’s what keeps our conversation going!

    Speaking of willpower and that most people are inherently lazy, yes, I’ve touched upon this subject on my blog previously so that’s where you might have picked it up.

    Where I personally got these ideas from is a book I read a couple of years ago called KLUGE – The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind and after reading it a lot of things in life started making an awful lot of sense.

    The basic concept is – our instincts have been developing over hundreds of thousands of years and it’s the instincts that make us go for instant gratification and the easiest way out of a situation.

    Back in the day you had to eat as much high-calorie food as you could – there was no guarantee you’ll get more of it tomorrow.

    Back in the day you would take as much rest as you could – there was no guarantee tomorrow your life is going to be as peaceful and you won’t have to fight for your life, or chase bears, or whatever.

    So it’s the very nature that’s made our instincts that way.

    Now, our intellectual mind has developed over the last 50 000 years or so. It’s a drop in the ocean!

    The basic problem is – our intellectual mind can’t override the much more prevalent, instinct-based part of the brain – only very intellectual people are capable of that.

    Our mind is in constant conflict with itself – our intellectual brain knows what we HAVE to do (stop eating crap, exercise more, do spoken English practice) but our instinct-based mind constantly tells us to act quite the opposite way (eat as much as we can, rest more, not to do spoken English practice unless we’re FORCED into a situation which demands we start speaking!) because that would have made sense in the caveman era!

    Speaking of listening and spoken practice – I think shadowing comes as close to combining the two as possible, but I really don’t think we necessarily need to combine the two either!

    When saying we don’t need to separate them, I don’t’ necessarily mean we need to combine them.

    I’d rather listen to something first and then talk about it – do it consecutively.

    Basically what I meant by saying they don’t have to be separated is – you don’t have to perceive listening as a unique discipline on its own and do it exclusively! Try to follow it up with some spoken practice!

    But the main point in my reckoning is – you have to listen to something you find interesting. Movies, documentaries, podcasts etc. – but make sure it’s something you truly interested in so that the very exercise of listening stops being something you force upon yourself. And when you like what you listen to, you’ll also find it so much easier to talk about it later on!

    All right, thanks for the discussion, and chat to you soon again!!!

    Cheers,

    Robby

  • Juhapekka

    Speaking of the inseparability of listening and speaking it’s completely true that they are inseparable but the problem is that it’s a challenging to find good practice methods which include both. Shadowing audios is probably one of the best practices for that purpose if it’s not the best but I find it way too difficult to keep pace with the speed of audio. I tried shadowing with my native language to see whether it’s about the English or about the shadowing but I kept pace well with Finnish audio. Maybe I’m going to improve when I’m becoming better to distinguish English sounds from English speech and my mouth muscles are becoming more comfortable to keep pace with the natural speed of English. Because shadowing has been too difficult for me I have gravitated towards easier methods like mimicking (I simply stop the audio and then I make my best to repeat a phrase without worrying to keep pace with) or listening a whole audio first and then doing spoken English practice. And once a while I
    can try shadowing again to see if I can do it any better.

    Speaking of options and willpower it makes an awful lot of sense that it’s all about options and people have a tendency to choose easier option but I have an idea that it hasn’t been necessarily a bad tendency because we have only limited amount of energy and resources. I mean that if we choose the easier option, we save our energy which we can use when we really need it but this tendency can be really detrimental in our current lifestyle and it can work badly against us but we can change it by using willpower or then by forming new healthy habits which will become so natural for us that we can do them easily in the future. I’m not sure where this idea came from but it can be even from your blog posts or then the whole idea is from biologists. I can’t really remember but have you written something similar in the past in your blog posts?

    But it’s also the major factor that the poorer (or more superficial or more abstract) our knowledge of the consequences of our choices is, the more likely we are to make bad decisions and to choose wrong options. This is a fascinating subject to think about: Why we actually make not-so-good-decisions? But anyway, I think I have to re-evaluate my own routines and my own choices and it’s actually very beneficial for anyone to do that every now and then, for that matter.

    And also thanks very much, Robby, for this inspiring discussion!

  • No problem Sunny, I’m happy to help! I’m glad you find my advice of good value, and have a good day too!

  • Sunny

    Thank you Boss! I have been struggling a lot to talk about subjects for a long time. its been quite embarrassing some times. But finally, I got the solution- Repeat and Rephrase !Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart for putting in your valuable time and energy in recording this million dollar video. Have a good day!

  • Hi Sunny,

    Here’s my video response to your comment, enjoy it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR0LrAGwgP8

  • Hi Sunny,

    Here’s my video response to your question, enjoy it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR0LrAGwgP8

  • Yes Juhapekka, you’re completely right in saying that people are getting a pretty bad treatment in countries such as India if they’re lacking of spoken English skills, and I can imagine it’s becoming more of an issue in other countries in the world.

    So, speaking of English listening comprehension – yes, it’s a little bit self-deceptive to think that you don’t really need to develop your oral fluency just because you live in a foreign country. You may very well find yourself in a situation one day where the cold reality hits you and you realize you actually DO need the spoken English skills!

    Also, the overall focus of my blog is the SPOKEN English, and to me it’s only logical not to focus on listening too much.

    Having said that, I have to admit that I have planned on writing more articles about listening comprehension. I’m taking all suggestions on board!

    On the finishing note, I’d like you to read the following article (you may have not read it in the past): http://englishharmony.com/listening-vs-speaking/ – it’s something that encapsulates the EH philosophy. To put it simply – listening goes hand in hand with speaking so there’s really no need to separate the two.

    As for your reasoning that there’s two types of knowledge – one that can be acted upon very easily and the other one that people normally find very hard to take action upon – here’s what I think.

    It’s all about the OPTIONS.

    I believe that whenever there’s an OPTION to take two or more different paths, people will quite naturally take the easy way out.

    Language studies – A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PATHS (speaking, reading, listening, writing etc.). People will go for what’s easiest thus neglecting the most difficult aspects such as speaking.

    Other subjects requiring you to apply certain knowledge to solve problems – ONE PATH ONLY (you learn specific knowledge in order to solve specific problems) – so there’s really no OPTION but to do what’s necessary.

    So I believe it’s about the options and will-power required to act a certain way.

    People are less likely to act upon any knowledge they possess if it requires a lot of WILLPOWER.

    Thanks for your comment, it’s really appreciated as always!!!

    Cheers,

    Robby

  • Juhapekka

    Hi Robby,

    I haven’t thought before that this phenomenon occurs pretty much only in the language learning although empirical science subjects, like chemistry for example, can be the other one if there aren’t enough laboratory assignments in university courses which are usually packed full of lectures but sometimes only with little or with no laboratory working but anyway there are probably more meaningful activities in language learning which don’t require speaking in any form. And speaking of active and passive language learning it’s a bit semantical whether reading or listening are passive or active learning because they can be as active or even more active learning than speaking in some sense but the main factor is that they don’t require using your mouth muscles at all!

    I also noticed that there was one comment about the importance of listening in your youtube channel that those who live outside the English speaking world don’t simply need to speak that much and listening is more important. It’s true because listening, reading and writing are the most important skills for me right now and I really need to improve my listening skills a lot and I don’t actually have any real immediate need to speak any foreign language but thinking like that is at least a bit self-deceptional because I have almost always wanted to speak foreign languages and when I attended to English classes first time in the elementary school I thought that now I am taught to speak but after ten years it never happened and even listening was very badly neglected! So if I don’t focus on speaking, I’ll have still three languages I can read: English, German and Swedish but I couldn’t speak any of them. And having said this I have to add that Finland is becoming more and more like new India in the sense that in my best knowledge you are second class citizen in India if you don’t speak English and the same is happening in Finland. Maybe I exaggerated the situation or maybe I didn’t but the overall trend is clear and I think that the same phenomenon is happening in pretty much every country to greater or to less degree and that’s one real reason to develop speaking skills among many other reasons.

    And then going back to the subject of your video I’d like to point out few other things why it is so hard to learn to speak by speaking:

    Firstly learning to read by reading is much easier because all you have to do is to keep reading and you’ll become better reader and same applies partly to listening though various accents make listening harder than reading but there is double effort in speaking because firstly we simply have to speak but also secondly we have to make additional effort to adjust our pronunciation according to input by native speakers. In speaking we have to also improve our pronunciation but when we are reading we don’t have to do that additional effort. In other words, just keep speaking doesn’t probably cut it. These two factors are even alone sufficiently difficult but there are also any kind of speech anxiety, embarrassment and over-tenseness factors and wrong but deeply ingrained misbelief that speaking foreign language requires some kind of special talent. After all of this it’s no wonder why speaking foreign languages is so difficult. But calm, relaxed, realistic and positive mindset with sufficient qualitative effort is huge part of the solution!

    Secondly I think there are two kind of knowledge: One kind of knowledge which we understand maybe even somehow very deeply but we don’t take the action according to this knowledge because this kind of knowledge is purely intellectual by its nature. It’s too abstract for us that we’d act. Second kind of knowledge is the knowledge which simply forces us to take the action because we have understood it sufficiently deeply in a way which is enough concrete for us that it forces us to act according to the knowledge. And thus whether the knowledge belongs to first or to second category determines whether we take the action or not! This kind of reasoning may sound nonsensical and a bit artificial but it’s not at all artificial or nonsensical and I really believe that this kind of reasoning is one of the most sensical and the most wisest reasonings ever because it explains why many intelligent and clever people have done, do and why they keep doing so stupid things in their lives: many heart surgeons were smoking in the past although it was very likely that smoking is one of the causes behind heart diseases, future doctors are drinking way too much alcohol and thus damaging their brain cells in the Faculty of Medicine although they know the dangers of alcohol better than anyone else and not even to speak about ordinary people who nowadays should know the great dangers of immobility and unhealthy food to their health and well-being but some of them don’t still take the serious action to exercise their body and eat healthier because their knowledge about the health risks are still too abstract for them and this means that they don’t really see themselves in their minds’ eyes dying from diseases if they continue their unhealthy lifestyle. And this same reasoning applies perfectly to speaking and language learning as well.

    And finally I’d like to say that I like your blog just pretty much the way it is right now but I think, too, that you could get more subscribers if you paid more attention to listening issues. In fact, I’d like to put it this way imitating the use of mathematical jargon: Listening is a necessary condition for speaking but it’s not sufficient: Without listening it’s probably pretty much impossible to speak because you don’t know how to pronounce speech patterns and without speaking you don’t develop the fine motor skills of mouth muscles and speaking properly is again impossible and thus the insufficiency of mere listening. So I think that it’s a good idea for you to focus also on listening issues in a way that suits to your blog.

  • Hi Juhapekka,

    I just published a video response to your comment, enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7TJNdjlCxw

    Cheers,

    Robby

  • Hi Sunny,

    It’s a very valid question!

    Here’s an article where you’ll find some answers: http://englishharmony.com/planning/ but I just also recorded a video where I’m providing more info on how to produce lengthy answers to questions!

    I’ll let you know when the video goes live!

    Chat soon,

    Robby

  • Thanks so much Juhapekka for your comment!

    This is another one of those comments having inspired me to make a video on the subject, and that’s exactly what I just did – the video is recorded and ready for editing, so as soon as it’s live I’ll let you know!

    For now, just let me tell you that you’re 100% correct in what you’re saying – that’s exactly the kind of reasoning going on in foreign English speakers’ minds, and I’m expanding on this subject in the video, so stay tuned!

    Cheers,

    Robby

  • Sunny

    ”keep it short and to the point” – I grew up living this adage. Now ,the thing is when I have to answer questions related to my college subjects,I apply the above principle and it works well there.But the problem is, this short answers/speech has become my habit ,I use it everywhere even in circumstances which demand an elaborate answer/speech. So I face problems to carry on conversations or give a speech for long time even when the particular topic is my forte . This embarrasses me. It hampers my spoken english.

    I see you carry on for a long time discussing about a topic . How do you do this…Do you follow certain method for long time conversations on topic. Please help me .

  • Juhapekka

    It’s weird that this simple truth “You are what you do” is so difficult to apply into practice for many of us who are English learners and improvers when it comes to speaking but I think that one reason behind this is some kind of subconscious paradox in our minds: I want to speak English and the only way to learn to speak English is by speaking but I CAN’T SPEAK so how an earth I can learn to speak English by speaking because specifically speaking is the skill I can’t do. How can I learn to speak by speaking because speaking is the skill I’m lacking completely? It’s so paradoxical that surely I have to do anything else that I can do at least somehow to improve my spoken English but not to speak because I can’t speak yet! This kind of detrimental reasoning is going on in our minds. Of course this kind of reasoning is ridiculous when it’s written down clearly but I think that I and many of us are subconsciously thinking like that. What we haven’t somehow realized fully is that speaking is the gradual process like almost any other skill that is worth of acquiring and learning.

  • You’re welcome my friend, and I’m sure you could think of something to say! 😉

    For example – has there been a similar moment in your life when you’ve made a very simple life-changing realization?

    I’m sure that if you think about it, you will remember something similar happening to you!

  • pishopalang@yahoo.com

    Thank you Robby for the great advice . you stated it well there is nothing I can say .