Don’t Make Conscious Effort When Improving Your English

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

Don't Make Conscious Effort when Improving EnglishToday’s article is dedicated to the importance of not forcing yourself when it comes to learning the English language and also when it comes to spoken English performance.

  • Have you ever noticed that the harder you try to memorize new English vocabulary, the more difficult it actually becomes?
  • Have you been trying to make certain English words part of your active vocabulary to no avail?
  • And you certainly have had situations when you just can’t remember a word even though it’s right on the tip of your tongue!

The funny thing is – the moment you stop forcing yourself to remember the word, it just pops up in your mind when you’ve stopped thinking about it… 😀

Similar things may have happened in terms of new English vocabulary acquisition – you remember odd words or phrases you’ve only heard a few times before and they’re stuck with you all the while you’re trying to drill some other words in your memory but they just keep evading you!

Conscious Effort = Decreased Performance

Throughout my lifetime long experiences as an English student I’ve learned many times over that the moment you start making a conscious effort in order to learn new English vocabulary and phraseology, it becomes mentally more challenging and renders the whole process less effective.

If you’re forcing yourself to memorize something, your subconscious mind may work against it, and as a result you may find it more difficult to memorize new English words and word combinations.

Same goes with your spoken English performance.

You’ll definitely find it much easier to speak fluent English if you don’t try to force yourself to recall the proper words and also if you don’t apply grammar rules as you go along.

The Best Performance in Any Field is Easy by Its Nature!

If you think about a little bit more, you’ll definitely recall quite a few examples from your past.

If you’re a driver, you’ll know how stressful it is to drive while being scrutinized by someone else.

It makes you aware of every single action, every little step you make when performing maneuvers on the road.

That in turn leads to a worsening performance because you can’t be fully engaged in the process while focusing on the details and forcing yourself to get them right!

Think of any activity you’re good at, and you’ll realize that you’re performing best at times when you almost forget what you’re actually doing!

When you’re capable of achieving a complete automation of a process – that’s when you’re at the top of your performance, and forceful action is totally out of question!

Have you ever seen a professional rock band guitarist forcing himself to get the chords right when performing?

Can you imagine a scientist forcing himself to acquire more knowledge? He’s being so eager to learn that he literally devours new formulas and equations, but that activity isn’t forceful by any means!

The very same goes when learning and speaking a language.

New vocabulary and phraseology is best acquired when you don’t even make a conscious effort to do so, and you can also speak more fluently when you don’t think about it! 😉


P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

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


English Harmony System

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

English Harmony System
  • Well… It’s actually not how I meant it; please read the comment below to see what exactly I had in mind when saying ‘don’t make conscious effort’.

    I can see, however, where you’re coming from with this, and on certain occasions one indeed ought to simply enjoy life and not be constantly hung up about improving the language.

  • Rayana

    it’s the same when i watch a movie or program show and i force myself to jot down any new phrase it just makes me a little unhappy and less enjoying.

  • What I mean by suggesting not to make ‘conscious effort’ is rather not to FORCE yourself to do it. 

    Yes, of course, when you learn something you would be making a conscious decision to do so, but the attitude should be rather easy-going and playful instead of just forcing yourself to do it.

  • Betulsonay

    You say ‘dont make concious effort ‘but this is what u need to do first when u start learning u said learning how to drive car comes first from concentration on every single menovoure yu make but gradually as u practice more it becomes ur second nature.This is the only way to learn anything to me. Learn it first consciously but then subconsciously..

  • I see where you’re coming from, and it is indeed a problem for so many foreigners including me.

    I think the key is a frequent practice – the more you expose yourself to real life communication, the less conscious you become of your own speech!

  • Muss

    Hi Robby, this is long I’ve been absent. But this doesn’t matter anyway. About this issue, I completely agree with the matter at hand. But the deal is how not to make effort when you’re in a condition that obviously lead you to try to be quite good in your speech. When it comes to talk with peer, you can just keep wording and nothing can stuck you to your words. As you guy stated in one of this month topics, it is really easier when it comes to talk with other foreigner speakers. But, when you’re in some situation you can’t help making effort to enact good speech even in your mother tongue. The matter now – in my field of vision- is how not be conscious with your way of speeking, then one could avoid making mind effort to perform well.
    Big up to you guy.

  • Exactly! Same principle applies in all our activities – we’re at the peak of our performance when we’re 100% involved and not paying attention so other things such as:

    “How do I look, will she notice my bad hair?”
    “What can I say to her? I’ll definitely sound like an idiot!”

    In the context of English improvement it would be:

    “Hold on, what did I just memorized? What was the word before this one?…”
    “I can’t really remember the phrase he said a moment ago, what was it, what was it???”
    “What was the proper word to use on this occasion, oh my God, I can’t remember, I’m such an idiot!!!”

    If we stop worrying about all these things which only inhibit our performance and don’t allow us to enjoy life in general, we’re capable of so much more!

  • Francisco Javier

    When you let your thoughts flow, they will do just that. When you’re tense or nervous, you are not firing on all cylinders. 

    It’s like the time you see a girl you like and you become tongue-tied because your thoughts are not actually flowing, they are in turmoil!

    So, relax and you’ll see the results.

  • Yes, and it totally confirms the point of the article – it happens without much effort! If you had a list of idioms in front of you that you HAD to memorize for a language test, and you did your best to memorize them, I bet you’d find it much harder to recall them later on!

  • Hashem

    one thing is that when it comes to idioms it’s a slightly different story.i mean you learn new idioms everyday when watching tv,
    for instance:to keep something at bay,or to keep your nose clean,bite the big one,kick things a notch,rain on someone’s aspire to use these idioms in the actual conversation,despite the fact that you totally capable of stating your point and conveying the messgae differenlty,but the desire is still there that you want to use that idiom by all means,do you see where i’m coming from with that?